Gary Sullivan's Antique Clocks and Furniture Blog


Antique Clocks and Furniture

I just don’t get some types of art!
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I realize that there are many different types of art and that the people to whom that art appeals are as wide ranging as the art itself. I have to say though, that I struggle to understand some types of modern and abstract art. Take the digital photo that was just sold at Christies in New York for example. I get the fact that it was produced by a highly regarded photographer. I also get the fact that it is thought provoking and interesting. What I don’t get is 4.3 million dollars! For one digital image! If you were by chance the buyer, or even the under-bidder, next time please bring your four point three million dollars to Sharon, Massachusetts and I will build you one of the finest collections of Early American decorative arts that you can imagine.

Below is the story from Artfix Daily.

First new American art museum in half a century
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Here is a story from Antiques and the Arts Weekly.  I find it to be encouraging.

First Major Museum For American Art Established In Almost A Half Century Opens
By Stephen May

If you are a fan of adventurous museum buildings and great American art, you are going to love the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and its world-class collection. Marking a significant development on the US cultural scene, the institution, the brainchild of Alice B. Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, opened to the public on November 11. It is the first major museum devoted to American art established in almost a half century.

Housed in an innovative building designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the museum is located in a 120-acre forest that used to form the backyard of the Walton family home. Crystal Bridges draws its name from a nearby natural spring, which flows beneath the graceful pavilions.

In keeping with his commitment to attune his buildings to their internal purposes and natural surroundings, Safdie nestled the 200,000-square-foot museum within a ravine, flanked by two wooded hillsides, surrounding two spring-fed ponds. "We aimed to design a museum in which art and nature are experienced simultaneously and harmoniously," says Safdie.

After entering from the crest of a hill that offers dramatic overviews of the entire campus, visitors circulate through 12 galleries in four separate buildings, crossing the ponds with open vistas of the forested landscape. Liberal use of glass throughout the museum encourages warm light suffusing the galleries and enhances views of mature oaks, dogwoods and pines. In keeping with the architect's aim "to create a building in the spirit of the Ozarks," regional materials — such as Arkansas white pine, fieldstone and limestone aggregate — help the structure "resonate with the surrounding hillsides," says Safdie. Walking trails and sculpture link the museum to downtown Bentonville. The beautifully sited museum and its trove of masterpieces are the culmination of a ten-year dream of Alice Walton, who breeds and trains cutting horses on a ranch in Texas, but whose heart remains in northwest Arkansas.

Interested in art from childhood but with no art history training, Walton began collecting regional art and then in the mid-1990s started acquiring national American art. By the end of the 1990s, she envisioned an art museum — lacking in this part of the country. Her plans evolved from "what I perceived of as a gift to the community to what I now think of as a gift to the nation."

And what a gift it is. Aided by such trusted advisors as distinguished art historian John Wilmerding and Christopher B. Crosman, the museum's founding curator of collections, Walton has acquired top-flight paintings, works on paper and sculpture by America's greatest artists. They respond both to Walton's interest in the relation of art "to our history as a nation" and the interrelationship of art and nature. In so doing, they carry out the museum's mission to "explore the unfolding story of America by actively collecting, exhibiting, interpreting and preserving outstanding works that illuminate our heritage and artistic possibilities."

The inaugural exhibition, "Celebrating the American Spirit," showcases 400 works by American masters, arranged chronologically to take visitors on a journey through the evolution of American art and history. The works on view are stunning from the outset, beginning with a series of six portraits of the prestigious and prosperous Jewish colonial Levy-Frank family of New York. Likely painted by Gerardus Duyckinck around 1735, they depict fashionably dressed family members in a traditional English portraiture style. According to catalog essayist Carrie Rebora Barratt of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this is "the only large set of early colonial family portraits to survive intact."

Even more elegant is John Singleton Copley's rendering of "Mrs Theodore Atkinson Jr (Frances Deering Wentworth)," 1765. The leading portraitist of elite Bostonians, his portrait captures his sitter's beauty, grace and elevated social standing. Not far away, Benjamin West's romantic "Cupid and Psyche," 1808, is complemented by Hiram Powers' neoclassical marble bust "Proserpine," circa 1840, from the museum's growing sculpture collection.

