| By Cynthia Drayton

Conservation and restoration of upholstery

June 1, 2009  |  Elizabeth Lahikainen and Associates specializes in the conservation and restoration of the upholstery of objects in museums and private collections, and since 1990 has been affiliated with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Her firm concentrates on interpreting the historical evidence presented by a piece of upholstered furniture and then selecting accurate fabrics for its restoration. In some cases most of the original materials survive on the frame, as was the case with the settees in the east parlor of the Museum's Peirce-Nichols House. Very often there is but scant information. For example, only fragments of the original fabric remained on the sofa shown in the detail at the right, but Lahikainen was able to determine that it was a wool moreen that had been installed in a sideways fashion called railroaded.» More

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| By Cynthia Drayton

Queries: Paper lined bed testers

April 24, 2009  |  Cybèle Gontar and Stephen Harrison are writing an article on paper-lined bed testers. Decorative wallpapers have traditionally been placed on walls, ceilings, and folding screens. Less commonly, wallpapers were also used to cover valances and ceilings of bedsteads in the late eighteenth century. Bed and window valances covered with paper were advertised by Francis Delorme, a French immigrant craftsman in the Charleston City Gazette and Advertiser on July 6, 1793. Gontar found a notice in the February 1831 edition of the New Orleans Courrier de La Louisiane that A. L. Boimare's Book Store "has received by the latest arrivals from France a large assortment of paper hangings of the newest style...and also received paper and borders for bed tops." Ronald Hurst, Chief Curator at Colonial Williamsburg noted in The Magazine ANTIQUES in January 1995 that when a 1798 bedstead at Prestwould in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, was changed in 1831, the tester was lined with a neoclassical wal…» More

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Current & Coming | By Cynthia Drayton

Queries: American musical clocks

March 9, 2009  |  The first musical clocks were invented in the Netherlands in the fourteenth century. Two hundred years later European royalty and aristocracy were commissioning them. At the palace of Versailles Marie Antoinette possessed a musical clock that played ten of her favorite tunes. (It was discovered at the palace in June 1914, two weeks before the start of World War I.) Musical clocks were also available in colonial America. Benjamin Willard, one of the first American clockmakers, advertised in a February 1773 issue of the Boston Gazette a musical clock that played a new tune for each day of the week.

American musical clocks and their tunes are the subjects of a forthcoming catalogue raisonné—a complete record of the known musical clocks designed to play recognizable tunes on racks of bells made in the United State prior to 1830. It will include detailed illustrations, pertinent physical descriptions, biographies of the makers, and identification of the music played. Even if a cloc…» More

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| By Cynthia Drayton

Queries: Irish Furniture

February 1, 2009  |  

Information about and photographs of labeled or stamped nineteenth-century Irish furniture is being sought for publication in a companion volume to a new survey of Irish cabinetmakers.

The author wishes to illustrate a wide variety of furniture by Irish cabinetmakers including Eggleso, Kirchoffer, Murray, Gillington, Strahan, Jones, Scott, and Pasley, and carvers Kearney, Del Vecchio, and De Groot. Examples of furniture sold at auction from Ballyfin House, county Laois in 1923 (including a massive mahogany serving table supported by carved eagles and a later matching pair sold at Christie's in 1998), dining room furniture sold at Ballynegall, county Westmeath in 1964, and a center table sold at Christie's in 1998 are being sought. Both Ballyfin and Ballynegall were furnished by the Dublin firm of Mack, Williams and Gibton (1812-1829).

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NYG 2013

by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton

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Leatherwood Antiques
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Antiques Council
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Fine Art Dealers Association
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