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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

Antiques Considered - July 28, 2010

Recently a young man bought this beer mug at an antique shop here in Virginia.  It is a shade of medium green, with matte finish, and has a keg or barrel shape to it.   On one side is embossed, "Happy Days Are Here Again", thereby helping us to date the piece quite accurately.  It is in excellent condition, and bears the mark,  "H" in a circle and the number 497.  
    This mug is easy to date.  The song, "Happy Days Are Here Again", was Franklin Roosevelt's theme song for his 1936 re-election campaign.  In all probability the mug was a campaign item.  From the texture and color it fits with the manufacture of Hull Pottery in the 1930s.  

Read more: Antiques Considered - July 28, 2010

Antiques Considered - July 21, 2010

Last week my son and I visited Menokin, the Richmond County home site of Francis Lightfoot Lee, who with his brother, Richard Henry Lee, signed The Declaration of Independence. When I was a child the house was standing in a state of decline, but still with structural integrity. As recently as the late 1960s the walls and roof were in place, but then calamity struck, and the building collapsed.
Over the past 15 years the Menokin Foundation, which owns the house and 500 acres, has been laboring to restore the structure. A large metal roof now covers the surviving corner walls, chimneys and small bit of roofline that remains. Nearby a visitor center and conservation building are the sites of the ongoing efforts to piece this massive jigsaw puzzle back together. Assuredly, the project is the most elaborate restoration ever attempted in the Northern Neck.
Sarah Dillard Pope, the Executive Director of the Foundation, had sent me pictures of this small locket with a lady’s portrait on its face and a small fragment of hair inside. On our visit I was able to see the locket in person, and observe the exquisite detail of the portrait, which is either on ivory or porcelain. It has one slight chip to the left, but otherwise is in good condition.

Read more: Antiques Considered - July 21, 2010

Antiques Considered - July 14, 2010

A gentleman from the lower Northern Neck has asked about this lemonade set that his mother bought many years ago.  The set contains the lidded pitcher, and seven glasses, three of which have their original saucers.  The latter are in cobalt blue and match the lid of the pitcher.  The glasses and pitcher are a two-tone striped custard green shade.  Unfortunately, several are missing, and three of the glasses have minor fleabite nicks on their rims.
This set is American, and probably dates from the interwar years, 1920–1940.  I am virtually certain that originally it came from a factory in Ohio.  The Buckeye State was the leader in producing fine glassware from the 19th century down until the latter half of the 20th century.
As to the city and factory, the possibility of identification becomes much more difficult.  Without a bill of sale, a shipping invoice or an original box in which the set was packaged, specific attribution is almost impossible.  Whichever factory produced this set

Read more: Antiques Considered - July 14, 2010

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