Whitehall Blog

Archive for November, 2012

Jacksonville Opening Night

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Finally the moment arrived and the guests began to arrive at the main entrance to the historic train station of Jacksonville, c. 1920′s, built in the classical style.  A Scottish band piped in every guest from 6-8 pm as lights shot color up the columns and the great fountain sprayed the night air below a gorgeous moon–not all controlled by the decorations committee!

Entry to the show with pipe and drum band

Inside the Grand Court entry to the train station, leading to the loading platforms and new convention center additions a set of lights turned the whitewashed walls between actual windows into Gothic stained glass windows as the early guests–major supporters–mingled with cocktails, crabcakes, fish and chips (crazy but perfect!), Haggis, etc.

Grand Lobby and early arrivals

Ari transformed from tee shirt to tux chat with clients.

Our front aisle fills as the 7 pm official opening to everyone approaches.

Over 1,200 people are expected to dine in four massive, spectacularly decorated dining rooms, each having paid a minimum of 500.00 to attend, many having donated 10,000.00 to 50,000.00 to attend.

Cavert Family table in one dining room--early in the evening.

Ellen Cavert founded the show 36 years ago, having first founded The Women’s Board, all designed to build financial support for Wolfson Children’s Hospital.  The photo below this shows Ellen and her husband Tillman seated at the show entrance to welcome each arriving guest!  Their devotion and the devotion of Wayne and Kitty Davis have been transformative in the success of the hospital and of this event.

Dancing a proper Irish Jig

Here our dear friend Joseph Hayes, long time Columbus, Ohio dealer, born and raised in Ireland, shows everyone how to dance a proper Irish Jig in front of the live Irish band performing all evening.  Joseph has also been known to dance a proper jig on restaurant table tops, with or without music!

Jacksonville Booth Completed

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

This next series of photos shows how the booth has finally emerged after waxing, polishing, arranging of all the accessories, etc.  Having a nice three hour break before the black tie opening tonight, which will raise three quarters of a million dollars to benefit the Children’s Hospital!

Open end of the booth with valuables in lighted case.

Starting down the aisle fronting our booth.

Bouillotte table with seltzer bottle converted to a lamp.

This peculiar French table has two opposing drawers and two opposing candle slides.  First appearing in the 18th century, this unusually large one was made in the last of the 19th century.

Center of booth

The table front right is from Cornwall, a farm table c. 1830 with a two board highly figured elm top.  The striped chairs are late 19th century in the manner of the period of Louis XIII.  Bedsteps are shown as a library end table beside a huge Art Deco club chair in original leather.  The two pieces front left are both rosewood–a now endangered wood once popular with late Georgian to early Victorian cabinetmakers for their finest work:  one is a rolling etagere with spool turning and the center table is a spectacular example of the Regency Period during the insanity of George III.  (If you had a kid like his soon to be king son, you would have been driven insane also!)

Yacht Portrait and Butler's Etagere

Front left is a magnificent Italian 18th century commode with original marble (with huge nautilus fossils), while to the back over a mahogany late Regency butler’s etagere is a portrait of John Jacob and William Astor’s 250″ long steam yacht, the work of a famous American artist with oil paint background, silk sails, velvet and silk hull, and chain stiched silk riggings, originally launched in 1885 and immortalized soon after in this portrait.  She is flying the American flag and the New York Yacht Club Insignia.  To the right is one of the great masterpieces of the c. 1720 period, a walnut mirror doored bureau-bookcase made in the reign of George I.  The exterior is brilliant burl walnut veneers in various configurations, the mirrored doors are repeated inside the bookcase, and the entire secondary wood of the bookcase, as well as the desk compartment, is Virginia black walnut imported form the colonial trade by one of London’s great cabinetmakers.  I will devote a future blog to an exploration of this masterpiece.  It has an impeccable provenance, first brought to America from the famous Grosvenor House Antiques Fair.

Completed Booth

A final view of the completed booth.

