Nathan Liverant and Son Antiques suggested Early American Furniture reading list Introductory to Intermediate: - "The New Fine Points Furniture, Early American," by Albert Sack - A classic introduction to periods and styles and an important primer for comparative viewing. - "American Windsor Chairs" by Charles Santore - Beautifully illustrated and written by a noted scholar and artist. - "The Furniture of Historic Deerfield" by Dean A. Fales - A necessary reference book for New England antiques and decorative arts. - "American Glass: The Collections at Yale" by John Stuart Gordon - Stunning images of fine examples together with concise and informative information. - "Little by Little" by Nina Fletcher Little - Early American Folk Art at its finest by a diligent historian and prolific writer. Intermediate to Advanced: - "Connecticut Valley Furniture, Eliphalet Chapin and His Contemporaries, 1750-1800" by Robert Kugelman, Alice Kugelman and Robert Lionetti - A in-depth look at 18th century furniture from the Connecticut River Valley with some examples of New London County furniture as well. - "Art & Industry in Early America, Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830" by Patricia Kane - Decades of research resulted in this important exploration of Rhode Island furniture. - "American Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. I, Early Colonial Period: The Seventeenth-Century and William and Mary Styles" by Frances Gruber Safford - Extensive information beautifully presented on the rare and hard to find 17th century and early 18th century American furniture. - "John Townsend, Newport Cabinetmaker" by Morrison Heckscher - Explores the life and times of one of America's master craftsmen and his exceptional furniture. - "American Seating Furniture, 1630 - 1730" by Benno Forman - An important reference book featuring examples of early
Ellen Sharon Like every other business in Connecticut deemed 'non-essential', we spent the last ten weeks with our doors closed to the public. In the absence of visitors, and with the phones quiet, I spent a fair amount of time alone in the Shop, surrounded by our wonderful inventory. As the world moved further into the nightmare of Covid-19, I found myself looking at our furniture and decorative art from a new perspective. Our Shop is full of survivors. Somehow, they made it through a Revolutionary War, a Civil War, and two World Wars. They made it through the Great Depression, and past recessions and pandemics. They weathered floods, fires, tornados and hurricanes of past centuries. They are quintessentially American; a testament to our ability as a nation to emerge from trauma, to pick up the pieces and move forward into the future. They embody strength, thoughtful design and brilliant execution. Each piece of Americana is imbued with our history as a people, both the good days and the dark days. They endured. And they are still here. And so are we.
By Ellen Sharon After losing the locations in Massachusetts, the ADA's decision to move the Historic Deerfield show to the Hartford Armory was welcomed by the Dealers. It's a great venue with lots of space and light, easy parking for show-goers, and gave everyone the opportunity to rethink the show and add some fun new twists to a well-loved event. The only catch? The Hartford Armory will only rent out to a Connecticut nonprofit. Arthur started the hunt for an organization to act as sponsor/beneficiary. Day after day, he made phone calls to obvious candidates, with no success. As the deadline loomed for the amount of time needed to put together a top-notch show, I could hear his frustration. "Arthur", I asked. "Can it be ANY Connecticut nonprofit?" He looked at me, I looked at him, and we both grabbed for our phones. As some of you know, I'm President of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Humane Society. Arthur's call was to the President of the ADA; mine to my Director of Development at the Society. The result is a new partnership that benefits everyone. The Society brings a depth of event experience, a volunteer base of close to 500 to draw on, and a large constituent base to introduce to the show. The show brings the Society a new audience as well. I'm thrilled. I hope to see you all at the show, where my passions will collide: antiques and animals!
