Noonmark Antiques

James Madison's Montpelier

Charles HammellComment

James Madison's Montpelier

James Madison's view of the Blue Ridge Mountains

It is always exciting to sell an antique item. It is especially exciting to sell a piece to an institution because we know that many more people will have the opportunity to observe an important piece of history.

Noonmark Antiques had within its collection, a pair of matching fan back  brace back Windsor chairs by Philadelphia maker William Cox. The chairs were in superb condition and one was branded “Cox” underneath the seat.

A few years ago, we received a call from Grant Quertermous, then Assistant Curator at Montpelier, James Madison’s home in Virginia. Grant  purchased the fan back Windsor chairs for Montpelier. Since that time, we have been curious to see the chairs in their new home. Our trip to Virginia provided us the opportunity to see the chairs. Charlie and I were very excited and could not wait to begin the tour. We went through the downstairs, room by room, no chairs. I began to steel myself for disappointment as I made my way to the second floor. Maybe the chairs were not part of the exhibition. But then, in “Mr. Madison’s Room,” right beside the bed where he uttered his last words, was one of the fan back chairs! What a special honor it was to see our chair here in James Madison’s room.

We continued on with the tour into Mr. Madison’s library and there was the other fan back Windsor, in front of the fireplace. I had the urge to rearrange it, after all I knew this chair so well and wanted to show off its lovely proportions. But, I resisted and finished the tour.

Our guide offered a very comprehensive explanation of Madison’s life, maybe because there were fewer people here than at the other two mansions we saw. Montpelier has only been open to the public since 2008.

Back porch

Dolley Madison was a larger than life figure in my young mind when I first read about her as a young child. It was certainly an honor to see her beautiful home.

Montpelier had several owners before it became open to the public. William DuPont purchased the home in 1901. Extensive renovations were made to the house only to be demolished when the home was purchased to be displayed in its original form.


Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

Charles HammellComment

When I was 8 years old, I read biographies that I found in the school library of famous Americans. Thomas Jefferson's story always resonated with me. I was intrigued by his inventions and the stone tunnel that ran underneath his home, Monticello. I finally fulfilled a bucket list dream and took a visit to Virginia and Monticello.

 A shuttle bus climbs the hill to bring us to our destination.  No photos permitted inside the house, I am sorry to say. I was hoping to hear in detail and to see the many inventions Jefferson created. On this particular day, our docent focused on the enslaved people who worked on the plantation. I will need to find a book on Jefferson's prolific genius to learn more.

This post card by photographer Charles Shoffner shows the entry hall to receive guests. The guests would have been startled, as I was, at the hanging dispaly of Natve American artifacts, maps, paintings, and tables with dinosaur bones for them to examine.

We toured the house and heard cursory explanations of some of the inventions. Once the upper house tour was complete we were urged to continue our visit on the grounds and photography was then permitted. This is the underground kitchen.

Thomas Jefferson's kitchen contained a stew stove. A brick counter with 8 openings over charcoal fires enabled the cooks to more carefully tend to the French delicacies they created here.

The celebrated dumb waiter. An invention I have waited a lifetime to see! It is a narrow wood lined opening that runs up the fireplace wall into the dining room from the wine cellar. It is just wide enough for a wine bottle. A trusted servant loaded the wine and the butler or family member retrieved the bottle.

The ice house is 16 feet deep. It enabled the Jefferson staff to preserve food or create ice cream, a French creation.

The underground tunnel/passage which runs directly beneath the house and out to the wings where the servants worked. It was quite cool in the tunnel and I found myself retreating there several times throughout our visit. It was a hive of activety at one time.

Window in the underground tunnel.

The vista from Monticello. The mansion is perched on a little hill and has stunning views of the valley below.

There were 2 other tours we could have joined. One was the garden tour and the other dealt with slavery issues. The day was very hot so we declined. If I return, I would visit in the Spring. There is a good bit of walking involved. I could spend an entire day here. I do not recommend bringing small children.Strollers are not permitted in the house. Children ages 8 and older would probably enjoy the tours and grounds.

