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Theta 2014–The Finest Show in Texas!

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014


Most dealers and collectors agree, the Theta Show in Houston, Texas–this was the 63rd annual edition–is one of the five most significant shows in America. I write this as I am half way home from an exciting and successful event, fascinated to see a city booming and houses under construction on tear down lots in all of the finest areas of the city. It takes new housing and improved housing to really drive the antiques business beyond the collecting level into the furnishing level. We compete at some level with modernism, mid-century, new furniture–ever Restoration Hardware for gosh sakes! Right now 18th and 19th century antiques are simply the best value for dollars spent–period!


In their continuing effort to constantly strengthen the show, the plans for next year were announced at this year’s show: NEW dates one week earlier November 12-15, 2015 in a NEW location, Bayou City Event Center. One day shorter, the opening will be a Thursday night to allow dealers from the Winterthur Show to arrive and participate. The old downtown facility is being renovated for several years–the new facility provides space for the same number of dealers and a veritable sea of FREE parking! We are all excited to say the least.

Here is a selection of shots of our booth.  Happily we already had sold a 72″ diameter table to a dealer before the photos were made!  We also sold the sofa table in top photo, most of the Imari in the secretaire, the yellow pair of period fauteuils, the set of eight dining chairs, the French mid-century coffee table, the four candlesticks, all of the cut glass on the trunk and the Rose Medallion punch bowl!  In the third photo the chest has a new home as well as the lamp and the moose doorstop barely visible on the left.  In the bottom photo two fine jugs were purchased.  Additionally and not pictured we sold a splendid mule or dowery chest as well as dozens of small porcelain, silver and brass pieces from throughout the booth.



More from High Point

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Finally the Antique and Design Center officially opened today after a “soft” opening yesterday.  Some major pieces have sold and more sales seem to be in the offing if the designers are successful with their clients.  Here are a few shots of the completed booth.

The jewelry sure does add sparkle to the front entrance to our display!

A reminder of the July Trunk Show featuring major new estates by the effervescent Donnie Grissom of Mt. Pleasant/Charleston, SC.

Red tags enhance the booth!

Repurposed antique picture frames cut into multisided medallions and mounted with hand cast and gilded bees, dragonflies and lion masks!  At $45.00 each they really add punch to little spots, add dimension on a wall of prints or stand alone as a charming little decoration for any wall.  They are the invention of Trace Mayer of Louisville, Kentucky and we are pleased to be his representative–same price as he sells them, in case you are wondering!

I love the next item–an amazing spoon rack and cutlery and candle rack from the north of western England or Scotland.  It is warm brown oak with broken arch pediment, hearts and whale’s tails–what more could you possibly want.  AND turned bone (cow!!!) finials and pulls.  Wow!!!

High Point Antique and Design Center to Open Friday

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

We are all feverishly preparing for the opening of the Spring Furniture Market and the excitement of the antiques and design building in Historic Market Square.  Here are some photos from today with a few comments–our friend Donnie Grissom who has brilliant vintage jewelry is finishing his installation tomorrow–thus the covered cases!  (By the way, he is coming with a huge new estate collection in July for a weekend event–watch for it!!!!!)

Main Show Entry with our booth entrance.

The Tommi Parzinger credenza c. 1967 is a brilliant entrance supporting an amazing, multi level old surface horse for a procession–the rolling stand of later date.  Over Donnie Grissom’s space is a collection of paintings by Paul Hrusovsky.

Right side of the Booth

Continuing down the tight side

The Three Madonnas is by Paul Hrusovsky above an early 19th century pear wood and ash country French high buffet with ebonized moldings.

Center of the booth with French 1930's steel coffee table and Napoleon III bergeres

The two circular tables behind the coffee table are a delight–an 1880′s miniature Napoleon III gueridon and a period c. 1810 gueridon behind it!

Backside of the Napoleonic view!