Not to be missed are iconic portraits of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale and Gilbert Stuart and a powerful oil study of a resolute "Marquis de Lafayette," 1825, by Samuel F.B. Morse. In Richard Caton Woodville's "War News from Mexico," 1848, white folks avidly read newspaper reports from the Mexican-American War, while a black man and girl listen, seated subserviently at their feet.

The showstopper in this gallery, Asher B. Durand's "Kindred Spirits," 1849, depicts Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School, and its literary champion, William Cullen Bryant, standing on a ledge in a wooded Catskills ravine. After noting the dismay among some when Crystal Bridges purchased the canvas from the New York Public Library, Crosman points out that it is "an icon of the American landscape tradition — not just that of New York." Nearby, landscapes by Cole and Hudson River colleagues Frederic Church, Jasper Cropsey and John F. Kensett celebrate nature's bounties in the new nation.

Other notable works by Thomas Moran immortalize the splendors of the American West, while Eastman Johnson spins narratives of New England, and George Inness's paean to the serenity of pastoral upstate New York reflects the artist's spiritual underpinnings. A figurative oil and two watercolors by Winslow Homer demonstrate his skills in these mediums.

Landscapes by such titans as Alfred Pinkham Ryder and later Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent, Dennis Miller Bunker, John H. Twachtman, Theodore Robinson, Maurice Prendergast, William Merritt Chase and James McNeil Whistler reflect the influence of European Impressionism and Post-Impressionism on late Nineteenth Century American artists. Portraits by their contemporaries are particularly outstanding, including Sargent's enigmatic depiction of "Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife;" Bunker's "Anne Page," adjacent to Augustus Saint-Gaudens' bust of the same Boston beauty; Gari Melchers' affectionate likeness of his colleague George Hitchcock's first wife and William Merritt Chase's magnificent evocation of an aging, white-bearded "Worthington Whittredge," seated before an easel, palette and paint brush in hand.

Best of all is Thomas Eakins' "Professor Benjamin Howard Rand," 1874, which the museum acquired after Philadelphians raised money to keep Eakins' "The Gross Clinic" in the City of Brotherly Love. "Rand" is a dark and sensitive view of the distinguished faculty member in his study at Jefferson Medical College.

Two galleries feature paintings ranging from gritty Ashcan School paintings at the dawn of the Twentieth Century to pre-World War II Modernists. Among the standout early urban realist images are an Everett Shinn theater image, John Sloan's "Bleecker Street, Saturday Night" and George Bellows' "Excavation at Night" that recalls the huge crater created to build Pennsylvania Station.
Among the early Modernists a highlight is Georgia O'Keeffe's riveting watercolor "Evening Star No. 2," 1917, in which the embryonic superstar captured, with a few broad brushstrokes, the brilliant radiance of a sunset over the arid Texas landscape, the pure saturated colors standing out against white paper.

aThere are fine examples of work by such celebrated members of the avant-garde as John Marin, Oscar Bluemner, Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, but the best paintings are those of Marsden Hartley. They range from a tapestrylike evocation of mountains in western Maine to a still life of energetically brushed red flowers set against a glimpse of a blue seascape to a heartfelt homage to the chiseled body and expressive gaze of a young boxer from northern Maine.

Of more recent vintage are characteristic works by Edward Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton, Arshile Gorky and Romare Bearden. Jackson Pollock's "Reclining Woman," circa 1938-41, painted while under the influence of his teacher, Benton, as well as the radical innovations of Pablo Picasso, offers a fragmented, distorted view of his subject, hinting at the drip paintings that made Pollock the leader of the Abstract Expressionists.

Norman Rockwell's beloved "Rosie the Riveter," a 1943 oil that became a famous Saturday Evening Post cover, is a reminder of the vital role women played in winning World War II and of the artist's accomplishments as storyteller and painter. A remarkable group of paintings dating to 1948 by Milton Avery, Will Barnet and Jacob Lawrence is highlighted by Charles Sheeler's cool, poetic and precise approximation of an abandoned textile plant in Manchester, N.H.

