Curious Objects: The Soldier, the Dandy, and the Queen

Benjamin Miller and Michael Diaz-Griffith Curious Objects

Listeners to this podcast will recognize the name Freeman’s—for more than a year, the Philadelphia-based auction house has been Curious Objects’ lead sponsor, and its no exaggeration to say the podcast wouldn’t exist without them. This month we paid a visit to their Center City showrooms to record a live episode, focusing on a quartet of curious objects that are on the block as part of Freeman’s April 30 American Furniture, Folk, and Decorative Art sale: a marble-top pier table long believed to have belonged to General Washington’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman, a quirky painting of Noah’s Ark by foppish Lancaster polymath John Landis, and two stoneware wine bottles in the shape of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Freeman’s specialist Lynda Cain provided the intel and Michael Diaz-Griffith charms in his debut as Curious Objects co-host.

  • Tilghman family Chippendale carved mahogany and marble-top pier table, Pennsylvania or Maryland, c. 1765. Main Line estate; all photographs courtesy of Freeman’s.

  • Salt-glazed stoneware novelty bottles in the form of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, maker unknown, London, c. 1845. Estate of Richard and Irene Gachot, Old Westbury, New York.

  • Depiction of Noah’s Ark attributed to John Landis, possibly Lancaster, Pennsylvania, c. 1830. Estate of Irene and Richard Gachot, Old Westbury, New York.

  • A 1956 advertisement in the pages of The Magazine ANTIQUES for the Tilghman pier table. Photograph from the S.J. Shrubsole archives.


Lynda Cain serves as a vice president of Freeman's, and is the department head for American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts. Growing up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan Ms. Cain was greatly influenced by the rich collections of American paintings, furniture and decorative arts held by Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. She began her career in American decorative arts as assistant curator at the Detroit Historical Museum. In 1984 she became Curator of Costume at the Detroit Historical Museum, and in 1986 relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts and switched from museum work when she joined the American Furniture and Decorative Art Department at Skinner Inc., Bolton and Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Cain joined the cast of the popular PBS series Antiques Roadshow in Season 19.