And a last peak at the George I Bureau-Bookcase (known as a slant front secretary in American jargon).


Jacksonville Show Set-Up

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

I thought it might be fun for readers who do not work on show committees or sell at shows to see a bit of a run-through of set-up for a show.  This features our booth–a new space in a reconfigured show after 20 years in a different spot.  As always some last minute surprises and having to roll with some punches to make things work!

The booth was to be 10′ deep of solid wall with a 30′ run across the back.  Since it is a visual lead booth for the show, Elizabeth and I planned a 6′ end wall with 4′ opening for those entering the show to have a more open vista of our booth and of the show.  You will notice in the photos the walls are only 8′deep and our open wall has 2′ of wall and 6′ open!  That means the settle with a hanging rack above to fit on the six foot wall had nowhere to go!

The Missing Wall

I immediately called our good friend the fine art dealer John Dennison with a booth behind us–he immediately said put the settle on his wall and he would put a terrific painting above it once he arrived for set-up!

Happily a dealer with a very small booth on our aisle became sick–guess happily is not the right word, perhaps fortuitously!  Our extra pub sign and our hanging rack are gracing that space with an amalgam from other dealers’ overflow as well–looks quite sharp so far.

Down the aisle from the truck--outside at end of this train hall--come the goodies.

Our main rug is down over the bilious “modern” Convention Center carpet–should have brought our grey carpet tiles to cover it–too late!

Staging area beside booth--extra tables, boxes, etc.

Next the booth begins to take shape.

Empty boxes off to storage

The roughed out booth!

Adding electricity to run the spots and lamps.

Ari Bowers from our staff is installing the lighting system for spots and lamps.  We find only a 4-part outlet on arrival.  Installing lighting bars for the track lighting and running the cord system to light lamps, operate credit card machine, and play music in the booth–all of that is our job.

The next blog will show the booth completed.


A Reference Book worth owning–for a pittance!

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Adrien von Ferscht has just released the first major–and vastly augmented–study of Chinese Export Silver (and to a lesser extent Straits Silver) since the seminal book by Forbes some 20 years ago.  It costs a mere 7.5 BPS and downloads instantaneously to your desktop–quite miraculous as well to the computer illiterate like myself!  I have spent some delightful time scanning my new research tool, will print it out as well and bind it for ease of access when a computer is not at hand, and am in general simply delighted to tell you about it!  View all information and by all means order it at:




Jacksonville, FL to open this week

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

The wonderful Jacksonville Art and Antiques Show to benefit Wolfson Children’s Hospital opens this Thursday night and runs then trough Sunday at 5 pm.  Expected to net about 750,000.00 to benefit the hospital it is a splendid spectacle from party to lectures to fine and diverse antiques dealers.  Check the website for information:    www.artandantiquesshow.com

We hope to see you there in the newly configured spaces of this long-running show which has contributed over 6 million dollars to the hospital!

Theta Wrap-up

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Unfortunately I ended up Saturday noon becoming deathly ill with the Houston Virus and spent the next four days wanting to die–and thinking I might!  Fortunately my gorgeous daughter and brilliant partner was there to sell out the booth while I staggered between bed and bathroom.  She even managed to get me home Monday!  Here are a few more photos from the show.  Mark your calendar now for the weekend before Thanksgiving, 2013 for the next edition of this great show!

Elinore Pena's usual great Staffordshire collection

Glorious early Mason's, etc. brought from Portugal by Janice Paull

Asiantiques booth of fine Asian art, snuff bottles, ivories, bronzes, and more.

Susie Lorin is in forefront, Francois seated, and Gilles Lorin to the right.  Check out Gilles’ wonderful photography website (www.gilleslorin.com) which has evolved from his exceptional work preparing photographs for their many books and catalogues.