A great pair of modernism chairs of rosewood and chrome by Sven Ivar Dysthe for Dokka, Norway,  flank a period 1960-70 lucite and chrome floor lamp with integral table with a cluster column in homage to George III taste (both from Studio Design Gallery, owned by Paul Hrusovsky featuring his art studio, gallery of his art and mid-century furniture and accessories).  Ivar born in 1931 was the wunderkind of Norwegian modernism design.

Back section of booth with cross aisle

A 72″ diameter Anglo-Indian teak and mahogany William IV table with Georgian breakfront on back wall, the table simply displayed with early 19th century Meissen vases (ornithological) and a Royal Crown Derby soup tureen and undertray.  Yes the orchids are real–took me an hour as new ones were unpacked last night at Whole Foods flower shop!

Floating above the c. 1780-1800 breakfront is a c, 1730 carving from Frankfurt, Germany–next is a close-up.

This represents Mary Queen of Heaven (she emerges from blue swirling clouds) holding the Christ Child blessing the world and holding the orb of the world, once with a cross atop it.

For another photo of this carving from a differing angle with differing light, check out the Whitehall Facebook reached either directly on Facebook or through the Home Page for Whitehall at www.whitehallantiques.com

More to come this week including a few highlights of my lecture next week–Tuesday–free to all attendees of the Market.

Vero Beach Museum of Art Antiques Show

Monday, January 6th, 2014

For all of our friends in Florida, either year round or seasonally, the Vero Beach Museum of Art is one of the finest antiques events of the winter.  Bringing a veted list of fine dealers offering period English, Continental and American furniture, rare books, fine art, superb silver and jewelry as well as the entire range of porcelains from throughout the world, this is a show not to be missed.  Hours and events are easily found on the museum website:   www.verobeachmuseum.org/index.cfm?method=Event_antiquesshow&

We hope to see you there as we are featuring a fine George III breakfront, a rare form country French walnut Buffet a deux Corps, charming bamboo tables and unusual pub signs, period commodes from the Louis XV and Charles X periods as well as Georgian chests, cool rattan chaises with ottomans and much more.  Here are a few photos and by the way the Breakfront will be filled with a full antique Meissen dinner service so recently arrived I do not have photos!

c. 1780-1800 George III mahogany breakfront with writing drawer interior in satinwood

18th century walnut Buffet a deux Corps

Magnificent carving on the Buffet a deux Corps

Charles X commode--a precursor to modernism yet 180 years old!

c. 1750 walnut commode with original marble top

Come join the excitement!

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

From Chapel Hill The entire Whitehall Antiques family wishes you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.  We hope to see you either in the shop or at a show this year and if not, via the amazing world of the internet.

David and Elizabeth

“These are a few of my favorite things”

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

In addition to music (yes that is a line from The Sound of Music) and family,  much of my life is visual.  So here are some photos I took this year–hope you enjoy them.  In just a week we will load for The Vero Beach Museum of Art Show and return to unload a new shipment from England and France–so what better time than now to remember the past year.

Nelson, Christmas 2012 at grandma's

Alexander's Christmas Past--2012 at grandma's

The glory of North Carolina from Grandfather Mountain

Elizabeth ready for opening night, Vero Beach Museum of Art, 2013

Oops--it slid! Uncle Erik with Nelson and Alexander and Elizabeth presenting her masterpiece: Erik and Alexander in a joint birthday celebration

Topiary magic in the Nashville Antiques and Garden Show

The epitome of George I walnut bureau bookcases

Thomasville, Georgia hospitality--we stayed in dear clients' guest house

Chang at work--half snoozing in the Villa entrance room

Serenity in the Asiantiques booth, Alexandria, March, 2013

Spring finally arrives in the Duke Gardens in mid-March--at least the jonquils arrived in February!

