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I try to keep you all updated with news and information from the world of antiques and collectables, so please come and visit often.
- Judith Miller
- 04 Feb 2016, 6:02 PM
My regular pilgrimage to Chicago took place not too long ago. It’s become a family tradition – and a fun way to start the New Year.
At -25°C with windchill, it was blisteringly cold. The Chicago River was frozen solid…
But I had really good reasons to want to brave these freezing temperatures.
One of them was the ‘Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’ concert, which took place at the United Center. You may be surprised to read that I’m a huge Springsteen fan - I’ve been to more than 50 of his concerts!
And every time I’m in the windy city, I visit one of my favourite haunts - The Art Institute of Chicago.
This world-famous museum houses some of my favourite art and design pieces.
This is a painting that will surely be familiar to a lot of people. Painted by Grant Wood, ‘American Gothic’ was first exhibited at the Art Institute in Chicago. It won a $300 prize and unsurprisingly, instant fame for Grant.
The artist found inspiration for this piece when he travelled to Eldon, a small town in his hometown Iowa. A little wood farmhouse with an oversized window made in the ‘Carpenter Gothic’ style caught his eye.
Using his sister and dentist as models for the farmer holding the pitchfork and his wife, he elongated their faces to mimic the shape of the farmhouse window.
David Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’ is another piece that I never tire of seeing. Hopper admitted that subconsciously, he created a piece that alludes to ‘the loneliness of a large city’, but that this was never his original intention.
The Institute of Art also has in its collections furniture from American maker Wendell Castle. I get asked quite often who my favourite designer or object is, and it’s a really tough question to answer. I don’t hesitate in saying that Wendell Castle is one of my favourites, but picking one item or designer is really like asking me who of my children/grandchildren I love the most!
The work that he has produced during his six-decade-long career (he passed away in 2013) is fascinating. Many of his pieces are achieved in such a unique way. Pieces of wood are first stacked and glued together to create solid blocks. These are then sculpted into organic shapes that are both artistic and functional in their nature.
The following Wendell Castle pieces were featured in previous price guides:
A sculptural single-drawer desk, with bird’s eye maple top on fibreglass base.
A walnut coffee table, with tapering scalloped top on stack-laminated and cantilevered corkscrew base. 1980
A stack-laminated walnut receptionist’s desk.
One of Castle’s most noteworthy pieces is a chest of drawers finely carved to resemble cloth. Unfortunately, my phone died before I had a chance to take a picture, so you’re going to have to use your imaginations to visualise it!
Before I sign off for today, I’d like to remind you to watch this space for my new Antiques Roadshow dates for 2016, so stay tuned!
[Images of Wendell Castle's furniture from Rago Arts and Auction Center. 'Nighthawks' and 'American Gothic' from Wikipedia Commons.]
- 29 Oct 2015, 10:31 AM
Where: W.R. Harvey & Co. Antiques, 86 Corn Street, Witney
Exhibition: 7-29th November 2015
Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 10am - 5.30pm (from 8 Nov onwards)
Opening: Saturday, 7th November 2015, 3pm
I will officially open the autumn exhibition, ‘The Gentleman’s Library’, at
The selling exhibition will feature a wide range of Georgian, Regency and earlier furniture and accessories.
W.R. Harvey & Co at 3.00pm on Saturday, 7th November 2015.
The exhibition will provide a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the Gentleman in the classic period of English cabinetmaking, the late 17th, 18th and early 19thC England, as glimpsed through the furniture and accoutrements in the inner sanctum - the library.
Pieces have been sourced over the past year, each being a fine example of their kind and will greatly appeal to anyone looking to furnish their home with truly everlasting examples of fine English cabinetmaking.
Highlights include a superb ‘breakfront’ library bookcase attributed to Gillows of Lancaster and London constructed in mahogany and satinwood and dating from the reign of George III.
It is constructed in eleven sections for transportation and priced at £150,000.
The exhibition will feature many more items, including a number of desks, bureaus, chairs, tables, sets of shelves and accessories.
See you there!
For more info, please visit http://www.wrharvey.com/
- 09 Oct 2015, 5:24 PM
On 22 September, I was invited to Lorfords in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, to attend a press event as their celebrity guest.
