Gary Sullivan's Antique Clocks and Furniture Blog

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Antique Clocks and Furniture


The American Antiques Show (TAAS) cancelled
The American Antiques Show (TAAS) cancelled

The American Antiques Show, held in New York during antiques week will no longer be the place to find us in January. In the midst of financial difficulties, The Folk Art Museum has chosen not to continue with the show that has come to be known as TAAS. The museum has turned the show over to The Art Fair Company, an organization that runs high end art shows. Under the new management, it apparently will be quite a different show. Karen DiSaia has done a great job of managing the show for the museum, but based on what I know about The Art Fair Company, I'm sure the new show will be terrific. Even though the name and ownership of the show will change, the Folk Art Museum will still benefit from the gala preview party. I'm looking forward to learning more about the show and the possibly of being an exhibitor.


I need help locating northern clocks sold in the south 200 years ago
I need help locating northern clocks sold in the south 200 years ago

I am currently researching the adventures of Hanover, Massachusetts clockmaker John Bailey Jr. In the 1815 to 1825 period, he was making regular trips to the south (Murfreesborough and Edenton, NC.), where he would temporarily set up shop to sell and repair clocks. He actually advertised his services in the Edenton Gazette. To date, I have located 5 clocks that he sold in NC. They each bear the name of their original owner on the dial. I know that there are more out there, so all of you collectors and dealers in the south, please keep an eye out for clocks signed, John Bailey Jr. / Hanover.

This is pretty interesting new research and I know there is more to the story. So far, I know that Bailey was bartering his clocks for commodities such as corn, cotton and feathers. He placed clocks on consignment with agents in North Carolina and possibly Virginia. When they sold, he preferred to receive payment in the form of bartered merchandise, so he could make an additional profit on the trade. On one of his visits to NC, he decided at the last minute to make the return trip overland, but sent his tools ahead by boat. That vessel never made it to Boston and his clock making tools were lost at sea along with most of the worldly belongings of his young apprentice from Murfreesborough.


Appraiser’s Seminar hosted by Brunk Auctions.
Appraiser’s Seminar hosted by Brunk Auctions.

I just spent two days in Ashville, NC for a Appraiser's Seminar hosted by Brunk Auctions. What a terrific idea, for Brunk to host an event where appraisers earn continuing education credits from The International Society of Appraisers while attending lectures by experts in various specialties. I was there to speak on methods of evaluating and appraising antique clocks. I didn't prepare very much, had about 15 slides in a Power Point presentation, and was a little nervous that I wouldn't have enough material to consume the hour and 15 minute slot. My fears were all for not, as I ended up rushing to include critical information after speaking for an hour and a half. Brunk had several clocks that are slated to be sold in future auctions, so I had plenty of material to refer to. I brought some examples of reverse painted glass panels from banjo clocks and a few clock dials (faces) to illustrate original verses restored paint.

The questions from this group of experienced appraisers were excellent. They kept me on my toes. The turnout was quite good, I think there were over 100 attendees. Hopefully some of them will contact me if they run across an important clock that needs appraising.


A busy day spent at the Brimfield, Mass flea market today
A busy day spent at the Brimfield, Mass flea market today

Spent the day at the Brimfield, MA flea market today. Crowds were pretty heavy despite the cloudy/drizzly day. Didn't make any great discoveries this time, although I have done very well at various times in the past. For anyone who has not had the cultural experience of visiting Brimfield during one of their events, it is a must see. Held three separate weeks per year, the entire town is taken over by thousands of antique and junk dealers, collectors and enthusiasts. The people watching is terrific and you might even find a hidden treasure.


Ultra rare John Goddard games table acquired.
Ultra rare John Goddard games table acquired.

We bought a superb Newport demi-lune games table at CRN Auctions last weekend. It was made in Newport, RI., and has a wonderful cabriole front leg with carved ball & claw foot and carving on the knee. The table dates to the 1760s and has the classic Newport style undercut carved talons on the Chippendale front foot and Queen Anne style feet in the rear. The semi-circular top flips open to reveal a storage well for the card-playing supplies of the day. The table came from a Newport family in the 1970s and was handled by noteworthy antiques dealer John Walton. It has been in a private collection ever since. A friend who happens to be a scholar on Goddard-Townsend Newport furniture remembers the house it came from and will be sharing the family history with me.

A nice bonus was the discovery that the table is illustrated in Master Craftsmen of Newport by Michael Moses. He associates the table with the workshop of John Goddard. Who am I to argue?


Winterthur Museum Furniture Forum, 2011.
Winterthur Museum Furniture Forum, 2011.

I'm heading home from this year's furniture forum, which was terrific. The subject of the conference was the furniture of southeastern Pennsylvania. It was accompanied by a new book entitled Paint, Pattern & People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725-1850. The book and exhibit represent several years of research and hard work by Winterthur Senior Curator of Furniture, Wendy Cooper and her assistant, Lisa Minardi. For the exhibit, they assembled an amazing collection of 18th and early 19th century furnishings. The exhibit includes some super Pennsylvania German pieces with excellent original painted decoration. I was thrilled to see that the exhibit also included quite a few tall case clocks.

With the maker's name and location often inscribed on the clock dials (faces), they are excellent documents in determining local cabinet making styles. When researching regional furniture, we don't have the luxury of reading the place of origin right on the face, as we can with clocks.