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Antiques Considered - February 4, 2009

    Last week I noted some of the treasures which we saw at the Appraisers Fair at the Saint Clement's Island/Potomac River Museum at Colton's Point, Maryland.  The artwork which visitors brought to the Fair was also outstanding, and worthy of discussion.
    One couple came with a Chinese ancestor portrait, done on rice paper, and dating from the mid-nineteenth century.   The frame was carved bamboo, in good condition, but without a glass cover.  It had been in a house with a woodstove and a family of heavy smokers, thus it was discolored, but still quite good.
    I urged the owners to take it to a conservation-quality frame shop to have the cardboard backing removed, to be replaced with acid-free material, and then to have it put back in the frame, but this time under glass.
We saw several fine watercolors and oils.  Many were family pieces depicting the owners' relatives  as seen by nationally acclaimed artists. One lady came with a wonderful biblical scene of Ruth and Naomi in a fine gilt gesso frame.  It was a typical art school painting, signed Ann McGathran, an unidentified artist, who possibly was a student at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington.
   The family of Cullen Yates, a well-recognized member of the National Academy of the Arts, brought a wonderful scene of a couple sitting in a meadow.  It too was in the original gilt gesso frame.
   Each year I am impressed by the high quality of the Saint Clement's Island/Potomac River Museum.  It is truly one of the finest regional museums I have visited anywhere.  The professional staff and volunteers work together to produce a memorable experience for all of their visitors.  This Appraiser's Fair was in keeping with that tradition.  If you want a great afternoon, head across the Harry Nice Bridge and turn south to Colton's Point, less than 45 minutes away.  It is a spectacular place to see, and in summer months you can take the boat over to the Saint Clement's Island where Maryland began nearly four centuries ago.

• Lisa  and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont  Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973.  The appraisal service began in 1976.  Write to him there,  or by e-mail at comantqu @ crosslink.net, with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in "Antiques Considered."  Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement. Snapshots once sent on to the JOURNAL for publication, cannot be returned.
 

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