George Washington's Mount Vernon

Charles HammellComment

George Washington was a personal hero for me. I grew up not far from Valley Forge Park. My parents took my brother and I there when I was about five years old and we saw the log cabins, headquarters, and frothy white dogwood trees. When I was in High School, I performed the Ballad of Valley Forge in 1976 on a well maintained lawn within the Park with the Pottstown Symphony. As I looked out from my spot on stage while holding my viola, I wondered what it might have been like during Washington’s time.

Later, I learned, George Washington led a rag tag group of men on retreat from the Battle of Brandywine, right through the very neighborhood where I grew up and reconnoitered at the Antes Farm in New Hanover, Pennsylvania.

I was thrilled by Washington’s heroic crossing of the Delaware and his defeat of the British at Trenton. Later, as an antiques dealer, I was intrigued by his relationship with Richard Stockton and poet wife Annis Boudinot, the owners of Morven in Princeton, New Jersey. This was due to a painting of their son Richard Stockton which I had on consignment. I also bought and sold through Noonmark Antiques a painting of the Hasbrouck House, Washington’s headquarters at Newburgh, New York.

To me, George Washington belonged to our region – the Philadelphia, Valley Forge, Trenton areas. But, I knew, he had a home in Virginia and I decided it was time for me to see where his heart belonged.

Before we made the trip to Mount Vernon, I looked up the Mount Vernon website. Spoiler alert. You can see a virtual tour of the entire interior of the house. It really is quite helpful especially since I later learned, no photography permitted within the house and we spent less than five minutes in each room.

The virtual tour helped prepare me for the bold colors in some of the rooms. Washington’s favorite color was green and the brilliant verdigris dining room took my breath away. Another room is painted bright robin’s egg blue. These colors were the actual original colors of the rooms. Bright colors were a sign of wealth. Since Washington was a wealthy farmer and he actually owned five farms, his color choices are understandable.

Photographs of post cards by Hal Conroy

The tours at Mount Vernon are well organized. Visitors are assigned a tour time. There are kind helpful guides with cheery attitudes in spite of the heat and humidity to direct you to your destination. Each room had its own docent and although brief, the presentations were succinct and knowledgeable. There is an opportunity mid tour to stand on the back porch and gaze at the mighty Potomac River. Mount Vernon is perfectly situated to gain the best vantage point. After the tour, there was a choice- wander the grounds or join more tours. We chose to wander separately. I walked down the terraced steps to the wharf and enjoyed the cool breeze off the Potomac.

Then, I made my way to the Washington burial site, the inspiration for many early needlework samplers.

If you go, wear comfortable shoes and bring drinking water. There is a lot of walking. I did 13,000 steps that day. Children ages 5 and over may enjoy this trip. Children under 5 may get tired of the walk and strollers are not permitted in the mansion tour. There were many visitors even on a very hot day in 90 + temperatures. I would return in the Spring and allow 2 days for my visit next time. There is a muesum, 6-8 theatres that show related films, a distillery and grist mill, and the grounds themselves which include gardens, beside the mansion tour.

Found this fellow as I descended the stairs to the wharf.

A painting of Mount Vernon at the Whitney Museum in NYC, by Herman Trunk, Jr. 1932.





The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part 2

Charles HammellComment

I had a few free hours so I took a quick subway ride to the Met. This time, my plan was to try to see every room in the American Wing. Ha! I did not get very far. I spent too much time reading the description cards, which are really interesting. Most folks fly through the rooms but I want to learn while I am there, so I take my time. When I was a child and teeneager, I loved opulent things. Our High School American Culture Seminar took a trip to Boston back in 1975 and I was intrigued by the beautiful items in the various house museums. I would have loved  the trip I took to the Met this time. Here is a sample of the beauty:

Grecian Sofa, American Wing circa 1820-1825

Look at these legs! Imagine having this incredible sofa in your living room!

