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Washington Winter Show

Walter C. Newman | January 10th, 2014

Doug and Bev Norwood of Timonium, Maryland, trade as Norwoods’ Spirit of America. Their booth always offers unusual and interesting pieces of Americana. Here are a group of violin-related items. The 19th-century trade sign offering lessons was priced at $2800. The violin on the left has a handwritten fingering chart attached to its neck and a carved human head, instead of a scroll, facing the strings. It was tagged $3300. The instrument on the right is crudely carved from a slab of pine with the bark still on the back. The pegs and peg box are also crudely fashioned. Its price was $2800.

Paris, France is the theme of these paintings found in the booth of David Brooker Fine Art, Southport, Connecticut. The large painting at the left is by Lucien Adrion (French, 1889-1953) and is appropriately titled Paris Street Scene. It was priced at $12,500. On the right is an example of Edouard Cortes’s (Spanish/French 1882-1969) familiar cityscape scenes; this one is titled A Busy Day in Paris. Circa 1920, it was priced at $39,500. The smaller painting below, Paris Scene, priced at $6500, is by Jules R. Herve (French, 1887-1981).

This photograph of the south-facing façade of the great house is perhaps the most-recognized view of Stratford Hall. Photo courtesy Stratford Hall.

Anne Stuart (right) and Elizabeth Stuart Valentine are granddaughters of the last private owners of Stratford Hall. Their father, Charles Edward Stuart Jr., was the last child born at Stratford and the last person buried on the Stratford grounds. Interestingly, he shared his birthday, January 19, with another young man born in the great house, Robert Edward Lee. The sisters are standing in front of one of the Stratford loan exhibits. This case includes a 19th-century Staffordshire soup tureen and ladle that had been used at Stratford by the Stuarts’ ancestors.

Washington, D.C.

The 2014 Washington Winter Show was held the weekend of January 10-12 at the Katzen Arts Center on the campus of American University in Washington, D.C. The show benefited Washington, D.C., area children and families through its support of several charities: the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys; the Founders Board of St. John’s Community Services; and Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC).

The theme of this year’s show was “Southern Celebrations: Traditions Handed Down.” That celebration of traditions included a full lineup of speakers, exhibits, and events throughout the weekend. Guest lecturers included award-winning Charleston, South Carolina, chefs Matt and Ted Lee, who spoke on “Exploring the Charleston Kitchen.” On Saturday, Julia Reed, author, contributing editor of Newsweek, and contributor to Garden & Gun magazine, spoke to a packed house. Her topic was “Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties.” Attendees of her presentation were each given a ham biscuit as they filed out of the auditorium. Saturday night featured music by the faculty jazz band from the Levine music school and two well-established Southern traditions—bourbon tasting and barbeque.

This year’s featured loan exhibit was presented by Stratford Hall, the historic Westmoreland County home to four generations of Virginia’s Lee family. Stratford Hall Plantation is located about 45 miles east of Fredericksburg overlooking the Potomac River. Among those who called Stratford home were Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, both signers of the Declaration of Independence. Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee III raised his family there. He was a Revolutionary War hero, Virginia’s ninth governor, and represented Virginia as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Arguably the best-known resident of Stratford was Light Horse Harry’s son Robert Edward Lee. Robert E. Lee, a West Point graduate, a Confederate general, and a president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), was born at Stratford in 1807.

Stratford is designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark (1960), and it is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (1966) and the Virginia Landmarks Register (1969).

The Stratford exhibit included many objects associated with the shrine’s entire history, from its construction beginning in the early 1720’s, the subsequent 80-plus years ownership by the Lee family through its subsequent ownership by the Somerville, Storke, and Stuart families, and finally the 1929 sale of the property to the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation.

By all accounts, the show was a success. The Katzen Arts Center is an excellent venue, and although the show is arranged on three floors of the building, that arrangement did not appear to be a concern. All returning exhibitors chose to set up in the same space as they did last year. The show’s promoter, Karen DiSaia, was quite pleased with the turnout. In spite of Saturday’s relentless rain, exhibitors were also pleased with the amount of foot traffic and the number of callbacks. Numerous sales were noted in all categories.

For additional information, contact Karen DiSaia at (860) 908-0076 or visit the Web site (

Philip Suval, Inc., Fredericksburg, Virginia, specializes in Chinese and China trade porcelain items from the late 17th through the mid-19th centuries. These brightly colored figural pieces range in age from the first quarter of the 18th century to the mid-19th century and ranged in price from $3000 to $9000, with the pairs selling as such.

This tall sideboard/server was found in the booth of Bill and Susan Beck, who trade as Beck’s Antiques and Books in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The 1810 piece is constructed of river birch with yellow pine as its secondary wood. It is most likely a product of coastal North Carolina. Bill stated that this piece is a near exact match for one illustrated in The Furniture of Coastal North Carolina, 1700-1820 by John Bivins Jr. The case configuration of two center drawers flanked by two-door storage compartments is identical to a piece described by Bivins as being from a shop in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Beck’s piece exhibits extensive geometric pattern string inlay and a distinctive graduated bellflower decoration on the front legs. There are some repairs to this piece, the brasses have been replaced, and the rear legs have been strengthened. The sideboard was tagged $9800.

Robert Lloyd Inc., New York City, presented a scout-carved totem pole dated 1931. The piece was apparently created during a training program for scout leaders in Pawnee, Oklahoma. The participant’s scout name and symbol are carved and painted on one side of the pole, and the representations of the training program activities are carved on the other. Its price was $22,500. The carved bulldog-form humidor is 19th-century English and priced at $3200. The circa 1880 whiskey jug is by Doulton for Greenlees Brothers Scotch whiskey and tagged $2750.

Karen DiSaia is the promoter of the Washington Winter Show. She and her husband, Ralph, are also exhibitors. Their firm is Oriental Rugs Ltd. of Old Lyme, Connecticut. Karen and Ralph are standing in front of a circa 1900 Khamseh confederation rug. The Persian tribal rug was tagged at $4300.

Originally published in the April 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2014 Maine Antique Digest

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