|A spectacular arrangement of roses|
at the entry to the Winter Antiques Show
The WAS opening party is one of the highlights of the New York social season and attracts a large crowd of sleek and moneyed New Yorkers. This year marked the show's sixtieth anniversary. It's one of the longest running and most prestigious antiques show in the country, Dear Reader.
|Fortunately a full bar was set up right at the entry|
so Reggie didn't have to wait for a cocktail!
The WAS opening party is a lot of fun. One can spend the entire evening boozing and schmoozing, as there are food and drink stations at every turn, and one runs into all sorts of people one knows—or would like to know better.
|The crowd entering the show|
Every year the WAS hosts a loan exhibition from a noteworthy cultural institution. This year's show features one from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, also known as "the PEM." The PEM's exhibition was designed by Mr. Jeff Daly, the former Chief of Design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who now has his own museum and design consulting company. I was very pleased to meet and speak with Mr. Daly and his partner at the party, both of whom I learned are sometime readers of this blog!
|The Peabody Essex Museum loan exhibition at the WAS|
The PEM has a number of masterpieces from its collections on display.
|The PEM's Derby Dressing Table, ca. 1800-1810|
Prominently (and rightly) featured is this dressing table by the cabinet makers John and Thomas Seymour of Boston, made for Mrs. Elizabeth Derby West, the daughter of the immensely rich Mr. Elias Haskell Derby. Boy and I attended the landmark Seymour exhibition that the PEM mounted ten years ago. I shall never forget it. It was spectacular.
|The PEM's portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne, ca. 1840|
Charles Osgood, artist
Also displayed is this portrait of a young and handsome Nathaniel Hawthorne in the PEM's collection. I have a postcard of this portrait, bought at the PEM when we toured the Seymour exhibit, that I have slipped into the frame of a mirror hanging above my chest of drawers at Darlington.
|Mr. David Patrick Columbia|
One of the first people I ran into at the show was Mr. David Patrick Columbia, of New York Social Diary fame. I am a devoted reader of and sometime contributor to NYSD, and I owe Mr. Columbia a story that I've been working on for him some time now. We had a pleasant conversation, and the picture he took of us appeared in his next morning's post. Thank you, sir!
|Pork, vegetable, chicken or beef?|
The food offered at the Winter Antiques Show this year was delicious and varied. The dumpling station shown in the preceding photograph was very popular.
I stopped in my tracks when I turned around and noticed this exotic-looking mid-nineteenth-century marble bust of an American Indian.
And I was also quite taken by this full-length statue of a young Indian by the same sculptor, in the same booth.
|The Peter Pap Oriental Rugs booth|
My next stop was to say hello to Mr. Peter Pap, the San Francisco-based dealer of oriental rugs. Mr. Pap's mother and mine were great pals when we were both lads, and we share a mutual friend in common today in Mr. Guy "Pickles" Gurquin, the noted San Francisco decorator.
|Son and Father Pap|
Mr. Pap was joined at the party by his son, Master Jared Pap, whom I enjoyed meeting. I'm afraid the younger Pap may have thought me one of those "I knew your grandmother . . ." old fogey blowhards, but he seemed pretty game about it.
|The Old Print Shop booth|
We next peeked into the booth of the Old Print Shop, where we admired an early depiction of Alexander Hamilton . . .
. . . and then made a beeline to the booth of Stephen and Carol Huber, America's preeminent dealers in antique schoolgirl needleworks.
|The Stephen & Carol Huber booth|
I have a weakness for mourning pictures, Dear Reader. Actually I need to clarify that: I have a weakness for almost anything made with a mourning theme in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in America or England. I especially liked the mourning needlework picture on display in the Huber's booth, shown in the following photograph:
Who should I then run into next but Mr. Michael Henry Adams, man about town and bon vivant!
|Mr. Michael Henry Adams|
Mr. Adams has kindly invited me to spend a day with him taking in the noteworthy historical sites in Harlem, and I look forward to doing so soon. Taking my leave of him, I briefly paused to admire this pulchritudinous ancient statue . . .
. . . on my way to the back bar to replenish my flute of champagne. A number of my Dear Readers may remember another, also pulchritudinous ancient statue, that I featured in my last year's post on the WAS opening party, shot from the—ahem—rear. It was also from the same dealer, Safani Gallery.
I needed a refreshment of champagne in order to bear the excitement of the prospect of next visiting the booth of Hirschl & Adler, where I found Boy shamelessly flirting with the lovely and fun Ms. Liz Feld.
|Mr. Boy Fenwick and Ms. Liz Feld|
And why not? Ms. Feld is divine, and we like her and her family immensely. The Felds have the most mouthwatering goods on display in the Hirschl & Adler booth at the WAS, including this spectacular desk attributed to Duncan Phyfe, shown in the following photograph.
|The Hirschl & Adler Duncan Phyfe desk|
with a George Washington gilt bronze clock
They also had—not one, but two—George Washington clocks on display. It almost made me faint!
|Another gilt bronze George Washington clock!|
I immediately needed another glass of champagne in order to collect myself. Fortunately there was a bar set up close at hand for just such an emergency.
|Boy at the Bar|
Our next stop was the booth of Jeffrey Tillou Antiques, of Litchfield, Connecticut. We have been customers of Mr. Tillou, both at the WAS and his Litchfield shop, ever since we bought Darlington.