Lannuier Sideboard, American Wing, circa 1812-1819

Always good to examine a piece by Lannuier up close and personal.

Herter Brothers Arm Chair, American Wing, 1875

This stunning chair needs to be seen in person. An identical pair of chairs were placed in the White House during Ulysses S. Grant's term in 1875.

Severin Roesen, "Still Life of Fruit" circa 1855, American Wing

Astonishing display of fruit available in America during this time. Always good to study Roesen's style,technique, and breathtaking lovliness.




The Metropolitan Museum of Art , Part 1

Charles HammellComment

Well, Noonmark Antiques became a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It made sense. Requested donations at the door are $25. a person ( although, you may pay anything you like, really!!! so there's no reason not to go!) I paid $50. for my daughter and I on Monday, and after a few days I  decided, "Why not become a member?" For a $100. membership, you get all kinds of benefits. You can bring a guest for free and get discounts in the restauarants and gift shops. Well alrighty then!

I went specifically on Thursday to become a member and then, with my newly gained sense of belonging, I decided to just wander around in rooms I had never seen instead of making a bee line for the Americana Wing and visible storage area, like I always do. Below are a few examples of remarkable objects and rooms within the Met Museum.

Tin Glazed Instand of Apollo and the Muses, 1584

Tin Glazed Inkstand of a Madman Distilling His Brains, c. 1600

Sampling of a Period Room

Remarkable marble console table. There were a pair.

Drop Front Desk ,circa 1787, attirbuted to no less than six artisans including Wedgwood and Sevres.

to be continued........





Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts Including Americana Sale at Christies June 15, 2017, Auction Highlights

Charles HammellComment

This was a treat for any ephemera enthusiast. I am glad I have the catalogue so that I can go back at my leisure and read through the offerings. Below are a few of special interest to me.

Lot 241 A 1777 broadside giving an account  of George Washington and his troops crossing the Delaware River and the ensuing battle in Trenton. The illustrated woodcut of a Continental soldier is quite thrilling. Estimate $40,000. -$60,000. Sold for $140,000.

Lot #275 The Earliest Obtainable Full Printing of The Star Spangled Banner in the Daily Federal Republican, Georgetown, September 1814. Somehow, I thought I had a shot at this. The Star Spangled Banner is dear to my heart. I wrote my High School term paper on this topic. It was my first research project. Hope springs eternal. I thought , possibly, this might pass under the radar. Oh no. It started at $2,000. and increment by increment ( which took about 15 minutes in hushed silence) ended at $135,000.Well done!

Lot #413 Coffee Anyone? A complete copy of the first herbal written and published in America by Johann Christoph Sauer Germantown, PA. The coffee page was posted in 1770. Folks cared about their coffee as much then as they do now. Estimate $6,000. -$9,000. Sold for $7,500.


Lot # 366 How to pickle barberries from The First Known Published Cookbook in America 1796. After reading this description, it hardly seems worth the trouble, don't you think? Estimate $5,000-$8,000.

Lot # 330 The Signature of Button Gwinnett, the Rarest of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Gwinnett emigrated to America and as a merchant, eventually settled in Georgia. He became interested in the movement toward independence, attended a meeting, and was named to the Continental Congress. He was present for the vote and signed the Declaration of Independence.Estimate $100,000. - $150,000. Sold $319,500.

Lot # 432 See above for description. Sold for $607,500.



The Metropolitan Opera Guild Collection at Christie's, NYC June 15, 2017

Charles HammellComment

Below are some highlights from the auction of items from the Metropolitan Opera Guild Collection at Christie's, NYC on June 15, 2017. I did not win Stravinsky's gold writing instrument ($1500.) though I did bid.

I heard through the grapevine that these were the last of the items available through the Guild. They were sold to raise money for the opera. Check out the catalogue. There were some amazing items sold today.

Lot # 51 A letter from Wolfgang Mozart to his father Leopold, explaining why he has not come to visit because of his very full performance schedule. The letter includes a list of concert dates and locations. Estimate $200,000.-$300,000. Sold for $260,000.