By Ellen Sharon The early colonists in New England and elsewhere were probably giddy over the vast virgin forests they found. Wood had become scarce in the 'Old World' as old-growth forests had long ago been havested for housing, furniture and fuel. Old growth, or trees that had grown slowly over a hundred or more years, are distinctly different than trees from today's tree farms, where wood is harvested in ten or twenty years. A tree growing in a forest is crowded and competing for light. This causes it to grow slowly, and the growth rings are packed tightly as a result. This creates wood that is denser, more rot resistant, and inherently more stable. If you've ever had a bookshelf that sagged, a drawer that sticks, or a table that warped, you've seen first hand what happens when a modern tree farm selects fast growing species and grows them in open air. Progress has provided more challenges to new growth - - climate change, pollution, and acid rain all make for weaker woods. Today's hardwoods are soft compared to old growth hardwood used to make the furniture in the first half of the nineteenth century and earlier. Even a softwood like pine from 150 years ago is typically harder than many new growth hardwoods of today. Just one more reason why antique American furniture passes the test of time!
Ellen Sharon I've heard many an antique dealer bemoan the IKEA phenomenon, but I get it. I remember my years as a young adult when money was tight, when function was paramount, when I was less than confident in any sense of style or decorating ability, and when I had no desire to be tied down by my belongings, hoping not to live in my first apartment one minute longer than I had to. If IKEA had existed then, I definitely would have shopped there. But eventually, most of us grow up. We want to spend our money on things of value instead of a short lived bargain. We know what we like when we see it, and it isn't "Fraternity Revival". If we haven't exactly set down permanent roots, we can at least see ourselves where we are for a few years. We are ready for some furniture that befits an up-and-coming adult. If you've ever been drawn to American antiques, this is the time to get in the game. Supply is strong as older collectors downsize their homes, and you may be pleasantly surprised by just how affordable it is to own a bit of history. You can plunk down a significant amount of money on a piece of modern furniture. Sadly, that piece will have a life expectancy of somewhere between 3 and 15 years. It will often be imported, constructed from unnamed hardwoods, wood composites, and even partially made from partical board. Resale value will be negligable, and your piece will have been mass produced for mass appeal. Contrast that with an American antique in the same price range, which has already existed for several hundred years, and will last several
A rare and important pair of Chippendale cherry side chairs from the Housatonic Valley, Connecticut, 1775 to 1800, featuring a shell and vine carved crest, pierced splat and ball and claw feet. The chairs feature the period ink inscription on the seat frames, "H.M. Swift", possibly related to the family of General Heman Swift (1733-1814) of Cornwall, Connecticut. With an additional early 20th century jelly label bearing the inscription, "Mrs. Prescott Lunt." This fine pair of Chippendale chairs features the most elaborate combination of elements offered on seating furniture in the Housatonic Valley during the 18th Century. The boldly carved serpentine crests feature a projecting and carved scallop shell flanked by scrolled vines suggestive of carved decoration associated with more urban centers such as New York, Philadelphia and Boston. The pierced carved splat shows a sophisticated Gothic influence and displays extra attention with numerous scrolled returns placed throughout the design. The serpentine shaped lower edges of the seat rails, the large c-scrolls that begin on the knee returns and continue down the leg, as well as the oversized ball and claw feet are all additional elements that combine to create a chair of strength and beauty. The crest of the chair shows a relationship those found on some seating furniture attributed to the Woodbury area and discussed in "Fiddlebacks and Crooked-backs" by Edward Cooke. The Chippendale side chair shown in Figure 14, page 53, features a simplified form without the carved details, however, similarities can be seen in the serpentine shaped crest rail, as well as the pierced splat featuring a well balanced design and a pierced quatrefoil design at the bottom. The serpentine shaped crest can also be seen in turned chairs from Woodbury
William and Mary joined oak and pine blanket chest. Northampton, Massachusetts, 1675 - 1700. First known as Pilgrim Century, then as William and Mary, the style defining this first period of antiques is now recognized as an extension of Mannerism. Mannerism traces its roots back to about 1520 in Rome and can be seen as a reaction to the High Renaissance. The designs used by the Mannerists split with the balance and symmetry of the Renaissance and featured activated surfaces that emphasized abstract decoration over the classically inspired naturalism of the earlier period. This style spread from Rome across Italy and eventually flourished throughout Europe and into the British Isles, as well as the American Colonies. It is evident in abstract form in this chest. This fine joined blanket chest features molded decoration and the initials of the owner "HK." The chest was made for Haines Kingsley (1662-1689) of Northampton, Massachusetts, between 1680 and 1689, and descended directly in family. Recent research suggests that it was made by Haines Kingsley's kinsman, Enos Kingsley (1640-1708). Enos was the son of the family patriarch, John Kingsley (1614-1678) who was a wood worker who followed John Oldham to settle Wethersfield, Connecticut in 1635. John Kingsley's activities as a skilled craftsman are well documented throughout the early Wethersfield records. John eventually moved his family to Northampton and was living there by 1653. Enos Kingsley accompanied his father to Northampton as a youth and eventually became a respected wood worker in the community. He was hired by the town to construct the Northampton grist mill and a cart bridge over the Mill River. The chest shows the Mannerist style of geometric form decoration as interpreted in the Connecticut River Valley.
