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Antiques Considered - May 12, 2010

 

A couple in Lancaster County acquired this Sheraton washstand at an estate sale about six years ago.  The marble is in excellent condition, and the wood of the base is mahogany, the legs being veneered.  They question whether the top and bottom are married.
This piece combines two distinct periods of American furniture making.   The base is pure Sheraton, dating from the period 1820 –1840.   The top is equally pure, but Victorian, not Sheraton, and dates from the period 1840 – 1860.  The two have been united in furniture matrimony, probably as the result of the original top of the base having been lost or destroyed.  Most likely, that top was mahogany, and not marble, unless it had been a pier table.  I suggest looking at the back to see if evidence of a mirrored back exists.  If it does, restoration to that form, although costly, could be justifiable.

Read more: Antiques Considered - May 12, 2010

Antiques Considered - May 5, 2010

A writer from Northumberland County asks about her Fenton carnival glass hexagonal dish, which she acquired at an estate sale.  It is deep purplish blue with a flower motif in the center and surrounding the edge, and is in perfect condition.  It bears the raised mark, “Fenton” on the bottom.
Fenton is the oldest continuously manufactured glass in America.  The company began in Ohio in 1905, and produced its first pieces in 1907.  Its longevity and success have resulted from its ability to produce a very wide range of products, in short, something for everyone. That tradition continues today, and all major antiques and collectibles price guides cover Fenton in detail.
Carnival glass became popular in the early twentieth century, when pieces often were prizes at carnivals, thus the colloquial name. Because of the company’s long tenure during which it manufactured the ever-popular pieces, dating individual items is difficult without seeing them in person.   By examining the amount of wear on the bottom one can get a better picture than merely by seeing a photograph.
That much said, this piece appears to date since 1970, the year the company began using a trademark in the form of an embossed oval with “Fenton” inscripted in the center.  The hexagonal shape is particularly popular, as is the purplish blue coloring.  

Read more: Antiques Considered - May 5, 2010

Antiques Considered - April 28, 2010

This worktable comes from an e-mail from Middlesex County.  It is a mixed wood two-drawer table that has been refinished. Apparently, it had deteriorated badly, and was brought back to its present condition many years ago.
The table is of Sheraton design, and dates from the 1830s.  The turning on the legs is particularly fine.  The primary woods are cherry and maple, the drawer fronts being the latter.  The top demonstrates the extent to which it underwent refinishing.
The secondary wood is poplar, and the white porcelain knobs are not original.  The original ones were either brass or glass.  I advise replacing them accordingly as a way of restoring the piece to its maker’s design.

Read more: Antiques Considered - April 28, 2010

Antiques Considered - April 21, 2010

Three weeks ago a former student of mine at The University of Alabama in Huntsville came to a meeting at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton.  I had not seen him in almost a quarter of a century when we met for lunch during his visit.  Among other things he told me about a piece of furniture he and his wife had bought for $600 about 20 years ago.  I suggested that he sent me a photograph of it and I would try to write about it for this column.
    It is a fine High Victorian dresser or bureau that was made between 1880 and 1895.  It has the original cast brass hardware and marble top, and is in excellent condition.  The wood appears to be walnut, still with its original finish, and the secondary wood is most likely poplar.  From e-mail I judge the mirror to be original.  The marquetry and veneering are quite good, and the serpentine front demonstrates a high level of sophistication during the design phase in n the factory or cabinet shop that produced it.

Read more: Antiques Considered - April 21, 2010

Antiques Considered - April 14, 2010

London, England, U.K. This week our family is spending spring break from school here in Merrie Olde England. We have been visiting friends, doing the usual tourist activities, i.e., the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Canterbury, the White Cliffs of Dover, Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor, where we stopped for Prince Philip to pass in front of us driving his wagon with four ponies down the Long Walk.
I had seen these places many times previously, and my wife and I wanted our two teenagers to experience them as well. New to me on this trip were visits to the Cabinet War Rooms where Winston Churchill led the British effort against the Nazis for five years, and Sir John Soane’s Museum. The latter is the subject of this column.

Read more: Antiques Considered - April 14, 2010

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