I was quite taken by this large, early-nineteenth-century still life painting in the Tillou booth.
|"Let me tell you about where I found this painting . . . "|
Boy briefly considered this small landscape.
|I suspect that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth|
And we both liked this Ammi Phillips portrait in the Tillou booth of a rather haughty young gentleman. I thought it one of the better portraits by the artist that I've seen in recent years. It was already—not surprisingly—sold.
Leaving the Tillou booth we stopped and chatted with Ms. Mary Dohne, seen on the right of the preceding photograph. Ms. Dohne works at Liz O'Brien, a dealer in exquisite, sophisticated, bench-made mid-century furniture of the Maison Jansen/Samuel Marx/Francis Elkins school(s). Ms. Dohne is really rather jolly. I loved the outfit she was wearing at the party.
|Ms. Liz O'Brien|
We then made our way to the Liz O'Brien booth, where we stopped and chatted with the charming and gracious Ms. O'Brien. I've admired Ms. O'Brien's eye for many years, starting from when she first had a shop in SoHo. Ms. O'Brien is shown in the preceding photograph standing next to a commode made by Maison Jansen for the Duchess of Windsor. It was exquisite. I am tickled pink that Ms. O'Brien and I are now Facebook friends.
|I'll have one of everything, please!|
Taking a break from the visual overload, I fortified myself with several helpings of tasty Peking Duck rolls at the nearby food station.
|Mr. Will Motley with the Dyckman punch bowl|
I next stopped into the booth of Cohen and Cohen of Reigate, England, to admire their magnificent offerings of (positively) ducal Chinese export porcelain. Mr. Will Motley was kind enough to show me the heart-stopping punch bowl Cohen and Cohen had on display that was (thought to be) commissioned by States Morris Dyckman (1755-1806), ca. 1805, for his house, Boscobel, in the Hudson River Valley.
Unlike the rather foul-humored dealer at the Ceramics Fair who wouldn't give Reggie the time of day, Mr. Motley was more than pleased to let me examine a truly superb Chinese export punch bowl, ca. 1800, decorated with Masonic emblems. It was large enough to bathe an infant!
|The Cove Landing booth|
Our next stop was to visit the extremely popular Cove Landing booth. I did a post about attending an exhibition sale at Cove Landing this past fall. We've become rather addicted to Cove Landings' exquisite offerings, Dear Reader.
Across the aisle from Cove Landing, I was entranced by this impressive suite of watercolors of the stages of operations of a silk factory in China, from the early nineteenth century.
|The Moderne Gallery booth|
Not everything at the WAS dates from pre-1900. The dealer's booth shown in the preceding photograph was positively brimming with the wildly collectible, wildly expensive mid-century furniture made by the Japanese-American cabinetmaker and architect George Nakashima (1905-1990).
|Betty Grable, eat your heart out!|
Not all the "nudies" at the WAS were from the Ancient era, Dear Reader. I was quite taken by this early-nineteenth-century pinup in all her unclothed glory.
Which inspired Reggie with yet more of an appetite for the party's tasty finger food.
|The Carlton Hobbs booth|
I always make sure to stop at the Carlton Hobbs booth at the WAS. He has magnificent things to ogle, including this show's truly fantastical pair of enormous Adam-style mirrors (although I suspect the English Mr. Hobbs prefers to call them "looking glasses").
|"What are you looking at?"|
Yet more food was to be had.
|I believe the toothy fellow in the yellow tie was on a reality show|
And yet another photograph of another beautiful booth at the show.
|"Be it ever so humble . . . "|
I thought the grisaille wallpaper at Kentshire Galleries, seen in the preceding photograph, was beyond sublime.
Another photograph snapped of yet more benefitters milling about the drinks station at the center of the Armory.
|Is that Miss Miller Gaffney I see in the Maison Gerard booth?|
The Maison Gerard booth was very chic, I thought.
|The Carswell Rush Berlin booth|
And the Carswell Rush Berlin booth of American Classical furniture was definitely worth a gander!
|I wanted everything!|
I particularly liked the bookcase along the wall. I wish I had a place for it at Darlington House.
|Elle Shushan's booth|
Our final stop at the show was the always-marvelous booth of Elle Shushan, the best American dealer in fine antique miniature portraits.
Every year she and her friend, the designer Ralph Harvard, come up with a different inspiration for her booth's design. I think this year it may have been the Egyptian-revival architecture of Henry Austin (1804-1891), but I could be mistaken.
With dinner plans beckoning us at the nearby L'Absinthe Brasserie, and the delightful company of Ms. Maureen Footer and Ms. Emily Evans Eerdmans to look forward to, Boy and I then retrieved our coats and made our way out the main door of the Armory and into the chilly January night. And just like that, we were gone!
Next: Reggie goes shopping for Duncan Phyfe games tables at Sotheby's and Christie's
All photographs by Reggie Darling