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Antiques Considered - January 5, 2011

 A couple acquired this cradle at an antique shop in Pennsylvania many years ago.  It is pine, and has been refinished.  They have made it into a magazine rack, almost like a canterbury, but have retained the essentials in order that it could be returned to its original purpose.  Happily, the rockers were not removed, but stabilized by having flat boards sistered to them.  These are removable without serious effort should a future owner wish to reconvert to the baby-rocking purpose.
 The cradle dates to the middle of the nineteenth century, and probably came from Pennsylvania or another Mid-Atlantic state.  It has good, traditional lines, and undoubtedly was a home for many babies over the years.  We have a similar one, although it is walnut, which my mother purchased at an antique shop in the Shenandoah Valley, and which she too used for magazines.
My good wife refitted it when we were expecting our first child, and he and later his sister, found it to be quite commodious

Read more: Antiques Considered - January 5, 2011

Antiques Considered - December 22, 2010

 This photograph album comes from a gentleman who purchased it at an antique shop in Georgetown over 50 years ago.  The shop, known as “Miss Melinda’s Antiques” was on K Street, underneath the elevated Whitehurst Freeway.  It bears the name, “Harding’s Patent Photograph Album” with patent dates of March 8th, 1853, May 14th, 1861, which was extended in 1868.

Read more: Antiques Considered - December 22, 2010

Antiques Considered - December 15, 2010

This week a writer wants to know about her cloisonné vase, which has been in her family for over a century.  It is 13 inches high, and the finish is brilliant oxblood, with overall floral decoration.  It is totally unmarked as to country of origin.
Unfortunately, many years ago the vase fell to the floor, resulting in a smash on the lower side, and leaving the enamel badly scarred.   The damage appears in the photograph.  Her particular point of inquiry concerns whether she will damage the vase by having it drilled to make into a table lamp.

Read more: Antiques Considered - December 15, 2010

Antiques Considered - December 1, 2010

A lady from North Carolina inherited this enameled glass vase from her grandmother, along with several similar pieces, which are not in as good condition.  The color is pale blue, and the painting is bright.  It has no chips or cracks, as well as no maker’s mark.

This vase is typical of late-Victorian glassware.  It is almost certainly American, probably from one of the Ohio glassworks.  The crenellated rim at the top indicates a high level of sophistication, and the painting is quite fine.  The pale blue shade was a great favorite at the end of the nineteenth century, when this vase was made.  I date it from the period 1880 to 1900.Colored and enameled glassware continues to grow in popularity.  The more ornate the shape and enameling, the better.  A discerning customer, who died earlier this year, was a pre-eminent authority on colored glass, and was happy to share her knowledge with others.  I frequently asked her opinion on the topic, and respected her judgment.  The best compliment I can pay this vase is to say that she would have found it very pleasing, a view corroborated by my good wife.

Read more: Antiques Considered - December 1, 2010

Antiques Considered - November 24, 2010

 This oriental table belongs to a family in Lancaster County, which has owned it for several generations.  The wood is teak and the insert is soapstone or marble.  The ornate inlay is mother-of-pearl.  It has some fading of the wooden frame, but has not been refinished.
The table is probably Japanese, and dates from the end of the nineteenth or beginning of the twentieth century.  One of the keys of dating the table is to note the height.  It was made for export to the West, where the modern taste for lower furniture was coming into vogue.  A great burst of interest in oriental pieces occurred in that time span, and has continued thereafter.

Read more: Antiques Considered - November 24, 2010

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