Sallea Antiques

I have known Sally Kaltmann of Sallea for perhaps 38 years–meeting her on Nantucket Island at a show–she had about 30 of the most beautiful boxes I had ever seen.  Now like me her daughter is moving to a primary position in the business–so great to see the multi-generation businesses.  For those reading who do not realize it, my daughter is President of our company, controlling stock owner, and she plans most every move we make as a business from designing our shop displays to planning our show booths, while doing the books, catalogues and managing a family with two energetic little boys!!!!!!!!!!

Toys, banks, etc--all of amazing quality from low hundreds to tens of thousands each.

Gemini Antiques of Lebanon, NJ has one of the great antique toy collections on offer in the world–from tin to cast iron and from mobile toys to still and mechanical banks, plus some great advertising, they have it all.

And what could be more appropriate for dreams of Santa than one more shot of toys:

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Theta Charity Show–more photos

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Opening night was a blast and yesterday brough a good flow of buyers to the show.  Today Lady Henreitta Spencer Churchill holds forth on her interior design projects from Blenheim to country houses and city dwellings.  Tomorrow the Keno brothers descend for a dual lecture.

Salina Mohamed, always gracious, in her Imperial Fine Books display (from NYC)

One of five equally spectacular gentleman's desks and partner's desks on the floor--this one in Gary Sargeant's booth (Connecticut)

It relates to the great “rent tables” of the period in providing drawers with ivory inlays of alphabetical sections for rapid organization of bills, letters, etc.

Ron Lotz and his great clocks--St. Louis, MO

Her Majesty was most kind in her words regarding my lecture about Royal Appointments.

Hidden but dangling from her arm is her ubiquitous purse–just in case she spots an antique she doesn”t already own, thanks to her diligent ancestors.


Houston’s Theta Charities Antiques Show

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

This evening one of America’s top five quality antiques shows opened at the George Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston–a not to be missed event for those within driving or flying range who love fine antiques of every type.  The show maintains high standards of authenticity, yet continues to offer antiques affordable to exceptional, prices from 50.00 to 200,000.  The range is simply delightful, from rare books to Asian decorative and fin arts; from Russian icons to First Period Worcester; country furniture from America, England and the Continent; formal furniture of all types, fine antique rugs, prints and paintings, jewelery and fine silver!

The show is open from 11-7 daily and 11-5 on Sunday, with a great array of lectures starting tomorrow morning.  Check out the Theta Antiques Show website for times and details.


It is late so the following photos snapped tonight will be my first sampling for you of the delights to be found.  Enjoy a little tour of a few of my favorite booths.

The Royal Mail Coach welcomes visitors show theme is England--display of replica Crown Jewels is cases beyond

Booth of Roberto Freitas

Fabulous, affordable tiger maple antiques, American Spirit Antiques, Ted Fuehr

Chappell and McCullar, San Francisco, feature the finest bureau bookcase in the show

Country side of Jayne Thompson"s vast booth of 17-18th century English antiques

Whitehall Antiques with country French and formal English

Royal Supporters in cast iron on a country Windsor bench

The Royal Supporters will feature in my booth lecture tomorrow afternoon entitled “By Appointment”–a short exploration of Royal Appointments and the quality expectations that might engender.

More to come as the week goes by!

High Point Final Thoughts

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

There was a lack of vibrancy throughout the entire market this year–the first time this Fall that the expected and normal uncertainty of an election season reared its ugly head!  It is particularly intriguing because the housing market is on a huge upswing, real estate  sales of existing houses are booming, every builder throughout the country claims to be busy–yet no designers, relatively speaking, attended the Fall Market.  Discussion centered on the lag time from when housing opens up and the designers begin to be swamped with new interior projects.  So next Spring will be particularly interesting.

The Antique and Design Center is receiving a long needed major renovation with everything concentrated on one floor, aisles opened up to eliminate confusing dead spaces, a smart new cafe and bar being created, a fun new lecture area being created–Spring will be very exciting and hopefully all of this renovation will be in time to welcome a tide of designers with bulging portfolios of new projects!