Saturday, February 2, 2013

Antiques Week 2013 At Last, Part IV

The Winter Antiques Show, Part I
Dear Reader: Today's post is the first in a two-part series devoted to the Winter Antiques Show.  There was so much to see and comment on at the show that I'm afraid it required breaking the story into two parts.  I hope you enjoy it.

This past Thursday evening we attended the gala opening of the Winter Antiques Show.  The party is one of the highlights of the New York social season, and—believe me, Dear Reader—the tribe was out for the event in force.

Held in the magnificent Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue at 68th Street, the Winter Antiques Show is the grandaddy of American antiques shows, ranking with the best of the international antiques fairs held in Europe.  This year marks the 59th anniversary of the Winter Antiques Show's founding.

One enters the show under a canopy of sparkling pink lights

The Seventh Regiment Armory has recently undergone an extensive and careful restoration and modernization, spearheaded by a not-for-profit group that has taken over management of the building.  It is most gratifying to see the Armory is now being so well cared for, Dear Reader, emerging from slumbering under many years of benign neglect.

The Preservation Society of Newport County
exhibition pavilion at the Winter Antiques Show

This year's Winter Antiques Show show features a loan exhibition, "Newport: The Glamour of Ornament, Celebrating the Preservation Society of Newport County."  It is displayed in a marvelous and highly creative classical pavilion at the entry to the show.

The opening night crowds milling about in front of the
Newport Society pavilion
(Associated Artists' booth on the left)

The opening crowd was rather a crush, Dear Reader, with a smartly attired after-work crowd thronging the aisles and booths.  Men wore suits and ties to the event, and many of the ladies wore pretty party frocks.

"Waiter, I'd like a gin and tonic, please.
Heavy on the gin and easy on the ice, thank you!"

Attendees at the opening were well provided with cocktails and canapés.  There were numerous bars and food stations spread throughout the Armory, and armies of waiters passed through the crowds with trays of champagne and hors d'oeuvres.

Carswell Rush Berlin's booth, full of tasty things

Our first stop at the show was Carswell Rush Berlin's booth.  Although he is one of the leading dealers in American Classical era furniture and decorative arts, he had some modern pieces thrown in for pizazz.  Mr. Berlin's booth is always a visual delight.

The Peter Finer booth, specializing in European Medieval armour

The Winter Show has broadened its focus in recent years beyond American and European offerings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and now includes dealers in modern and ancient goods, too.

The S. J. Shrubsole booth, loaded with handsome English silver

However, the show has not strayed too far from its roots in American, English, and Continental antique furniture and decorative arts.  And as far as Reggie is concerned, that's a good thing.  It is fortunate that the organizers of the Winter Antiques Show recognize that retaining its primary focus on American and European antiques plays to the show's strength, and to its identity.  And, considering the show's location on Park Avenue in the city's Upper East Side, it makes good business sense, too.

Mr. James McConnaughy of Shrubsole

Our next stop was at the booth of S. J. Shrubsole, New York's preeminent dealer in English silver of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  The booth was packed, but we did manage to say hello to Mr. Jim McConnaughy, one of the principals of the firm and someone I have known for almost thirty years.

"So, does anyone have any good suggestion
for where we can go for dinner afterwards?"

After stopping for a refreshment of our cocktails we then headed over to Hirschl & Adler's booth.

The lush interior of the Hirschl & Adler booth

Hirschl & Adler specializes in best-quality American furniture and decorative arts of the Classical period, and their booth is always beautifully—and lavishly—filled with exquisite offerings.  To this writer, it is one of the highlights of the Winter Antiques Show.

The lovely Ms. Liz Feld of Hirschl & Adler

Hirschl & Adler is owned by members of the Feld family, who are not only passionate about what the do, but charming and friendly, too.  We like them immensely.
I rather fancied this heroic painting of
George Washington at Hirschl & Adler

Hirschl & Adler has a gilt bronze George Washington clock
 . . . Reggie's Holy Grail

Our next stop, across the aisle from Hirschl & Adler, was the booth of Jeffrey Tillou Antiques.  We've had good luck with the Tillous over the years, both at the Winter Show and at their gallery in Litchfield, Connecticut.

The Tillou booth at the Winter Antiques Show

The business is now run by Jeffrey Tillou, who took over from his father.  The gallery's focus remains American antiques and decorative arts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Mr. Jeffrey Tillou

Fatigued with all the visiting and chatting and admiring of beautiful things, this writer then took a break and availed himself of a dumpling station nearby.  The little girl he found there helping herself was adorable (and hungry, too!).