A sweet Edwardian Sutherland table came home to Whitehall after 50 years in a Mebane, NC home--and now has a new home in Florida

May 2 brought Paul's 65th birthday celebration at Kipos, a new West Franklin Street Greek restaurant in The Courtyard

Spring Market was a great success: part of our huge booth at The Antique and Design Center of High Point

26 Abraham Derby roses by David Austin line the Whitehall parking lot producing a heady fragrance in memory of our dear employee of 50 years, Frances Farrington

Our new condo nears completion in mid-June

We ran the floors from the front door 30 feet toward the glass walls–this view covers most of the 30 feet lateral into the study making a large “L”.  Always run flooring so that you carry the eye to create a greater sense of size, rather than chopping up the desired view.

A "Moral Monday" sea of protestors in Raleigh--this year NC traded a 50% tax cut for the wealthy for reducing education funding to 47th in America. Bless our great teachers who soldier on.

The thrill of entering a lovely retirement home and finding a period breakfront from the late 18th century! I was waxing it again today at the shop!

Moving day was June 27th--this is July 1st and off to England July 4th to buy for the shop

Looking for nifty sporting items in southeast England

And finding 1960's G-Plan furniture for Paul's new Studio Design Gallery at The Courtyard (a three block walk to work each day) and already a huge success!

Nelson and Dad join us in London and then off to Paris!

View from the hotel room

Grandpa as Napoleonic Soldier--yes the sword is period

An Exciting Durham estate--I had worked with the parents for 25 years--yielded a rare Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin chrome backed swivel, rocking club chair--and so much more!

Paul’s Modernism gallery included in his new Studio allows us to help with a broad range of fine items from the late 17th century to the 1970′s between Whitehall and Studio Design Gallery–and the stores are only a mile apart!

And then it was July 19th and time for my 65th birthday–60 friends and family gathered atop our new building to celebrate.

My son Erik and older grandson Nelson David (Elizabeth's son)


The best little guests!

And also celebrating over 23 years with Paul, my guide through life.

And then 6 days of both teaching and learning during the annual Whitehall Summer Antiques Seminar

Then the new shipment arrived followed by a wonderful fundraiser at the Villa benefitting The Chamber orchestra of the Triangle and finally of to three fall shows and the Fall High Point Market (all featured in prior blogs).

And Halloween

A December sunset from my hotel for the Jacksonville Antiques Show--my 36th straight year!

Exploring a collection to sell this winter!

And finally the beauty of Christmas again!  Another year of exploration, learning, teaching and enjoying all that life has to offer with family and friends.  Happy New Year!  Live it with love and gusto.

Seasons Greetings from Chapel Hill

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

We maintain special (truly exceptional!) rates with several four and five star hotels and inns in Chapel Hill for our clients visiting in Chapel Hill.  Each is beautifully decorated for the season–The Siena Hotel,  The Franklin Hotel and  The Fearrington House Inn.  Here I am sharing the wonderfully inviting entrance and the four large window displays enjoyed this evening strolling by The Franklin.  A mile up the street from Whitehall, it is only two blocks from our area’s new modernism shop:  Studio Design Gallery, the art studio, gallery of work and mid-century shop created by my partner Paul Hrusovsky.  (I get to help find the furniture and accessories–a real delight.)

Hotel Entrance with twinkling tree

Come share the Holidays with us in charming Chapel Hill, home to James Beard restaurants and incomparable hotels as well as A Southern Season, the largest gourmet store in the world (approximately 85,000 square feet).  Add live theatre in seven venues, Broadway traveling shows in two venues, live music everywhere and world class classical concerts all reached by two interstate highways and a major international airport and you know why our Triangle Region is mecca for many!  And of course, there is always world class sports–the latter represented in those Joy To The World windows by Ramses, the blue ram mascot of UNC!

For our Christian visitors another reason to visit is the vast number of moving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day worship experiences in churches of every denomination and size, many with great pipe organs and superb choirs blessed by the professional musicians of four universities and numerous colleges.  Whether you seek a cathedral experience in Duke Chapel or a quiet village church like St. Matthew’s in Hillsborough, you will find a welcoming respite and joyous service.