Lot #66 Franz Schubert Piano Sonata in A flat Major. Eight pages of manuscript and autographed by the composer. Estimate $350,000- $500,000. Sold for $390,000.

Lot #85 1 page manuscript of an ending to "Das Rheingold" one of the earliest bits of musical material introducing the public to "The Ring Cycle." Gives me goosebumps just to think....

Estimate $30,000. -$50,000. Sold for $75,000.

Afterwards, I happened upon our Auctioneer as she was being photographed for publicity. I told her that she is now my new favorite Auctioneer. She is friendly, interesting, bothered to know a bit about what she was offering, beguiling, and made personal contact with Internet bidders. She created a sense of in the moment reality with bidders from around the world right there in the room with us. In a word, Delightful. I failed to catch her name but when I find out, I will post it here.






American Art at the Swann Auction Gallery, June 15, 2017

Charles HammellComment

"Theshing Grain" by Dale Nichols,watercolor and gouache, 1946

Another warm day in NYC. I was getting cabin fever from avoiding the heat. I decided to check out the Swann Auction Gallery, which I've frequently seen advertised in the antiques newspapers. The address is 104 East 25th Street, a short distance from where we are staying.

The gallery is on the 5th & 6th floors of the building. There were a number of American works available, incuding a piece by Glackens ( which you can see on my Noonmark Face Book page) Ralph Blakelock, and the above painting, which was my favorite. I discovered later that apparently, this was a choice piece for Swann advertisers-they used it for their publicity post card.

The auction begins at 1:30 on June 15, 2017.

Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts Including Americana Sale at Christies June 15, 2017

Charles HammellComment

One of the perks of temporarily living in NYC is easy access to events. Today, I walked a mile in sweltering heat to Christies to preview the Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts Including Americana Sale on June 15. In particular, I hoped to see Lot #241, a broadside from 1777 relating the story of Washington’s victory in Trenton after crossing the Delaware. This has always been a thrilling tale to me- I couldn’t wait to see how folks felt about such an occurrence in 1777.

A small group of people were occupying the area I wished to peruse. I moved to another portion of the auction and patiently waited for them to move on. They did not move on. Sigh. One of the curators took me under her wing and informed me that the owner of the collection to be auctioned, Eric C. Caren, was in the group. Oh! But, Mr. Caren was not the center of attention. I had to ask who the predominant speaker was and found that it was Sir Harold Evans, of England, who had been editor in chief of The London Times and the Sunday Times, came to America and became editorial director of US News & World Report, the New York Daily News and The Atlantic Monthly. Oh! The curator urged me to join the group. But, there was a photographer accompanying the entourage and my hair was not done, so I declined.

If you have a moment, check out the Christies catalog online for the June 15 auction. I think history buffs will find the selections fascinating. Some of these include articles on the Salem Witch Trials, The Effects of Liquor on Native Americans, Repeal of the Stamp Act, Benedict Arnold’s Treason- on and on.

I plan to attend this auction and will post some highlights.


New York Ceramics and Glass Fair 2017

Charles HammellComment

This intimate show on 73rd Street and 2nd Avenue is located at the Bohemia Hall. I believe this is my 4th year as an attendee and I am always thrilled with the selection and scope of this gem of a show. Items for sale range from ancient to contemporary.

Robert Hunter led a presentation on this hard paste porcelain punch bowl, recently discovered in Philadelphia. It appears to be the key that unlocks a mystery.

Paul Vandekar's lovely booth

Striking display by Jill Fenichell

Hideaki Miyamura

Astonishingly beautiful pieces from Polly Latham

From above- Jeff and Bernadette Evans

Another birds eye view from the 5th floor


Winter Antiques Show 2017

Charles HammellComment

Here are some highlights from the 63rd annual Winter Antiques Show 2017. Proceeds benefit the East Side House Settlement. The show offers a combination of antique and contemporary items for sale. Dealers are eager to chat with you about their outstanding merchandise-don't hesitate to ask questions! The loan exhibition features items on loan from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. The show is open until January 29.

