Research

February 2nd, 2021

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 chairs from a variety of origins.

– “American Windsor Chairs” by Nancy Goyne Evans – An intensive and impressive exploration of American Windsor chairs, including their origins, regional differences and makers.

 

A New Perspective

May 21st, 2020

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.

A funny thing happened on the way to the armory…..

September 14th, 2018

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!

 

 

 

Wood Is Wood Is Wood – or is it?

April 6th, 2018

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!

 

 

IKEA – I Get It.

March 14th, 2018

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 hundred more, made in America from named old-growth solid hardwoods, likely to hold or even appreciate in value, and individually crafted by a master cabinetmaker or joiner for individual expression. And, of course, buying antiques is as green as it gets: recycling at its finest.

We invite you to poke around our inventory, and start falling in love with the wonderful world of Americana.