Children’s Hospital Benefit Show–updated

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

The 37th annual Wolfson Children’s Hospital Antiques Show has come to a successful close and we have returned safely to Chapel Hill.  Tomorrow we will unload the unsold furniture and Thursday completely re-accessorize the shop!  It was a blessing to simply add furniture and accessories to our truck when it returned from Texas instead of unloading and reloading!  It is a grueling amount of work for all of us. And having a show well above last year’s successful show was a great reward for our efforts–sales including a fine cabinet, dining table, five smaller tables, loads of silver, porcelain and glass–and even a flask and a couple of trout and salmon fishing rods for the “young collectors”.  Truly great fun!

We sold a wonderful country French cherry draw leaf table–one I featured in an earlier blog–which literally doubled in length from 79.5 ” to 159″ with a simple concealed support dropping at each end when fully extended.  It is the only example we have either owned or seen over the years.  Here is a photo of the booth with the table and equally fun, the tree which now owns the table (a tree with a house and an owner).

So the cherry table has gone to live with the 500 year old oak tree which spreads 200 feet wide and has allowed generations to share its land in many ways.  I put this on facebook and a friend commented that antiques seem to want to find the right home and this table certainly did!

The steel and gilt metal coffee table and end tables with black eglomise tops were our only modernism pieces in the show and they went quickly to a nationally prominent designer.  Interesting–in Birmingham a splendid modernism table sold to a prominent dealer/designer known for great period French furniture, to use in her own home.  In Texas our only modernism table sold to a designer who took it to a client’s home to immediate success.  We are thoroughly enjoying our addition of a few fine modernism pieces to our inventory.  Arriving in the shop in early January is another collection of fine French modernism tables found on our last buying trip.

Set up for the show was smooth and fun, as the next photo of a dear client and show volunteer sort of kicking up her heels after finding a wonderful set of huge antique cut glass goblets and a set of gracious rim soups in the booth and laying claim ahead of the evening crowd!  This is one of the benefits of volunteering for charity shows–a well deserved benefit for both the volunteers and the dealers.

This is a show working hard to invigorate itself after some rough years precipitated by the Great Recession which hit Jacksonville with a vengeance.  Last year I reported on the new show manager, the new young collector’s booth, and the rearrangement of the show. They did not rest on their laurels, but worked hard all year and added blogs, instagrams, and other devices to reach a younger, hipper crowd.  The show was again rearranged and this time it worked brilliantly with no dealer feeling they had a bad location.  And most importantly when they discovered the Jaguars were being televised in a home game on Thursday, they dropped back and punted brilliantly:  a sneak casual preview Thursday before the game for all donors and a stunning party on Friday night with huge attendance and dancing until midnight!  And yes the dealers were also dancing, including yours truly for about an hour and a half.

Across the show sales were brisk and diverse including fine art, majolica, silver, modernism, funky decorative, American Federal, Georgian and Regency and of course country French.  No doubt a few dealers were a bit disappointed, but overall the feeling was remarkably upbeat.

One las parting shot:

End Shot of the Booth

The interesting architecture is due to the show being in a historic train station.

Theta Antiques Show–Houston, Texas

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Long considered one of the top three charity antiques shows in America, the Theta Show with an amazing and enthusiastic staff and volunteers made 2013 another exciting year.  The range of periods and objects is exceptional with museums and collectors carefully shopping the floor.  Once again Gary Sergeant had one of the most diverse collections of simply superb pieces and his fine black Chinoiserie bureau bookcase and many other objects disappeared as the show progressed.  It would be silly to try to name who had what–connect to the Theta website for a full dealer list and links to their websites.  But I thought it would be fun to share some of the pieces that caught my eye.

In the Iliad booth from New York City (www.iliadny.com), specialists in the ideal match of Biedermeir and Art Deco (the former is the design basis of the latter) was this columnar desk:

Every piece in the booth was selected with remarkable care and an eye to brilliant design, as one more view demonstrates:

Lisa Sherwood of Macon, Georgia (sherwoodantiques@bellsouth.net) quickly sold this charming little country French Directoire influenced hanging cabinet for the display of prized possessions–the entwined rings for the shelf guards was between exceptional and unique!