Images from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum at Williamsburg:

Joannes Spitler Blanket Chest

John Rasmusssen Berks County Almshouse

Portsmouth, New Hampshire dressing table

Baby in a Red Chair

Dealer's Booths at the Show-

David Schorsch

Kelly Kinzle

Kelly Kinzle

Galerie St. Etienne

Keshishian - wall hanging

Bertoia Sculpture

Grace and Elliott Snyder - Spectacular Rug

Old Hope Antiques

Old Hope Antiques



Important American Folk Art from the Ralph and Susanne Katz Collection ( a few more highlights)

Charles HammellComment

This auction was of great interest to me. I made sure I was there to see it in person. Here are a few more highlights:

Lot # 5094 Ammi Phillips - Mary Ann Steenback Gale SOLD for $45,000.

Lot # 5122 Zedekiah Belknap - Young Girl Wearing a White Dress and Gold Beads Passed at $28,000.

Lot # 5139 Painted Fireboard from Moses Martin House, Salem, New York, circa 1830 SOLD at $80,000.

Lot # 5150 Thaomas Chambers - The Gennesee Falls at Rochester, New York circa 1855 Passed at $14,000.


Important American Folk Art from the Ralph and Susanne Katz Collection

Charles HammellComment

January is the time of year when New York City pulls out all the stops for great auctions and shows. Sotheby's will hold the Ralph and Suzanne Katz Folk Art Collection on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 10:00 am. Other auctions will be held at Sotheby's that weekend,but, this particular auction caught my eye. Here are a few of my favorite things:

Lot # 5143 View of the Berks County Almshouse by John Rasmussen ( 1828-1895), est $80,000-$120,000. SOLD at $420,000.

Lot # 5007 American Gameboard, est $3,000-$5,000. SOLD at $2,000.

Lot # 5150 The Gennesee Falls at Rochester, NY by Thomas Chambers, est $20,000. - $30,000. Passed at $14,000.

Lot 5029 Carved Stone Ram ( with two lambs), est $2,500- $3,500.SOLD at $5,500.

Lot # 5025 Portrait of a Dog wirh Greek Temple in the Background, 19th Century, est $10,000-$15,000. SOLD at $7,000.

Lot # 5038 Egret Decoy by Gus Rorkler, early 20th Century, est $400.-$600. Ha! This was my favorite. Thought I could sneak in with a nice low bid. Nope. SOLD at $3,200.

Lot # 5134 "Watermelon" American School Collage Late 19th/early 20th Century, est $800. - $1,200. SOLD at $1,300.

Lot # 5010 Embroidered Wool Coverlet, Connecticut River Valley, circa 1825, est $15,000 -$20,000. Passed at $9,000.

Lot # 5024 Carved Wood Sculpture of a Dog, Ohio, circa 1845, est $15,000.-$25,000. Passed at $11,000.

Lot #5138 Detail, Painted Linen Overmantle, New York State, circa 1840, est $12,000- $15,000. SOLD at $35,000.

Lot #5011 Hooked Rug, est $8,000.-$12,000.SOLD at $4,800.

And so much more! You can see the entire catalog online at Sotheby'

See you Saturday morning!


History Rocks: Interpreting the Archaeological Discoveries in Moorestown, New Jersey

Charles HammellComment

You might know that the Quakers were the first European people to settle Moorestown in the 1680’s. And perhaps you know that the Lenni Lenape Nation called this region home prior to European colonization.

But, did you know that people groups before the Lenni Lenape travelled throughout New Jersey and made camps here in Moorestown?

We do not know exactly who these people were but an exciting discovery here in Moorestown suggests that the earliest people who travelled here had contact with the Adena people of Ohio. The Adena populated the region from Ohio, spreading east to Pennsylvania and Maryland, north to New York and south to Kentucky. The Adena promoted a culture that was very particular about proper burial presentation. They constructed large mounds of earth to mark the placement of their dead and buried personal objects within these mounds.