The dumpling station was a big hit among attendees

Turning around, who did we run into but Miss Miller Gaffney!  Star of the Market Warriors show on PBS, Miss Gaffney and Boy Fenwick were classmates together years ago in the Sotheby's American Arts program.  She's really rather delightful.

Miss Miller Gaffney

After chatting with Miss Gaffney for a minute or two, we dropped in to see what treasures Ms. Carolle Thiebaut-Pomerantz had on display at this year's show.

Carolle Thiebaut-Pomerantz's booth

Ms. Pomerantz is the leading dealer in historic wallpapers and spends most of her time these days in her beloved Paris.  We bought a large panel of scenic wallpaper from her ten or so years ago that hangs on a wall in our drawing room at Darlington House.  It is one of the treasures of our collection.

Ms. Carolle Thiebaut-Pomerantz

Ms. Pomerantz is an effervescent and charming lady, and she is always beautifully attired.  I love to see what she is wearing, as I know it will be exquisite!

Kentshire Galleries' booth

We whizzed by the Kentshire Galleries booth, filled with beautiful English antiques, because we had spotted a dear friend of ours that we wanted to say hello to.

Ms. Sarah Coffin

Ms. Coffin is the Curator of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century Decorative Art, and Head of Product Design and Decorative Arts at the Cooper-Hewitt here in New York (try putting that on a card!).  We've known Ms. Coffin for many years and are very fond of her.  We spent a divine week with her and her husband in a villa in Tuscany several Junes ago.  Ms. Coffin is delightfully chatty, and she is an awe-inspiring font of information on subjects far and wide.

A view of the sumptuous Carlton Hobbs booth

Our next stop was the booth of Carlton Hobbs.  Mr. Hobbs, who specializes in English furniture of the most superb quality imaginable, is based in New York.  His gallery of astonishing wares fills one of the Upper East Side's most beautiful townhouses, which he has restored to perfection.

The Stephen & Carol Huber booth

Boy then made a beeline to the booth of Stephen & Carol Huber, the leading dealers in important American needlework.  The Hubers are charming and amusing, and the quality of their offerings is breath-taking.

A shot of the wildly popular Cove Landing booth

One of the relatively recent additions to the Winter Antiques Show is Cove Landing, which specializes in unusual American and English furniture and decorative objects.  Owned by Angus Wilkie and Len Morgan, Cove Landing's booth this year features a treasure trove of covetable boxes, objets, and pictures.  It was mobbed during the party.

Liz O'Brien's serene booth

On a more modern note, Liz O'Brien's nearby booth features furniture and decorative arts of the first half of the twentieth century.  Ms. O'Brien has a wonderful eye for design, and was one of the earliest champions of the works of architect and designer Samuel Marx.  I am always interested to see what she brings to the Winter Antiques Show, as I know it will be marvelous and extraordinary.  I was not disappointed!

Next: More of the Winter Antiques Show and the Personalities That One Encountered There . . .

All photographs by Reggie Darling


  1. Don't get me started on scenic wallpaper –– I am mad for the stuff. How marvelous you have some at your home... yes, it would be a star in any collection. I must look her up online.

    Looks like a great show... I can't wait to see more.

  2. That George Washington clock is spectacular. My fingers itch to own one as well!

  3. Your antiques season has made for some mouth-watering posts. I can see that the Armory show alone would be worth a trip from Florida to New York!

  4. How marvelous, Reggie! Would love to have attended.


  5. Reggie, what an amazing show, and so well captured through your photography. Oh, that wallpaper is amazing, especially the one in shades of grey. I could certainly see that (or something very similar) going home with me.

    Both the Carlton Hobbs and Hirschl & Adler booths have my interest. How could you not be tempted, even just a little bit? Divine!

    1. Hello LizaE -- the panel we acquired from Ms. Thiebaut-Pomerantz is also in shades of gray, it is sublime. I know that you and I have much taste in common (almost weirdly so), so I am not surprised that you were drawn to the CH and H&A booths, two of my favorites... Reggie

  6. I am enamoured of that pink sparkly ceiling

    1. It was very pretty and glamorous, and fun to walk under!

  7. Reggie, thank you so much for bringing us these photos. So many wonderful shots, I don't even know where to begin! I wish I could have seen the Cove Landing booth - looks divine!

    1. Dear MW -- the Cove Landing booth was justifiably very popular. Angus Wilkie has an amazing eye, and his offerings are unusual, exquisite, and irresistable (sp?) -- RD


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