Colorful canvases by Hans Hofmann, Grace Hartigan and Joan Mitchell usher in the era of Abstract Expressionism that dominated postwar world art, but, alas, there is not yet a Willem de Kooning in the collection. Running counter to the prevailing style, a circle painting by Kenneth Noland and a classic "Homage to the Square" canvas by Josef Albers reflect other aesthetic impulses of the 1950s and 1960s.

Other contrasts from the late Twentieth Century include works by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, who created challenging new forms of aesthetic composition, while Fairfield Porter offered warm, Impressionistic views of family and landscapes, and Wayne Thiebaud turned out appealing depictions of food and, in the Crystal Bridges collection, "Supine Woman."

Pop Art, another notable postwar style, is represented by Tom Wesselmann's enormous, sensual "Smoker #9" and Andy Warhol's idolizing, silvery "Dolly Parton." The continuing popularity of Realism is reflected in a snowy landscape by Neil Welliver, two oils by photorealist Richard Estes and a robust lobsterman by Bo Bartlett. Andrew Wyeth's "Airborne," 1996, painted when he was 79, demonstrates the delicacy and foreboding tone of his late work, while son Jamie Wyeth's "Orca Bates," 1990, shows a vulnerable, naked island lad who is about to leave his way of life for school on the mainland, seated in front of a massive whale jawbone.

African American painter Kerry James Marshall explores issues of race, class and community in the large format (100 by 142 inches) acrylic "Our Town," 1995. More recently, in "A Warm Summer Evening in 1863," 2008, artist Kara Walker juxtaposes the silhouette of a lynched woman against a Harper's engraving of New York City's draft riots during the Civil War.

By acquiring work ranging from the Duyckinck portraits of 1735 to the Walker vignette of 2008, Alice Walton and her team have already gone a long way toward assembling the top quality, comprehensive collection she envisioned to tell the story of America through its art. Continued acquisitions will undoubtedly fill gaps in the trove and deepen the roster of American masterworks.

With an eye-popping museum in place and a large and growing collection of masterpieces, the future looks bright for the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The 352-page catalog edited by Crosman with essays by experts on the museum's holdings is published by the museum in association with Hudson Hills Press. It sells for $60, hardcover.

The museum is at 600 Museum Way. For information, or 479-418-5700.


Steampunk? What the heck is “steampunk”?
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If you have not yet heard of the art-form called steampunk, please permit me to enlighten you. I’m a big fan of steampunk sculpture and I’m in fact a steampunk artist. By way of a definition, steampunk art asks the following question: What would objects look like if modern technology had existed in the Victorian, stem-powered era? Jules Vern’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, and the contraptions featured in the movie Wild, Wild West (1999, with Will Smith) are perfect examples of the science fiction genre that we call steampunk.

Today, the popular steampunk look often includes modern pieces of technology, such as computers, IPods or keyboards that have been modified to look like pseudo-Victorian steam powered machines. The look often includes clock works and industrial steam apparatus. This creative modification of objects in order to create thought provoking and aesthetically pleasing art has been growing in popularity for several years.

There are different aspects of the steampunk movement, often with different followers. Post apocalyptic illustration-art, pseudo-Victorian costumes and science fiction fantasy worlds appeal to some, but it is the sculptural aspect of the genre that appeals to me. It’s a creative outlet that is just plain fun! Since I was a kid, I’ve enjoyed making things from found materials. My interest in tinkering, model railroading and clocks all mesh perfectly with the art of building steampunk gadgets. Here is a photo of a modern digital picture frame that I have “steampunked”.

It has been mounted with lots of vintage brass junk to give the illusion of a steam powered contrivance. I built it to use at antique fairs. We set it up to have images of my inventory scrolling through it at the show. Steampunk artists often give their fabrications whimsical names and concoct far-fetched claims of what their “contraptifications” can do. In this instance, I call it a “transforaminal image perambulator”. Steampunk sculptures incorporate recycled bits of vintage hardware, clock and lamp parts and plenty of imagination.