How do we know that the Adena people had a connection with Moorestown? The exciting discovery made in Moorestown involves an archaeological survey which took place four years ago. The dig was led by Ilene Grossman Bailey, Senior Archaeologist at Richard Grubb & Associates. The team found pieces of silt stone pipe fragments indigenous to the Adena people. Why are these fragments  in Moorestown, New Jersey? What significance did these pipes have to the people who owned them? Possibly, the Adena may have traded the silt stone pipes with other people groups or perhaps the Adena themselves may have briefly camped here. Maybe other people groups made copies after seeing the Adena’s pipes. In any case, the discovery is an exciting one. This exhibition features relics from the past discovered in various locations in Moorestown including the pipe fragments.

Special thanks to professional archaeologist Jack Cresson for lending a substantial part of his collection to the exhibit and providing a flint knapping demonstration on the opening day of the exhibition. Thank you to Dr. Gregory Lattanzi, New Jersey State Archaeologist Curator for his assistance in identifying and interpreting the recent finds and his instructive presentation at the Society’s October General Meeting. Thanks to the New Jersey State Museum for the loan of early tubular pipes to compare and contrast at the exhibit.

The Historical Society of Moorestown is open every Tuesday from 1-4 pm and the second and fourth Sundays of each month from 1-3 pm. There will be a free Holiday Open House on Friday December 2, 2016 from 5:30 -8:00 pm. The exhibit will be open to the public.

Smith Cadbury Mansion, 12 High Street Moorestown, NJ 08057

Map of Moorestown indicating locations of early artifact discoveries

Corresponding display case to the above map

Laurel Creek section of Moorestown

RCA section of Moorestown

The pipe fragments which inspired the exhibit

Pipes on loan from the New jersey State Museum for comparison

The section of Moorestown where the pipe fragments were discovered

Professional view of pipe fragments

A collection of artifacts on permanent view at the Historical Society of Moorestown



From the Ground Up: Archaeology, Artisans, Everyday Life

Charles HammellComment

Anyone who knows me has come to learn that I am quite obsessed with the earliest history of the Delaware Valley. I’ve read John Watson’s three volume set, “Annals of Philadelphia” (and drew maps and took notes) twice and would read it again if I had time.

When I heard that archaeological excavations were being performed along busy I-95 in Philadelphia, I could barely contain myself. Where and when would the discovered artifacts be presented to the public?

The answer is the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, New Jersey. But, hurry! The exhibition ends December 31, 2016.

This exhibition was everything I hoped it would be. Over 600 artifacts on display are placed in groups organized by first, contributions from Native Americans, then, potters and glassblowers, featuring the Dyottville Glass House in Philadelphia, then, fragments of household items from the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. I easily spent two hours reading the placards and examining the objects. There are maps and old photographs of the city. There are photographs of the dig itself and of the participants. There is a video on flint knapping demonstrated by Jack Cresson, local archaeologist. There is a scavenger hunt game for children within the exhibit. There really is something for everyone. Photography is permitted, which I appreciated since there is no accompanying catalog. Besides the exhibition is the excellent Museum of American Glass itself. It is a comprehensive and beautiful look at glass production through the years and is very informative. I highly recommend a visit for anyone interested in glass objects.

Another reason for my enthusiasm for this exhibition is that the Historical Society of Moorestown is also presenting an exhibition on early found objects in  Moorestown. The title is, History Rocks! Interpreting the Archaeological Discoveries in Moorestown. The focus is on the earliest people who passed through the area and what they left behind. More details on this exhibit in my next blog post.

Native American Pipe Fragments 800 - 1500 AD

Stoneware debris with focus on the Remmey Pottery

Household items recovered from the dig

Dyottville Glass Works Washington-Taylor Flask

Witch Balls

Glass Hats

I love this glimpse into another time.......

Rare Blue Vase

Pitkin Flasks

On the left, a child's thimble. Imagine a little one working on her sampler.

