Benjamin Henry Latrobe and the furniture of John and Hugh Finlay

Editorial Staff Furniture & Decorative Arts

December 2009 | On the evening of Wednesday, August 24, 1814, British troops brazenly torched much of the small capital city of Washington, including the large Virginia sand­­­stone house built as the residence for the president of the United States between 1792 and 1800 (see Fig. 1).1 Among the losses smoldering in the rubble was an extraordinary set of painted …

This Week’s Top Lots: September 26 – October 2

Editorial Staff Art

* Skinner Boston/September 26, American Indian & Ethnographic ArtThe top lot was a tie between a 19th century carved Maori figure of a man (estimate $30,000-50,000) and a 19th century carved wood triple-blade gunstock club (estimate $25,000-35,000) that each sold for $35,500. Another top lot was a pre-Columbian carved limestone figure that sold for $29,625 (estimate $6,000-8,000). * Christie’s New …

Dealer Profile: Sumpter Priddy III

Editorial Staff

One morning in 1983 Sumpter Priddy III woke to Peggy Lee singing “Is That All There Is?” on the radio and knew she was singing to him. Although he had achieved his goal of becoming a curator at an important American museum, there had to be more. He resigned from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia, and “took a flying …

The American Wing gets ready to soar

Editorial Staff

May 2009 | When the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s renovated Greek and Roman galleries were inaugurated two years ago, critics acclaimed that majestic design by the architect Kevin Roche (1922–) as a crowning achievement of his career, and an equal triumph for the institution’s longtime director Philippe de Montebello, who soon afterward announced his retirement. Although Roche’s intervention deserved every …

The American Campeche chair

Editorial Staff

May 2009 | On March 8, 1827, Joseph Coolidge (1798–1879), the husband of Thomas Jefferson’s granddaughter Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge (1796–1876), wrote to Nicholas P. Trist (1800–1874), another of Jefferson’s grandsons-in-law, regarding the distribution of the Monticello, Virginia, estate: “Ellen now desires me to say that if you can procure the Campeachy chair, with [Jefferson’s] initials, she wishes you to …

Harbor & Home

Editorial Staff

March 2009 | In October 1955 the Boston Herald decried the sale of heirlooms from a late seventeenth-century house in Duxbury, Massachusetts, that had descended in the family of John (1599–1687) and Priscilla Alden, the Pilgrim lovers immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) in his 1858 epic poem The Courtship of Miles Standish.1Promoted by Longfellow and other Gilded Age writers …

Stickley in Dallas

Editorial Staff

Gustav Stickley is well-known for his American arts and crafts furniture, characterized by its sturdy and utilitarian appearance. While he promoted the idea of handcrafted furniture, as a businessman, mindful of cost, he took full advantage of the available technology of the time. His emphasis on structure with simple, or better yet, no applied decoration, however, put him in the …

Editorial

Editorial Staff

An American mechanic does not exercise his trade as he has learned it: he is constantly making improvements, studying out new and ingenious processes either to perfect his work or to reduce its price, and is, in most cases, able to account for the various processes of his art in a manner which would do credit to a philosopher. —Francis …