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Antiques Considered - September 1, 2010

The parents of a writer purchased this Maria Martinez charger in 1958 at Santa Clara. It has no chips, cracks or scratches, and only one or two small imperfections prior to the glazing. It is signed on the bottom, and still bears the remnant of a round white paper tag between the names. It is 12 inches in diameter.
At present the pottery of Maria Martinez, who lived from 1881-1980, is very popular, and the auction demand is great. She was born Maria Montoya, and at a young age married Julian Martinez. Soon after their wedding they traveled to the Saint Louis World’s Fair in 1904, where they observed the work of other potters. Her family had disdained the marriage because he had no trade. The native New Mexico community considered pottery to be women’s work, and Julian did not sign the pieces until 1925. From that time until his death in 1943 they signed the works, “Maria and Julian.”

Read more: Antiques Considered - September 1, 2010

Antiques Considered - August 25, 2010

Today I am writing this column from the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford, Maine, sitting by a bookcase that is topped by a delightful Parian ware bust of Charles Dickens and a magnificently stuffed snowy owl.  The library was built in 1902, and reflects the grandeur of that age, and is a testament to the value the city fathers placed on education over a century ago.
Knowing that I write this item each week, a couple here has asked about their family oriental cabinet.  It is black lacquer with interesting sections of nacre, or mother-of-pearl intricately inlaid into the front.  The two doors open to reveal a number of small compartments.

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 25, 2010

Antiques Considered - August 18, 2010

Last week I described a chair from the wreck of the steamboat Wawaset, and three days later I was in Boston where I attended an exhibit on one of the most famous shipwrecks in American history, namely, that of the Central America, “The Ship of Gold,” on September 12, 1857. The ship was laden with gold coins and bars from the California fields following the celebrated discovery at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 and the attendant Gold Rush the following year. In addition, 588 passengers were making the fateful journey from San Francisco to New York.

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 18, 2010

Antiques Considered - August 11, 2010

This past Saturday my friend, Susan Christopher, stopped by our antiques shop to show us a chair she was taking to the Wawaset Commemoration in King George on Sunday.  It belongs to a friend of hers, from whom she got it on loan for the ceremony.

It is a typical late-nineteenth-century oak captain’s chair, and appears to have the original hand-caned seat.  I examined it very closely, and could find no evidence that the caning ever had been replaced.  The finish of the wood is original, and the chair is in pristine condition.   

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 11, 2010

Antiques Considered - August 4, 2010

A gentleman in King George has inquired about his platform rocking chair, which has been in his family for several generations.  He writes that he thinks the back is original, but that his father installed a plywood seat many years ago.  He notes that the finish appears to be original.      This chair dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.  Almost certainly, the wood is maple, and from the photographs the finish does seem to be original.  I am doubtful that the back is original.  A chair of this type should have a back and seat either of a form of hand-worked rattan or splits.  Indeed, it cries out for their restoration.

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 4, 2010

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