- Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 00:00
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This year’s Saint Clement’s Island Museum’s Appraiser Fair was filled with so many treasures that I am devoting a second column to some of the outstanding pieces.
One lady came with two interesting silver items. One was a large clamshell set in a sterling holder. One slight chip on the upper shell was its only defect, otherwise it was in excellent condition, and one of the best examples of its kind that I have seen.
The same lady also brought a superb oriental sterling scalloped and footed bowl that had excellent design and was in mint condition. Both of her pieces were of exceptional quality.
The most interesting item of the day was a framed poster delineating the rules for occupants of the Maryland Confederate Home. It was in a great, original frame, which combined a light gilt gesso inner frame within a darker outer frame. The poster established rules for Confederate veterans to follow while living in the home, and dated from the last quarter of the 19th century.
Throughout the war Southern Maryland remained sympathetic to the Confederate cause, as this document exemplifies, and as was shown by John Wilkes Booth’s flight there after the assassination of President Lincoln.
One gentleman came with a fine ladderback chair that he had purchased for $20 from an estate sale. The seat was in poor condition and he had had a new one woven in the correct style. It was a Centennial piece that replicated the 18th century design. As I told him, Centennial pieces, i.e. those made at the time of the American Centennial in 1876, have a following of their own now.
The last item of the day was a magnificent oil painting of the Tiber River in Rome with wonderful views of the Castle San Angelo and Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was unsigned, and in an old, but not original, carved frame. It had hung in a home of a family member who had been a heavy smoker, causing the painting to need serious cleaning. It also showed two unsuccessful attempts to patch holes in the canvas. Despite these shortcomings, it was one of the greatest paintings I have encountered in a long time.
If you missed this year’s fair, I hope to see you there next January. It truly is a highlight of the winter.