Sunday, April 13, 2014


Recently, we have been finding a lot of Empire style sofas and settees.

Below is a settee that was recently added to the collection. This piece needs to be reupholstered and the joints need to be tightened and glued. Right now, this piece is being used as an artwork holder because of the condition of the upholstery.

This piece dates to about 1825-1830 and was likely made in Philadelphia. There is intricate hand carving all along the rails and there are two eagle heads on the back. Some furniture made in the United States during the Federal era (roughly 1780-1830) have patriotic themed carvings. Many pieces depict eagles, though there are some that have arrangements of stars, arrows, or acorns that correspond to the number of states there were in the Union at the time the piece was made.

This will be re-upholstered eventually. The upholstery is stained and soiled beyond repair and has some thin spots. Considering it's been on the piece for about 75 years, whoever had it done got their money's worth.

More artwork and frames

Sorry for the long absence, I have been sick and due to my crazy work schedule having a life outside of work was impossible.

Lately we have been collecting a lot of artwork consisting of oils and watercolors. Unfortunately some of the frames need some TLC or have to be replaced. We have found a few replacements but we are still on the hunt.

Here's a few that we recently found from auctions and our usual spots.

This is an early watercolor on paper from Britain. It's a scene of a small coastal town and is very mysterious looking. There is early writing, probably from the early 19th Century, on the bottom of the paper that attributes this to Richard Wilson (1714-1782) and there is an early seal on the bottom right of the paper. Since this work is unsigned, we may never know if it was really by Richard Wilson, though the paper is consistent with the type that was used in the mid 1700s.

Below is one of my favorites because the sky and the sea seem to move when it is hanging on the wall (optical illusion...but it's still really cool.) The artist really did an excellent job with the effects, to the point that he or she didn't bother to sign the painting! This is an oil on board from about 1900. This picture reminds me of growing up near the water because the sky is clear, sunny and misleading at the same time (sea storms are the worst because they can form so fast.)
Can you see it...the water and the clouds moving?! Can you hear the waves crashing against the boat and hear the wind...and the bell clanging on top of the buoy...truly amazing (I love the ocean).

Below is another wonderful painting. This artist was a master of oil and watercolor paintings. Benjamin Champney (1817-1907) had a long artistic career that spanned nearly 70 years. He mostly painted mountain scenes, but was known to paint a seascape here and there. Champney really had a gift for painting water, whether it was a river or an ocean. It's hard to see in this picture, but the water looks like how it does in real life if you were standing on the shore. The shallow water near the shore has a greenish brown tint that gradually progresses to a deep blue as it heads to the horizon. This is a watercolor and is one of his later works, dating to approximately 1890-1900.

Here is another oil based painting. This one is an oil on canvas from Denmark and was painted by Henrik Schouboe (1876-1949). The painting dates to about 1910-1915.

Even though it depicts a rescue scene along the coast of Jutland in Denmark, this painting reminds me of the Outer Banks with the rough seas and the Coast Guardsmen rowing out to sea to aid a distressed vessel. It's fascinating to see one of these lifesaving vessels in person because of the size, weight and the man power needed. These gentlemen were true heroes!

Below is a watercolor painting of a night time seascape. This was painted by Neil Reid Mitchill (1858-1934) and is probably circa 1900-1910.

The sky and the sea are ominous in this painting. The frame was replaced at some point with a very cheap one. Don't worry - this will be framed in something better down the road!