There is currently an exhibit of steampunk objects on view at The Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation (CRMI) in Waltham, MA. (until January 15, 2012). CRMI has become somewhat of a world headquarters for the steampunk movement. Here is their website: I think that steampunk art is an important bridge between it’s relatively young enthusiasts and the somewhat older collectors of main stream antiques and collectables. Any time we can interest young people in the fantastic world of history, material culture and art, only good things can happen. Some of my clients who are traditional collectors of antiques may think I’ve gone a little bonkers. Perhaps so, but I’m having fun. Here is a video of my “steam powered brain wave enhancer” This was completed just in time for Halloween and is currently on view at CRMI.

Matt attends design seminar by David Easton
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Matt here again.

Earlier this week, I had the good fortune of attending yet another great seminar at the Boston Design Center. The speaker was the celebrated designer and architect David Easton. He presented an illustrated discussion of his works that was somewhat of a retrospective of his accomplishments. It is a stunning body of work. I was humbled by both the scale of the projects and his mastery of style and taste. For some time I have admired his work from afar, but an opportunity to be walked through his collections in person will be a life long memory.

As an architect, David has a comprehensive understanding of architectural style from the Classical through the contemporary. This coupled with his talented sense of design, enable him to first create a physical space in which he can then successfully translate the tastes of his client. David has championed the elegance of the Neoclassical, creating a number of fine homes and collections from the ground up. He showed several slides of these familiar forms that were opulently decorated with rich fabrics and fine antiques.

While I was pleased to see these honored styles still in fashion, I was impressed by the modern designs that David also presented. These spaces he created embody the contemporary mode of open living spaces and efficient layout, but at the same time retained a human scale and a sense of intimacy. David explained how these designs are in keeping with the configuration on our daily lives. Large open spaces that flow from kitchen to dining area to common spaces are more in step with how we live and entertain. Yet at the same time each space retains a partition of sorts, whether it be physical or a visual cue, that enable a more traditional treatment of these spaces. I know that the dinner parties at my home are spent primarily in the kitchen, cramped as it may be. How nice it would be have a more accommodating space.

What was most profound to me in these modern spaces, was David’s ability to retain the Classical ideal in these new settings. I have always felt that antique forms have a place in contemporary design, but until now had not seen it realized.

Imagine the clean lines of say a Clismos chair or a banjo clock set in counterpoint to a present day designs. When the items are chosen carefully, they lend a contrast that strengthens the impact of each style. The sculptural form of tall clock lends a familiar, welcome presence in these sleek spaces. Does this mean I am selling my Federal period home? No! But it does breathe a life into my world, bringing together what had seemed to be two disparate modes of style. I now envision for myself open, efficient spaces decorated with prized antiques; the uncluttered contemporary highlighting the skill and grace of early craftsmen.

Thank you David…

Research tidbit, pineapples for rent?
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Matt Buckley here this time.  I have always held that one of the prerequisites to being an antique enthusiast, is an appreciation for the tidbits of information that accumulate along the way.  This minutia is prized in an equal measure to the objects.  They become exquisite little nuggets of information that  help to color the image of our history and enrich our understanding of our culture.  As so often is the case, the origins of our customs can be rooted in absurd nuanced behavior from our past.  These are the best tidbits of all.
I encountered just such a factoid recently, while researching a Salem, McIntire school work table.  The tops of the legs have wonderful carved pineapples.  They are a very rare motif in Salem furniture.  I wanted to write a few words on the meaning of the Pineapple as a cultural symbol during the 18th and 19th Century.  I had long understood it to be a symbol of the feast, which had come to express the sense of welcome, good cheer and abundance.  After a quick trip to Google, I had my delightful tidbit of absurd human behavior becoming culture.  I have included the description below, enjoy.

