Friday, May 09, 2014

The Philadelphia Antiques Show

A few weeks ago, I attended The Philadelphia Antiques Show, where I was one of the show's featured speakers. I was aware of the show's reputation as one of our country's premier antiques shows, but I don't think that I realized how good the event was until I spent a few hours wandering the show floor. The show was a treasure trove of Chinese Export porcelain, early American furniture, portrait paintings, scrimshaw, and textiles.

What kept going through my mind as I meandered from booth to booth was how rich our country's decorative arts tradition really is. I think that some of us (myself included) have a tendency to sometimes overlook American antiques in favor of French or British pieces.  And although both England and France have produced sublime furniture, textiles, and arts through the centuries, we shouldn't discount American decorative arts. We too have produced some truly remarkable furniture and objects.

Now that I got that off of my chest, I want to show you what I found to be the highlights of the show:

Dealer Arthur Liverant's booth was understandably a hotbed of activity.  His collection of children's chairs, which you can see in the photo at the very top, was a highlight of the show.  (This was also the booth where Arthur and I made our TV appearances on Good Day Philadelphia.  If you want to see my television debut, click here.)

A Palampore Tree of Life quilt that was made in the Northeastern U.S. in the early 19th century.  The Herrs Antiques of Lancaster, PA.

A child's Hepplewhite chair, New England, circa 1800.  Joan Brownstein, the dealer who is offering this chair, believes that the crewelwork fabric was probably taken from an earlier work.  The charming embroidered images, which include a dog on a pillow and a peacock, must have delighted the child who owned this chair.

Hyland Granby Antiques was offering a number of scrimshaw whale teeth, including this pair whose engravings depicted British maritime scenes.

This rather menacing looking piece is a c. 1780-90 clock made up of 400 blades.  Made by J Y Oliver of Cambridge, England.  This piece was featured in dealer Kelly Kinzle's booth.

I love dogs and porcelain, so this very rare famille rose hunting dog candlestick, one of a pair, naturally caught my eye.  Available through Polly Latham Asian Art.

Thanks to the San Francisco Antiques Show, I am familiar with frequent exhibitor Earle D. Vandekar, which deals mostly in porcelain, prints, and sailors' woolwork pictures.  However, this is the first time that I have seen one of their booths filled with Fornasetti plates alongside antique porcelain. I think it's an interesting combination.

This c. 1807 profile portrait of Simeon Baldwin intrigued me because of its pink background and black and gold star eglomise mat.  Christopher T. Rebollo Antiques.

P.S.- In case you think that antiques dealers aren't a fun-loving group of people, take a look at Arthur Liverant's 2014 calendar, in which he makes an appearance as Superman:

All photos are the copyright of Jennifer Boles for The Peak of Chic


  1. Hello Jennifer, I love all the pieces you have highlighted. I am taken with the charm of that embroidery, and I really want to get a closer look at that knife-clock.

    1. Thank you, Jim. The knife-clock is quite remarkable, and I don't recall ever having seen anything like it. It's too bad that my photo doesn't do the clock justice.
      Have a nice weekend!

  2. Tony Gonzales6:00 PM

    Hi Jennifer,

    The Simeon Baldwin portrait you admired looks like it might be by the well known portraitist Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin (1770–1852).

    Tony Gonzales

  3. I am so glad that you enjoyed the Philadelphia Antique Show. I trace my love of American furniture to the wonderful memories I have of attending the show with my mother and her friends from the time I was 8 or 9.