- Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 23:21
- Published on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 23:21
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At times antique appraisal work is akin to detective work. This week we have a case in point. Many years ago a lady in the Northern Neck purchased this “blanket chest.” It is walnut with poplar secondary wood. When the top opens it reveals the interiors of the two front drawers. The hinges have some age, but are not original. The finish is original. The owner purchased it many years ago, and uses it as a television stand.
This piece is a fragment of what it once was, namely, an armoire. The base is simply the bottom of an armoire, and the lid is a side panel reworked into a new purpose. That the top opens to reveal the interior of the two drawers, rather than the space for blanket storage, is the giveaway.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 00:00
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This French chair came from an estate sale, the owner having bought it for $5. He thinks the wood is walnut. It shows evidence of many slipcoverings, and the surviving fabric on the rear of the back appears to be silk. It is structurally sound, as evidenced by the modern braces strengthening the legs to the seat frame. He asks if it is worth restoring.
This is an excellent French chair, well worthy of a good restoration. The style is Louis XV, with its distinctive cabriole legs and medallion back. It dates from the late Second Empire or early Third Republic,1870, when the French returned to earlier motifs for their inspiration.
The French experienced a similar nostalgia for the earlier periods of design that we did in America. We refer to the American return to the early styles as Centennial because it took place at the time of the American Centennial, which historically coincided with the dawning of the Third Republic in France.
French furniture remains popular in this country, particularly in urban areas. The interest is less in the South, except for Louisiana, and in rural regions. Properly upholstered, this chair would be worth $350. If we could determine that it is not from the third quarter of the nineteenth century, but is an original from the mid-eighteenth century, the value would be several times greater.
As to the restoration, I recommend a simple design with a gold or silver background, and if the old fabric on the back is to be covered, I suggest leaving it under the new application. It is part of the chair's history, particularly if it is original. The upholsterer should be able to determine at what stage it was applied.
Clearly this chair was part of a parlor or dining room suite. It has classic lines, and should be saved as a great relic of its period.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 15:44
- Published on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 15:44
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A lady from Richmond purchased this walnut tavern table many years ago. It has the classic stretcher base and two drawers with replacement hardware. It was refinished before she acquired it. The stretcher base is worn, and the overhang of the top extends farther on the drawer side than on the back. The secondary wood is pine.
The table is a good example of its type. The overhang of the top might be the result of its having been cut down to fit a smaller space. The turned legs are quite good, and the wear on the stretcher indicates that it has received hard use over the years.
The pictures indicate that the original hardware consisted of central knobs rather than the replacement Chippendale bails. The current hardware is incongruous with the overall design of the piece.
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 20:03
- Published on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 20:03
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This vase and table come from a family in the lower Northern Neck. The vase has been passed down for several generations, and the table was a purchase many years ago. The glass is pressed, and the table is walnut with the original finish. The top is carved. Neither piece bears any maker’s marks.
The vase is a fine example of American pressed, or pattern, glass, probably from a factory in Ohio, and dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. The pattern is called Daisy and Button, and the shape is unusual. The motif was quite popular, as it remains today among collectors of pattern glass, making attribution to a particular factory
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 May 2012 19:18
- Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012 19:18
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Over the past twelve and a half years that I have written this column, with one exception, all of the items have been about pieces of antique furniture or related subjects. Today’s is going to be a second exception to that practice.
Word has come to the Northern Neck of the passing earlier this year of the artist Carroll Beale Barnes, Jr. He was 81, and died in a nursing facility near Philadelphia, a city in which he had lived for the past 40 years. He was born in Baltimore, the elder son of a father from Heathsville in Northumberland County and a mother, Alma Haydon, from Irvington in Lancaster County.
He attended Bucknell University, where he majored in Art, and spent one year of further study in Paris, whither he traveled on the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth. When he was drafted in the U.S. Army, a basic training sergeant asked him what his nickname was, and he replied that he had none, to which the sergeant replied, “Everyone has a nickname and I can’t be calling you Carroll. I’ll call you