The pineapple has served as both a food and a symbol throughout the human history of the Americas.  Originally unique to the Western Hemisphere, the fruit was a culinary favorite of the fierce Carib Indians who lived on islands in the sea that still bears their name.  In such a gastronomic milieu, reports and later samples of the New World's pineapple--whose ripe yellow pulp literally exploded natural sweetness when chewed--made the fruit an item of celebrity and curiosity for royal gourmet and horticulturist alike.  Despite dogged efforts by European gardeners, it was nearly two centuries before they were able to perfect a hothouse method for growing a pineapple plant.  Thus, into the 1600s, the pineapple remained so uncommon and coveted a commodity that King Charles II of England posed for an official portrait in an act then symbolic of royal privilege -- receiving a pineapple as a gift.

Across the ocean, the pineapple took on other symbolic meanings in England's American colonies.  The colonies were then a land of small, primitive towns and settlements where homes served as the hubs of most community activity.  Visiting was the primary means of entertainment, cultural intercourse and news dissemination.  The concept of hospitality--the warmth, charm and style with which guests were taken into the home--was a central element of the society's daily emotional life.

Creative food display--the main entertainment during a formal home visit--was a means by which a woman declared both her personality and her family's status.  Within the bounds of their family's means, hostesses sought to outdo each other in the creation of memorable, fantasy-like dining room scenes.  At such feasts, tabletops resembled small mountain ranges of tiered, pyramided and pedestaled foodstuffs often drizzled and webbed in sugar, studded with china figurines, festooned with flowers and interwoven with garlands of pine and laurel.  Dinners were extravaganzas of visual delights, novel tastes, new discoveries and congenial conversation that went on for hours.

While fruits in general--fresh, dried, candied and jellied--were the major attractions of the community's appetite and dining practices, the pineapple was the true celebrity.  Its rarity, expense, reputation and striking visual attractiveness made it the ultimate exotic fruit.  It was the pineapple that came to literally crown the most important feasts: often held aloft on special pedestals as the pinnacle of the table's central food mound.

Ships brought in preserved pineapples from Caribbean islands as expensive sweetmeats--pineapple chunks candied, glazed and packed in sugar.  The actual whole fruit was even more costly and difficult to obtain.  Wooden ship travel in the tropics was hot, humid and slow, often rotting pineapple cargoes before they could be landed.  Only the speediest ships and most fortuitous weather conditions could deliver ripe, wholesome pineapples to the confectionery shops of cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Annapolis and Williamsburg.

A hostesses's ability to have a pineapple for an important dining event said as much about her rank as it did about her resourcefulness, given that the street trade in available fresh pineapples could be as brisk as it was prickly.  So sought after were the fruits that colonial confectioners sometimes rented them to households by the day.  Later, the same fruit was sold to other, more affluent clients who actually ate it.  As you might imagine, hostesses would have gone to great lengths to conceal the fact that the pineapple that was the visual apogee of their table display and a central topic of their guests' conversation was only rented.

In larger, well-to-do homes, the dining room doors were kept closed to heighten visitors' suspense about the table being readied on the other side.  At the appointed moment, and with the maximum amount of pomp and drama, the doors were flung open to reveal the evening's main event.  Visitors confronted with pineapple-topped food displays felt particularly honored by a hostess who obviously spared no expense to ensure her guests' dining pleasure.

In this manner, the fruit which was the visual keystone of the feast naturally came to symbolize the high spirits of the social events themselves; the image of the pineapple coming to express the sense of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family affection inherent to such gracious home gatherings.

Whimsical pineapple shapes and interpretations became a ubiquitous form for "fun" food creations and general table decorations throughout the 1700 and 1800s.  There were pineapple-shaped cakes, pineapple-shaped gelatine molds, candies pressed out like small pineapples, pineapples molded of gum and sugar, pineapples made of creamed ice, cookies cut like pineapples and pineapple shapes created by arrangements of other fruits.  There were also ceramic bowls formed like pineapples, fruit and sweet trays incorporating pineapple designs, and pineapple pitchers, cups and even candelabras.

During the last century, the art of food display centered around the pineapple has faded to a quaint craft now largely associated with the making of certain kinds of Christmas decorations. These holiday fabrications are one of the few vestiges of an era when all life literally revolved around the dining room table; a less complicated era that left us the enduring icon of the colonial pineapple, a truly American fruit symbolizing our founding society's abiding commitment to hospitality as well as its fondest memories of families, friends and good times.

