Thursday, November 15, 2007

Excellent Advice from Bunny Williams





I recently read an article (New York Times, I think) about Bunny Williams and her new book Bunny Williams' Point of View. In it, Williams said that people should visit the crème de la crème of antiques and furniture stores in order to train one's eye. The merchandise may completely be out of your price range, but you're getting an education while you're browsing. I think Williams is quite right.

One website that I like to visit from time to time is that of Kentshire Galleries, the venerable English antique shop located in Manhattan. Of course there are no prices listed, only colored dots by the item that indicate a general price range ($10,000 and below, $10,000 to $50,000, and $50,000 and up). Yes, the dots can be a little intimidating, but just to be able to look through such a wonderful assortment of furniture, porcelain, and accessories- it's a virtual feast for the eye and the mind. And the great thing about this whole process is that when I do see something that I like in a local antiques shop that is in my price range, I will be ready to buy with confidence.




A pair of Chinese Quing Dynasty cloisonne elephants, c. late 18thc- 19th c.)


Pair of Italian Painted Nubian Pedestals, c. 1790


Pair of Art Deco glass and bronze screens, c. 1910


Pair of Regency faux painted bamboo benches, c. 1810


Pair of George III Adam brackets, c. 1770

Image at top: Regency Gilded and Faux Marble Chiffonier, c. 1805

(All images courtesy of Kentshire Galleries)

17 comments:

  1. Jennifer, those elephants are to die for! Thanks for another great resource.

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  2. Such good advice and beautiful finds!

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  3. Courtney- I knew you'd like those elephants :)

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  4. Great advice to train the eye. I love the Art Deco glass and bronze screens. Good finds and your eyes are very highly trained Peak!

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  5. Anonymous11:45 AM

    On the other hand, not even an antiques shop can always get the details correct. The screens supposedly date from 1910, but are labeled "Art Deco"? The Art Deco movement wasn't even codified until the mid 1920s. Either the date or the style are misidentified.

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  6. That is great advice from a master. I was pouring over "An Affair with a House" last night and need to get her latest book.

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  7. I couldn't agree more with Bunny! Thanks for sharing these pieces, I love those elephants too!

    ~Kate

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  8. Anon- I noticed that too and wondered how they could call it Deco, unless of course it was not from 1910.

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  9. Really, isn't that what museums are for? I'm sure dealers everywhere are just tickled puce by the very idea.

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  10. HOBAC- Oh definitely! I would say museums first and foremost, but antiques shops can be a good source of information too (depending on the dealer, of course).

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  11. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Just to be a contrarian: I think it's just as important to train one's eye to spot the great finds among the junk at Target, the local dollar store, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.

    -pt

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  12. PT- Absolutely! Who doesn't love a good (and stylish) deal??!!!

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  13. That really is fantastic advice. But if you don't feel comfortable perusing antique stores that well above your price range, check out 1st dibs on a regular basis, that's what I do. I've learnt so much about specific designers and periods (and pricing) just by looking at their new stock weekly.

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  14. That is how I'm learning my job ..By looking at others antiques ,no matter what prices they are.
    I began to learn in an auction house that was the best

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  15. Another way to do so Peak of Chic, is to buy auction catalogs. I have some great ones. William S. Paley, Betsey Whitney, Jacqueline Onassis and other notable estates. I have to say, the most educated collector I have seen is Betsey (Mrs. John Hay Whitney) Whitney. Her taste was perfect. Perhaps we cannot afford what she was able to amass, but we can learn the styles. After all reproductions are available.

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  16. Halcyon- Also excellent advice! And you're right about Betsey Whitney!

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