“The Babe Wept and She Had Compassion on Him. Exod. Ch. 2. V. 6.” “E. Sage” A fine Silk on Silk needlework by Emily Sage (1789-1836) of Portland and Chatham, Connecticut, 1805 – 1810. Signed lower right by the maker, “E. Sage”, for Emily Sage Selden who was born 1789 and married to John Selden on May 1815. Emily Sage was the daughter of Abner Sage, born 1758, who was the son of Deacon David Sage, born 1718, one of the first settlers of Middletown, Connecticut. Retaining the original eglomese matte and gilt molded frame retaining the original framer’s label for “Nathan Ruggles Looking Glass Manufacturer, Main Street Hartford, Connecticut.” This fine silk on silk pictorial needlework features design supporting an attribution to the Misses Pattens School of Hartford, Connecticut. Established by Ruth Patten in Hartford around 1785, this sophisticated female academy became widely known for the needlework of its students. Examples of the distinctive designs are shown in “Girlhood Embroidery” by Betty Ring, pages 202 to 208. Among the most notable signature elements is the metallic thread embroidered eagle at the top. The eagle is shown holding a garland of roses and flowers with sequined bow knots in the corners and large sheaf of wheat at the sides. According to Ring; “The most easily recognized Connecticut needlework has the highly raised and padded metallic embroidery favored by the Misses Patten during the first decade of the nineteenth century but seldom used elsewhere by American schoolgirls except on eighteenth-century Boston coats of arms. At the Patten School, pictorial subjects or coats of arms were often surmounted by a gold or silver raised-work eagle above a swagged garland suspended from spangled bow knots in the upper
A rare and important Musical Tall Case Clock featuring a Federal cherry and figured maple tall case containing an eight day brass musical movement that plays seven different songs. Signed on the enamel dial by the maker, Asa Munger (1777-1851) of Herkimer, New York and dated 1817. Brass musical movement held in a case featuring Cherry and Figured Maple with Eastern White Pine secondary wood. Dimensions: height - 98 1/2 ins. This rare and important Federal cherry and figured maple musical tall case clock is only one of three tall clocks, and the only musical clock, known to have been made by Asa Munger (1777-1851) of Herkimer and Auburn, New York. Asa Munger was born October 14, 1777 in Granby, Massachusetts and was married to Polly Chapin of West Springfield, Massachusetts in 1801. Munger's earliest known tall clock is dated 1799, and was made in Ludlow, Massachusetts. It is illustrated in The Bulletin of The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, April 1971, Volume XIV, No.9, page 1071, "Bill's Clock, Some Facts About The Munger Family," by William Sawtell. Munger was also a goldsmith and silversmith, with two of his touchmarks also illustrated in The NAWCC Bulletin, page 1073. The first is a rectangle showing "A.Munger", with a secondary eagle mark, used while he was working in Herkimer and Auburn, New York between 1810 and 1818. A second touchmark reads "A.Munger & Son" and was used in Auburn, New York circa 1825. The touchmarks are also listed in "Marks of Early American Silversmiths," by Ernest M. Currier, page 102. The Federal cherry and figured maple musical tall case clock dated 1817 and described above is also illustrated in The Bulletin of The National Association