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This is what keeps us going - the thrill of the hunt!  As dealers we are always dreaming of making that big discovery, the sleeper that will make a difference. It still happens, as evidenced by the story below. I have made a few through the years, but I’m still waiting for the “big one”.
We did make a nice discovery in an auction box lot last year, maybe not as spectacular as the one in the story, but it was pretty special for us.  While previewing a sale at a small auction house, Matt spotted an extremely important piece of Chinese export porcelain in a box lot.  The lot had been part of the residue from an excellent Boston area estate, the majority of which had gone to one of the big name auction houses. Here was this obscure five-figure piece, mixed in with common, low value porcelain. We knew we on the trail of a good one, now we just needed to bring it in.  Matt sat quietly in the audience at the sale, hoping nobody else had noticed this gem. When it came time to bid he was able to buy the box lot for under $300. The thrill was so intense that later, when he was wrapping up the lot to head home, his hands were still shaking.  We were lucky enough to ascertain the provenance, which was important to the discovery. It doesn’t happen often at auctions these days, they are so well covered, but with some diligence and knowledge mixed with a good dose of luck it is still possible and incredibly exciting. Keep an eye on those box lots!

Here is the related story from Antique and the Arts Online:

Box Lot Painting Discovery Brings $164,500 At Clarke’s

It was a "dream come true" for a local picker at Clarke Auctioneers this past Sunday, October 23, as a rare oil painting on panel by Maurice Prendergast became the star lot of the auction. The picker had dropped off the unassuming and dirty painting among the contents of a box lot at the auction house, according to gallery owner and auctioneer Ronan Clarke.

Nelia Moore, art specialist and auctioneer at Clarke's, "spied a beautifully executed but very dirty painting on panel of a woman in a veil. After dusting it off and studying the painting she spotted the Prendergast signature on the lower right of the panel," he said. The Impressionistic- style painting was executed while the artist was in Paris.

Estimated at $40/60,000, the painting opened for bidding at $20,000 and advanced rapidly between a dealer in the front row and a private buyer in the rear of the gallery. The action slowed as the painting hit $100,000, with the dealer taking his time between advances, while the private buyer continued to bid quickly, until it finally went her way, climbing to $164,500, including premium.

Antiques and the Arts Editorial Content

A blog about Toasters, of all things.
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What ever happened to the good old days when you could buy a toaster and use it for say, 25 years? I just found this web site devoted to wonderful old toasters. Vintage toasters are very popular and there are lots of people who collect them. Some of them are such great retro forms! We had The rounded corner Toastmaster in the kitchen for my entire childhood. It was used every day and is probably still working somewhere. I think we have now gone through 3 toasters in the last 5 years, with only half the number of family members that were using the 1950s Toastmaster of my childhood. My personal favorite is the Toast-O-Lator. It automatically advances the toast through the machine, from one end to the other, while you watch it toasting through a little window in the center. How cool is that? Take a look.

Willard clockmakers and Southern connections
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RESEARCH NOTES   BY Paul J. Foley and Gary R. Sullivan

John Ware Willard documented a number of special order clocks made by Simon Willard and shipped to various parts of the country. In 1801, Simon made a clock for the United States Senate in Washington, DC and in 1826 he made a tower clock for the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, ordered by his friend Thomas Jefferson. In the first and second decade of the nineteenth century both Aaron Willard and his son Aaron Jr. were also shipping their clocks south to be sold through agents in southern states, primarily Virginia and South Carolina.

The Boston, Massachusetts and Petersburg, Virginia partnership of Nash & Munroe (1802-1813) were importing and actively selling Willard clocks in Virginia. This partnership of merchants Paul Nash and William Munroe advertised Willard clocks for sale. In Petersburg they offered a variety of goods including house furniture “imported from Boston.” In June of 1805 they advertised “NASH & MUNROE, Have received from Boston… Two elegant eight-day Clocks, one handsome Time-Piece,…”. Again in October of 1806 they advertised “3 eight day clocks warranted by Aaron Willard….” In May of 1806 they were purchasing looking glasses from John Doggett in Roxbury undoubtedly to be sold in the south.