Discovered dishes

Children's Plates


Moorestown's Own Jack Cresson- video demonstration

Delaware Antiques Show - 2016

Charles HammellComment

It is always a treat to visit the Delaware Antiques Show. Classy, sophisticated, subtle - it does not knock one out with razzle dazzle but rather, demonstrates educated good taste. It is not boring. On the contrary, the dealers are quite knowledgable and are happy to discuss the unique items in their booths. Winterthur benefits from the proceeds of this lovely show.

Below are a few highlights from 2016.

Sofa sold by Sumpter Priddy

Pair of New England fan back Windsor side chairs - Stephen/Douglas

Unique volute or "ear" on a fan back Windsor side chair - Stephen/Douglas

Beautiful starburst quilt - Lowery Antiques

Fiddle Head-  Norwood Spirit of America Antiques

Beverly Norwood, Spirit of America Antiques & Lisa Hammell, Noonmark Antiques

Meet the President

Charles HammellComment

Today is election day in the United States. As I write this, the outcome of the election is not clear. But, I do know who will be the next president of the Antiques Dealers Association of America in 2017 – Steven S. Powers.

I first got to know Steven as a dealer through visiting various high end antiques shows. His booths are always fresh and edgy. I like that. I also like what he has for sale in his cases –snuff bottles, boxes and Native American items. I collect snuff bottles so Steve’s booth is always a stop on my rounds at a show. Steve is a specialist in Native American Woodlands /Sculpture and an expert in treen, burl and folk art. He is your go to for early wood objects. He has written two books, “ North American Burl Treen: Colonial and Native American” and the woodlands volume of “Art of the Spirit World, The Steven Michaan Collection.”

Steven S. Powers is also a talented and prolific painter. My husband Charlie & I were fortunate to be in the area to attend an open house where Steve has his studio. It’s great to see an artist in his world. A few years ago, Steve used one of my photographs that I post on social media as a springboard for one of his paintings. Quite an honor for me, to be sure. The painting has sold.

You can check out his websites for antiques or paintings at  and

A sample of artwork by Steven S. Powers

Steve's palette - I love the green!


Wallace Nutting and Wethersfield, Connecticut

Charles HammellComment

Why would a cup of coffee lead to this blog post on Wallace Nutting? Because, we serendipitously stopped for a cup of coffee in beautiful Wethersfield , Connecticut and parked directly in front of the historic Joseph Webb House. Outside the Webb house was a placard announcing an exhibition inside. It was early Sunday morning and the house did not open until 1:00. But, there was a wonderfully helpful description board on the premises that I carefully read and learned a great deal.

I am very concerned about historic preservation and was delighted to find that Wallace Nutting shared my passion. Wallace Nutting (1861-1941) was a committed collector of antiques, an enthusiastic photographer, and prolific author. During his 80 years he managed to gather a significant Pilgrim Century Furniture collection, which was eventually purchased by J.P. Morgan, Jr. and donated to the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut. Nutting loved antique furniture and enjoyed creating household vignettes to photograph and promote historic preservation. The Joseph Webb House in Wethersfield, Connecticut was one site where Wallace Nutting could create his historically accurate settings. If a piece of furniture was not available, he had a band of trusty woodworkers create an accurate likeness. Over the years, an astonishing 1000 plus items were copied and created for Nutting. They were high quality and eventually sold to those who could afford them. His hand colored and signed photographs were synonymous with good taste at that time. I am not surprised to find these framed prints in good old collections when I am on a house call. See example we have for sale below.

In his spare time, Wallace Nutting wrote books on a variety of subjects dealing in various aspects of historic preservation and antique furniture. A few years ago, I went on a book buying spree and picked up a book by Wallace Nutting titled, “Pennsylvania Beautiful.” At the time, I intended to sell it, but, I have decided to keep it because the book contains a number of photographs of rural scenes from my childhood stomping grounds. There are also pen and ink illustrations by the author. What a prolific man!

