Antiques News & Info

Wilton’s Militia: Fighting America’s Battles the Old-Fashioned Way

Each April the states of Maine and Massachusetts celebrate Patriot’s Day to commemorate the battles and skirmishes that began our fight for independence on April 19, 1775. That “shot heard around the world” mobilized local militia throughout the colonies and today brings to mind the forgotten, often nameless farmers and shopkeepers who banded together...

What’s Cooking at Plimoth Plantation

New England was home to the original Thanksgiving Day feast. That first celebration after the harvest of 1621 probably wasn’t about turkey, Aunt Sadie’s sweet potatoes, or time-honored recipes like creamed peas with onions, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. So, I wondered as I drove to Plimoth Plantation, just what kind of cooking was...

Victorian Cameos

Throughout history royal figures have set the tone for fashion. Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed wearing cameos, and Catherine the Great maintained an impressive collection of them. The enthusiasm for cameos in the French court of Napoleon I saw a liberal use of carved gems as jewelry. (more…)

The William Cullen Bryant Homestead – Cummington, Massachusetts

William Cullen Bryant’s Homestead is nestled in the sunlit hills of Cummington, Massachusetts overlooking the Westfield River Valley. A staunch conservationist, Bryant was integrally linked to its farmland, forests, and streams, which inspired the great majority of his poetry. Today, the Homestead is a property of the Trustees of the Reservations, under whose stewardship...

The Timeless Designs of William Morris

Textiles play a vital role in decorating our homes. How different a house would look without rugs, quilts, pillows, and gorgeous fabrics on chairs, couches, ottomans, and hanging from windows. It was William Morris who brought an expanded understanding of how textiles could beautify a home’s interior. Morris’ designs were a dramatic contrast to...

The State Department Rooms

One of the most exceptional collections of Americana is, in fact, one of the least known. Yet, the Collection of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the United States Department of State in Washington, DC retains some of the finest examples of American paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, and furniture from the golden age of American...

The Reincarnation of MoMA

When the sleeping giant that is the Museum of Modern Art re-opened its eyes last month – after a three-year, $425 million dollar re-design – the city of New York was abuzz. (more…)

The Mark Twain House – A house with soul in Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford’s historic Asylum Hill section is a priority destination for those who follow the paths of literary genius, for here is the location of author Mark Twain’s primary residence from 1874 to 1891. These were the years of his greatest productivity, when he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and...

The Magic of the Magic Lantern

First, what is not a magic lantern? It is not the boat-shaped lamp using oil and frequently and erroneously referred to as a magic lantern. Such incorrect references are usually simply a mistake in terminology. (more…)

The Boston Tea Party

By the middle of the 17th century, tea began to arrive in the port of London aboard the East India Company’s ships. The exotic beverage was costly and in the beginning, enjoyed only by the upper classes. At first, the China Drink or Tee, was taken as a major social occasion in the drawing...

The BIG Price Guides: How Good Are They?

In the storehouses of our collected past, the answers to two key questions separate the treasure from the junk: What is it? and What is it worth? For decades, amidst the burgeoning drive to collect, publishers have hurled themselves directly at these questions with the price guide. Perched atop the annual price guide pile...

The 1795 Giles Warner House at Hardwick Winery

Winding rural roads with wonderful old farmsteads are ubiquitous in Massachusetts, and are part of the pleasure of a visit. As I drove north of Ware, Massachusetts past venerable stone walls shaded by massive maples and oaks, I marveled at the old places I passed. When Giles E. Warner built his country center chimney...

Reflecting Life The Social Origin of Mirrors

When Robert Burns wrote these lines he was thinking of character, but had he lived in the early seventeenth century, some 200 years earlier, he would probably have been thinking of appearance. Living as we do in a society of the self and of self-image, it is hard for us to imagine a life...

Quimper Pottery

Quimper (pronounced kem-pair), located in northwestern France in the province of Brittany, has been a pottery town since the days when the area was part of the Roman Empire. Eventually settled by Celts from what is now Wales, Brittany did not officially become part of France until 1532, relatively late by European standards, and...

Eighteenth Century Figures – Theater, Dance & Porcelain

Lover’s of continental porcelain need to take notice, as a cultural spotlight shines on a single gallery in the Morgan Memorial Building of The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. This jewel box of an exhibition is small in size, but significant and visually stunning. The rationale of the show is to examine the impact...

Country Home of Electra Havemeyer Webb

Built in 1847 as a farmhouse on the shores of Lake Champlain, The Brick House was a wedding gift to James Watson Webb and Electra Havemeyer Webb from his parents, Dr. William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb in 1913. Mrs. Webb expanded the house in 1913 and again in 1919, using the New York...

260 Years, One Family – The Fairbanks House

Built in 1637 – or thereabouts – just footsteps away from an Indian Trail that became the Boston Post Road and later was named East Street, Fairbanks House is one of the most important historical attractions in Dedham, Massachusetts. The property is significant not only because it is the oldest surviving wood frame house...