September 8, 2015 | Discoveries come in such unexpected ways. You can search for years for a missing piece of your puzzle without success. And then, sometimes, it falls in your lap! That is what happened last year when my friend Tom Jewett, of Jewett-Berdan Antiques, posted pictures of his Christmas decorations on Facebook.
Deer panel from carpet worked by Eliza Campbell Miner, 1836–1844. Wool on linen, 25 ½ by 26 ½ inches. Jewett-Berdan Antiques, Newcastle, Maine.
Tom and Butch Berdan go all out for Christmas at their home in rural Maine, displaying antique decorations collected over the years. Last year they posted a picture of an embroidered panel depicting a deer that they had placed above a garland-bedecked mantel.
Although I had not seen it before it looked familiar. I asked them about its size and when they measured it as 25 ½ by 26 ½ inches, I knew I had stumbled on one of the missing panels of Mrs. Miner’s carpet. Even better, they had, they told me, a second panel, a floral bouquet.…» More
September 3, 2015 | When it opened last fall on Newport’s swank Bellevue Avenue, the Audrain Automobile Museum was immediately up to speed (metaphors drawn from car culture are inexcusable but somehow inevitable with the Audrain), exhibiting a small but head-turning group of rare pre-World War II luxury cars, such as a fire-engine red 1930 Pierce-Arrow Convertible with a custom fitted compartment for your golf bag, and a 1931 Lincoln Model K convertible in a beautiful, and shall we say enviable, pea green.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z11
Everything has been thought of at the Audrain, from the retrofitting of the handsome 1902-1903 Audrain building to set off the car collection with dark wood floors, white walls, and exposed steel beams to the precisely tuned labels detailing, for instance, the Lincoln’s Single Stromberg Downdraft Carburetor in case you want to know…and some of you will.
Left: Prewar Automobiles, the museum’s fall 2014 exhibition, included a 1930 Packard Custom Eight Sport Pha…» More
July 29, 2015 | We look forward to the merger of The Magazine ANTIQUES and MODERN Magazine with ARTNEWS S.A. as we expand our digital presence, reach new readers, and bring the best in scholarship and criticism on the fine and decorative arts to a global audience.» More
July 15, 2015 | What has been lost… The only thing more American than sentimentalizing the past is our habit of discarding it. And so when it comes to the dolls shown in this issue, stunning examples of an African-American folk art, questions abound: who were their makers and for whom were they made? How can they be dated and where did they originate? So much has been lost, but the dolls survive thanks to Deborah Neff, who brought them together and has sent them into the world to ask questions that need to be answered. We don’t need to ask why so much African-American material culture has been mislaid. We know the answer to that. I am aware of it every time we publish research like Alyce Perry Englund’s article on two folk art desks, one made by William Howard, a former slave, and I ponder all that is out there waiting for the light.
What has been found… Our admiration for the folk art miniaturist Mary Way is deepened by Brian Ehrlich’s discovery that one of her finest works, a signed portrai…» More
July 9, 2015 |
Venetian architect Giacomo Leoni created a magnificent Palladian residence for Thomas, the 2nd Baron Onslow, in the 1720s on the estate outside of Guildford, in Surrey, south of London, that the baron’s great-grandfather Richard Onslow, the MP for Surrey, had purchased in 1641. The dignified restraint of Leoni’s exterior hid a luxuriant interior oozing with Georgian glamour. Its most famous room, the double-storied Marble Hall, featured exuberant marble chimneypieces by Michael Rysbrack and rococo stuccowork by Giuseppe Artari and Giovanni Bagutti and was showcased in the 2008 film The Duchess, in which it appeared as the dining hall of Devonshire House.
As with so many great estates, Clandon Park became too expensive to maintain in the postwar era. In 1956 Gwendolyn, Countess Iveagh, who had grown up there, purchased the property from her nephew and donated it to the National Trust to ensure its survival. It made an especially important gift because, remarkably for a house that had been in continual use, relatively few modifications had been made to its original design.
The decorator John Fowler supervised the house’s refurbishment with loans from the National Trust collections as well as donations that allowed Clandon Park to accrue substantial holdings of furniture, porcelain, silver, tapestries, and paintings.
Top: The south façade and formal garden of Clandon Park, Surrey—designed by Giacomo Leoni, and built in the 1720s—prior to the April 29 fire. © National Trust Images/Anthony Parkinson. Left: The double-story Marble Hall at Clandon Park featured an ornate plasterwork ceiling attributed to Giuseppe Artari, and marble fireplaces with overmantel reliefs by Michael Rysbrack. © National Trust Images/ Anthony Parkinson. Right: The Marble Hall the day after the fire. © National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie.
At just after 4 pm on Wednesday, April 29 the local fire brigade received word that a fire had broken out in the basement of Clandon Park. Their response was swift. Nevertheless, unusually high winds fueled the flames more quickly than they could be fought. Units from neighboring counties and even London joined the effort, with a total of eighty firemen toiling together. But it took until 2 am to successfully extinguish the blaze.
Helen Ghosh, director general of the National Trust declared, “the house is now essentially a shell.” Nevertheless, one important stateroom, the Speakers’ Parlour, miraculously survived with relatively little damage even to its window treatments and the chimneypiece by Leoni. Supports have been erected to bolster its fragile plasterwork ceiling. Oversized portraits of the three Onslow speakers of the House of Commons that give the room its name were saved but had to be cut from their frames in order to remove them quickly.
In fact, a significant number of items from throughout the house were rescued due to the efficient enactment of an emergency plan. As news of the fire spread, colleagues from nearby National Trust properties and local residents assisted Clandon’s core staff. A primary school in the vicinity voluntarily closed to become an ad hoc storage warehouse.
Objects retrieved include a large seventeenth-century painting of an ostrich by Francis Barlow and a set of hall chairs with the Onslow crest, all from the Marble Hall. On the day after the blaze a fireman salvaged two marble busts that he found in the rubble of this same room. The salvage operation also brought important silver, furniture, books, and even an eighteenth-century board listing the rules of conduct for the servants’ hall to safety. The magnificent hangings of Clandon’s bed of state survived because they had just returned from conservation and had not yet been unpacked. Two paintings whose conservation was funded by the Royal Oak Foundation survived because they were offsite for conservation.
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All