From the Archives | By Archived articles

Philadelphia Empire furniture by Antoine Gabriel Quervelle

September 1, 1964  |  By ROBERT C. SMITH; from The Magazine ANTIQUES, September 1964.

French architects, painters, and craftsmen in the decorative arts played an important role in the development of the classical style in America during the second and third decodes of the nineteenth century. This is particularly true of a group of cabinetmakers who settled in New York and Philadelphia and included, among others, Michel Bouvier, Joseph Brauwers, Charles Honore Lanuier and his successor John Gruez, and Antoine Gabriel Quervelle. The last of these men has been mentioned on a number of occasions in ANTIQUES and elsewhere but no attempt has been made to reconstruct his career in this country or to assemble a representative group of his furniture. This can now be done, at least in part, thanks to recently found documents and to several hitherto unknown pieces bearing his label, on the basis of which other furniture can be attributed.

Fig  1 Labeled mahogany pier table with white marble top. Typical of…» More

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From the Archives | By Archived articles

The small gardens of Colonial Williamsburg

October 1, 1954  |  By THOMAS J. WERTENBAKER; from The Magazine ANTIQUES, October 1954.

The woods near Williamsburg are glorious in April and May with the crimson magenta flowers of the Judas tree, and the white and pink of the dogwood. The sweet smelling honeysuckle covers fences, embankments, and stumps. And everywhere in the town itself one can note along streets and lanes, or peeping from behind fences, the lovely pink and crape myrtle, the white or crimson pink flowers of the rose Sharon, the white viburnum clusters, the white mock orange, the brilliant scarlet of the double flowering pomegranate, and, among many others, the little New Jersey tea.

Fig. 1 "Pleasure garden" of the Bryan house. Four rectangular beds balance a central square whose corners indent four enclosing beds, all edged with box. Beds surrounding central square have ground covering of hardy periwinkle and bushes are clipped in formal designs; outer beds have dwarf apple trees in corners. Peach trees line walks east and …» More

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From the Archives | By Archived articles

Land of the Upper Hudson

July 1, 1951  |  By LOUIS C. JONES; from The Magazine ANTIQUES, July 1951.

For miles through the silent mountains the trickle flows-a vagrant brook playing at the feet of mountains-from the beginnings to the sea, guarded and shadowed by mountains.

Cabins and shabby forms lie beside it-housing men to whom guns and a rod are dearer by far than the ho and the plow. There are singers among them and fiddlers and builders of tall and magnificent lies. And there are old chests in the darkened corners and rockers so long in the family they're known by the name of some ancestor, for all else forgotten. And beside them, all higgledy-piggledy, the newest devices from Montgomery Ward.

It widens and deepens-a brooklet grows into a river. Thus it was flowing when Burgoyne and his regulars met the long rifles at Old Saratoga and a tide that was drowning and stumbling rebellion was halted. Jan McCrea knew the river-and thought of her red-coated lover, never suspecting her scalp lock would cry out to Yanke…» More

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From the Archives | By Archived articles

Some early American crewelwork

May 1, 1951  |  By FLORENCE PETO; from The Magazine ANTIQUES, May 1951.

Eighteenth-century crewelwork, especially favored for bedspreads and bed furnishings, is one of the most delightful types of early American embroidery.  Though it has become very scarce, resolute seekers may still occasionally acquire a piece. 

 

 

Tree of Life Design, crewelwork fragment with leaves, fruit, birds, insects, and caterpillar. New York Historical Society.

 

 The "crewel" in which the designs were worked was a loosely twisted wool yarn.  That which was made commercially came in three grades, a heavy one for tapestry, a medium one for general use, and a two-ply zephyr for the finest embroideries.  Very often, however, the yarn was spun at home.  In fact, all the steps of the processes might be carried out on the needle-woman's own property, from the raising of the sheep to the carding, spinning, and dyeing of the wool.  The quality of the yarn was affected by the quality of the sheep, the manner in whic…» More

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From the Archives | By Archived articles

A Demonstration in Pewter Making

September 1, 1949  |  By L. M. A. ROY

[Originally published September 1949 ; posted in conjunction with Barrymore Laurence Scherer's "American Pewter," March/April 2013.]

Mr. Roy's model for this pictorial demonstration was John G. Herrock, "whose family," he says," were tinkering with tools from the time they came to Maine in 1799."  Besides pewter, he makes violins, reproductions of colonial furniture, wrought iron, jewelry, and clocks. 

Click the below slideshow for a step-by-step tutorial into the making of pewter objects.

 

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NYG 2013

[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi

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