By the way, the book “Pennsylvania Beautiful” was dedicated to J. Stogdell Stokes, who lived in Moorestown, New Jersey and was among other things, President of the Philadelphia Art Museum. I like that South Jersey connection.

The exhibition in Wethersfield ended on October 30, 2016 but, there is a Wallace Nutting Collector’s Club you can join at

Joseph Webb House

The Coffee House in Wethersfield, CT

This Wallace Nutting Hand colored photgraph is for sale at Noonmark Antiques

For more information and price of the above photograph, contact




A Townsend - Goddard Primer

Charles HammellComment

Here is a very brief synopsis on the Townsend - Goddard families.

These folks were Quakers and made their homes in the Easton Point section of Newport, Rhode Island.

Christopher Townsend (1701-1787) and brother Job Townsend ( 1699-1765) arrived in Newport in 1707 after living in Oyster Bay, New York. They became cabinet makers in Newport, Rhode Island.

John Townsend (1732-1809) was the son of Christopher Townsend.

Daniel Goddard (1697-1764) was born in Rhode Island, moved to Massachusetts, and returned to Newport in 1727.

John Goddard ( 1723-1785) the son of Daniel, was an apprentice to Job Townsend. John Goddard married Job’s daughter Hannah Townsend.

Identifying features of these cabinet makers are the block and shell configuration on case furniture and the claw & ball foot, with space between the talon and the ball. These features are not unique to the families but are a clue when considering identification of a piece of furniture.

Christopher Townsend - desk and bookcase

Daniel Goddard - block and shell detail

John Townsend, claw & ball foot, space between talon and ball

Attributed to John Goddard, game table

All images were obtained from the current "Art & Industry Rhode Island Furniture 1650-1830" exhibition at the Yale University Art Gallery.

Art & Industry in Early America, Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830

Charles HammellComment

This past summer, we traveled to Newport, Rhode Island to visit the mansions on the coast. We did not have time to visit Hunter House on the other side of town and promised we would return someday, since this building houses examples of Townsend and Goddard furniture. With this in mind, I was excited to discover on the front page of an August edition of Antiques & the Arts Weekly,  a feature article on “ Art & Industry, Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830” I quickly looked through the article and realized this was an important exhibit. We booked an air bnb and traveled to New Haven, Connecticut on one of the finest autumn weekends you could imagine. This was our first trip to Yale University Art Gallery. Street parking was a snap and admission is free. We quickly made our way to the fourth floor and were awed by the examples of Townsend and Goddard furniture along with 130 other interesting items made by known and unknown Rhode Island cabinet makers, artists, and silversmiths. Comparing and contrasting was easy to do. Well written placards gave useful information. We spent 2 hours soaking it all in and hardly realized the time had passed. We came up for air, refilled the parking meter and returned to the fourth floor. This time, a dignified woman was leading a tour of the exhibit and intuition told me this must be Patricia E. Kane, curator of Friends of American Art at Yale as well as the American Decorative Arts. Pat was the spark behind this fabulous exhibition. She conceived of the idea over ten years ago and meanwhile established the (Rhode Island Furniture Archive) which contains 4000 pieces of furniture and 2000 known woodworkers. All of this effort has made Pat Kane a worthy nominee for the ADA 2017 Award of Merit.

Pat’s goal was to ”Broaden the understanding of who the makers of furniture in Rhode Island were and what they were making.” Her painstaking research led to some surprising conclusions and reattributions.

The companion catalog is a hefty book with contributions by Kane herself, Dennis Carr, Nancy Goyne Evans, Jennifer N. Johnson, and Gary R. Sullivan. This tome discusses furniture created in Rhode Island from its earliest beginning to the end of the Federal Period. The exhibition runs until January 8, 2017 and is located at 1111 Chapel Street in New Haven, Connecticut.

Early veneered Rhode Island furniture

Compare & contrast

Stunning work by Daniel Goddard

Sample of Rhode Island Windsor chairs

The table attributed to John Goddard is featured in the painting by Gilbert Stuart!

Patricia E. Kane, curator, leads a tour through the exhibit.