The event was part of a bloggers' tour in London organised by the unstoppable Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines and Lorfords. I was greeted by a gaggle of enthusiastic bloggers who all have an unrivalled passion for design and antiques.
The day kicked off with a tour of Lorfords, located at Babdown Airfield.
We then sat down for a well-deserved lunch, surrounded by the spectacular antiques on display.
At the end of the day, the bloggers chose their favourite piece from the Lorfords showroom. Here are some of their chosen pieces:
Louisa (Humphrey Munson kitchens) chose a collection of early 20thC architectural diagrams.
Cheryl (In Detail Interiors) fell for a 19thC butcher's table.
Lynn (Decorartsnow) loved these 19thC French artists' palettes.
Flo (Modenus) couldn't resist this Modernist nautilus shape centre seat.
Heather (Heather Jenkinson Design) was rather fond of this 1970s Milo Baughman console table.
Maureen (Modecor) chose this 1920s 'French Flapper' oil on canvas, signed M Bourgeois.
The Antiques Diva herself - pictured here with a 19thC Regency daybed.
And last but not least: here I am with a 1920s stone boxer!
Fortunately, the bloggers didn't go home empty-handed as they were each given a Miller's Field Guide. Lucky them!
- Judith Miller
- 18 Sep 2015, 6:47 PM
When & where: September 25-27, RDS Main Hall
Admission: €10, available at the door.
More info and full programme of lectures available online at www.iada.ie.
Mark Hill and I will head a packed programme which has been organised to celebrate the golden jubilee of the annual fair that manages to combine contemporary design history with the best of Irish antiques.
Over 15,000 people are expected to discover the delights of Irish antiques at the 50th Irish Antique Dealers Fair at the RDS.
The Fair, the second oldest of its kind in the world, was founded by Louis O'Sullivan at a time when most antiques were being exported from the country and it has been acknowledged as the springboard for the success of the indigenous Irish antiques industry.
A special celebratory preview night will be opened by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, on Thursday, 24 September.
"For the past 50 years, people have been attending the fair to discover something different, that magical piece that can make a home,” said George Stacpoole, chairman of the Irish Antique Dealers Association (IADA), who has been present at every event so far.
"We have a carefully selected a blend of antique and contemporary exhibitors, allowing all ages to focus on the unique yet affordable design that appeals to them.”
A host of lectures have been organised around the fair, with Mark Hill and I speaking about our favourite things and also presenting our best finds at the fair.
Julian Radcliffe will present a fascinating talk on Fake and Fences – protecting the dealer and their clients, while Ib Jorgenson will present on his life and times as a fashion designer and art dealer.
Other topics covered over 13 lectures include Irish Country House Sales, changing trends in jewellery, Irish furniture, what makes diamonds sparkle and the cult of mourning jewellery in the Georgian era.
See you there!
- Judith Miller
- 01 Sep 2015, 5:41 PM
It’s been a busy summer with the Antiques Roadshow but now the sun is waning and it seems the wet weather is well and truly back making for a rather damp start to autumn. Luckily, there are plenty of events coming up to distract us from these cooler climes. I hope we may meet on one (or many) of these dates!
The Antiques Roadshow continues in only a few days on 10th September at Lyme Park in Stockport and in Harrogate on 28th October – have a good rummage in your cupboards, attics and basements and come along! You never know what you may discover.
I’ll be joining my good friend, Mark Hill, for a Show & Tell event at Henry Wood Hall on 15th September which is free. Turn up with family heirlooms, household treasures and car boot bargains for inspection, free advice and valuation. More details here .
I’m looking forward to delivering talks at the Dublin Antiques Show (24th – 26th September) and, of course, attending the NEC Antiques for Everyone – do visit the Miller’s stand from 18th – 22nd November at the NEC Birmingham.
Finally, I hope you may join me at the Chorleywood Festival on 13th November for a talk and valuation evening. Details to follow.
This autumn, I’ll be updating the blog with further details of upcoming events, round-ups of fairs and talks and much more. Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks to hear all about the next Antiques Roadshow!
Don’t forget you can catch up with all things Miller’s antiques on Twitter at @millersantiques and you can pre-order your copy of Miller’s Antiques Handbook & Price Guide 2016 – 2017 online here !