As I noted Gary Sergeant (Gary@Gsergeant.com) had an outstanding booth and he is a dealer I greatly admire for his consummate good taste, lack of airs, and genuine friendliness. Here are some highlights with his own descriptions.

This table got my mental prize for the most fascinating piece in the entire show!

In the booth of William Cook of London (www.williamcookantiques.com)–filled as always with fine pieces–was this marvelous desk with multiple adaptable uses from architecture to simply standing and writing or perhaps using a clerk’s stool.

Don’t fail to notice the cunning pair of dummy boards to the left of the desk.  While their uses remain controversial–shrouded in mystery!–their charm is indisputable.  (Did they appear from outside the house to be people standing guard or were they decorations in front of the hearth in summer?)

Also in Billy Cook’s booth was this exceptional miniature:

This view into Sissy McAlister’s booth (Nashville, TN–mmcaantiques@comcast.net) shows a wonderful array of dog paintings, as well as Sissy’s signature wall arrangements creating myriad nooks and crannies to explore in a very confined space–no one does this look better!

The champion garden dealers of Chicago, Finnegan Galleries (www.finnegangallery.com), planted their amazing pair of twin beds!  Again, my photos and a description in their own words.

The beds.

Footboard detail shot.

If you love eccentricities of all types from early children’s pottery to fine Vienna cold painted bronzes with a heavy dose of Black Forrest, then Leatherwood–the lead booth to the show–is your favorite spot!  Moe’s booth is simply amazing and this photo does not do it justice, so check their website! (www.leatherwoodantiques.com)

Obviously you have from this only a taste of the Theta Show–and I “forgot” to show you my favorite booth–Whitehall!  So come back this weekend for that experience–it is fun to see how dramatically it changed from the opening to the close (as in lots of sales!)

Antique and Vintage Overwhelm the New

Monday, November 4th, 2013

From design to quality of craftsmanship to price, almost all new items come up so very short!

During the Antique and Design Market Seminars I was speaking to the issue of why designers should steep themselves and their clients in the pleasures of antique and vintage furniture and decorative accessories.  Much of my talk was inspired by a perusal of several major shelter magazines the week before at the Birmingham Antiques and Design Show.  I was simply floored by the pricing displayed in promoting various new items.  Here are a few of the comparisons I found!

A page in Veranda, a gorgeous shelter magazine

In Veranda there was a section on the latest in design from France–fully sourced and priced for most items.  Let’s start in the lower right corner with the reproduction bonnetiere called a painted cabinet for $6,895.  How it is made is not totally clear, but I did scan their website and let’s just say not impressive.  Compare this to two larger painted examples I found on the show floor–a Swedish example for under 5,000 and a piece from Normandy for 1,800, both in painted surfaces on pine.

Swedish neo-classical armoire

The paint is certainly restored on this handsome piece but is architectural and simply dynamite design.  It is early 19th century and useful for myriad purposes from storage to clothes to sound systems.

Buffet a deux corps from Normandy (Caux region)

This charming cauchois painted pine piece dates to about 1830.  The dealer had offered it for 2,400 for several markets with no action so he chalk painted it for this show and repriced at 1,800–sold on day one!  The reason it had not sold were the missing pieces–still missing if you look carefully–which stood out like sore thumbs in natural pine (it had been stripped many years ago).  Also the color was not good.  Now it has sold for less than a third of the reproduction!

Homme debout

In our own shop is this splendid piece the same size as the reproduction from France yet read this description!

A country French homme debout of burl ash, ash & cherry wood. Early 19th century. A rare form. The upper & lower doors well carved with fabulous burl wood panels, centered by 2 drawers with burl insets, and with line inlaid diamond shaped panels of burl at the top and on the shaped apron. Original steel hinges, escutcheons & handles. Well developed escargot feet. Molded crown. 80 7/8″ h., 38″-43″ w., 22 1/2″-25 1/4″ d. $4,800