When the Petersburg, Virginia silversmith and watchmaking partnership of John Bennett and Ebenezer Thomas was dissolved in 1819 one of their listed creditors was clockmaker Aaron Willard Jr. who was owed $500. This significant debt would have been for Willard clocks purchased by them on credit, to be sold in Virginia.. Although dissolved, this business continued as Bennett & Thomas. In December of 1823 they advertised “8-DAY CLOCKS / We have received a few Willard eight day clocks of latest patterns, which are offered low for cash – they will be warranted to perform well.

Willard’s Clocks are well known to need no recommendation, other than the knowledge that they are manufactured by him.”

By this date these imported Willard clocks would probably have been patent timepieces (banjo clocks) or shelf clocks. Both signed and attributed “Roxbury” tall case clocks that were made by the Willards in Boston can be found signed and/or labeled by southern clockmakers like William McCabe and William Mitchell Jr. both of Richmond, Virginia and John McKee of Chester, South Carolina. One Willard tall clock signed by John McKee also has a label inside the case advertising “Common House Clocks, Table / Spring Clocks, and Time pieces of different constructions made by Aaron Willard / Boston.” A William McCabe “Directions” label pasted inside an attributed Aaron Willard tall clock is illustrated below.

Some of the known Willard tall clocks with southern connections are in later-style mahogany cases stamped by cabinetmaker Henry Willard, another son of Aaron.
These Willard clocks with southern connections are being researched to better understand this trade. If any reader has knowledge of a signed or attributed Willard clock with similar southern connections the authors would appreciate the details.

The Metropolitan Show NYC
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I am happy to share with my readers the news that we are signed up for the new Metropolitan Show in New York this January 2011. You are the first to know! The show replaces The American Antiques Show (TAAS) which has been held the last ten years at The metropolitan Pavilion in January. Just as previous shows have been for the benefit of The Folk Art Museum, the preview party for the new Metro Show will benefit the Museum as well.

The new promoter of the show is The Art Fair Company Inc. They are recognized for their very upscale art shows such as the highly regarded SOFA Shows in Chicago, New York and Santa Fe. Along with the fresh new face of the show, their goal is to preserve the core appeal of the TAAS Show, but to add some more contemporary art to the mix. I look forward to seeing some dealers in new categories such as outsider art and photography. I think this will be an excellent addition.
We want to encourage the collectors of folk art and American antiques who have historically attended the show to return in January, but we would like to see some younger faces as well. By adding some contemporary art to the show, I look forward to attracting more 30 and 40 somethings, who may just find that they like these old things that we call “antiques”.

I’ll have to stop calling this an “antiques show”. I certainly don’t want to frighten off any of my loyal collectors of antiques who would be disinclined to attend something called a “fair”. The fact is, younger collectors of art call these events “fairs”, and they would be disinclined to attend something called an “antiques show”. We all need to get together and enjoy the mix of fine art and antiques. So if you are one of my clients, who has never been to a “fair”, please be sure to visit us in January. No matter what they call the event, you can rest assured that you’ll always find some terrific objects in my booth! You’ll not be disappointed!

The Keno Brothers new show
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Leigh and Leslie, the keno Brothers of Antiques Roadshow fame have a new show on Fox. It is called “Buried Treasure”. The new show is similar to, but different than their old PBS show which was called Find!. As with the old show, they travel the country visiting people who have objects that may have significant value. What sets Buried Treasure apart from the old show is the personal component. Leigh told me that they are looking for situations where the value of the objects can potentially make a significant difference in the lives of the owners. The problem with this scenario is that it eliminates a great number of the possible guests and makes it much more difficult to find good houses to visit. I don’t know how they accomplish what they do. The twins are just a few months older than I am, but I wouldn’t dream of trying to fit what they do into a day. I’m tired just thinking about it. In addition to filming the show this summer, Leigh has his auction coming up later this month and Leslie has a sale at Sotheby’s. Good luck with the new show guys.