January 7, 2010
62nd Annual Antiques Forum to explore New England decorative arts
Colonial Williamsburg’s 62nd annual Antiques Forum presents “Well made & Exceeding Fine: The Decorative Arts of New England” Sunday – Thursday, Feb. 7-11, that explores the rich and diverse heritage of the region through its decorative arts.
Scholars have been documenting the arts and crafts of early New England for more than a century and a half, but new and exciting discoveries continue to be made. The 2010 forum will bring together a group of widely recognized authorities on the remarkable New England furniture, ceramics, textiles, paintings and buildings produced between 1680 and 1830.
More than 20 curators, collectors, and historians will present their latest findings in a series of illustrated lectures and video-assisted workshops. Speakers include Jane Nylander, president emerita of Historic New England, scholar and author Kemble Widmer, and noted New England auctioneer Ron Bourgeault.
The 2010 Antiques Forum opens Sunday evening with a reception hosted by Colin G. Campbell, Colonial Williamsburg president and CEO, and Nancy N. Campbell. Following a Monday morning opening welcome and program introduction, Ronald L. Hurst, vice president of collections, conservation and museums and Carlisle H. Humelsine chief curator and will review “Recent Additions to the Colonial Williamsburg Collections” for participants.
Other presentations featuring Colonial Williamsburg curatorial expertise include: Janine Skerry, Colonial Williamsburg curator of metals presenting “Beyond Governor Winthrop’s Stone Pott: Exploring the Evidence for Stoneware in Early America,” and Barbara Luck, curator of paintings, drawings, and sculpture presenting “Yankee Ingenuity: New England Folk Portraits.”
Visiting experts and their presentations include:
Optional Friday workshops on Feb. 12 feature Colonial Williamsburg historic trades experiences and curatorial and conservation expertise. Participants are invited to handle the furniture, join in discussions and watch demonstrations of recent projects while exploring cabinetmaking, carving, and harpsichord-making skills at the Anthony Hay Shop in the Historic Area, or join members of the Anderson Blacksmith Shop for a hands-on experience shaping iron using traditional methods. Fanned with the bellows, a coal-fired forge heats the metal allowing the participants to shape the hot iron with hammer and anvil.
Colonial Williamsburg furniture curator Tara Gleason Chicirda leads an in-depth examination and discussion of New England chests and desks during “A Close Look at the Case Furniture of New England.” She will discuss construction features of New England’s 18th- and early 19th-century case pieces, regional variations and how block front, serpentine and bow front chests and desks were formed.
Christopher Swan, Colonial Williamsburg furniture conservator, provides an overview of primary 18th-century furniture finishing practices in “Waxing On: Furniture Finishes.” The workshop features a demonstration of the visual clues and the analytical techniques applied in characterizing finish types, including a demonstration of the new FTIR microscope.
Suzanne Findlen Hood, associate curator of ceramics and glass, explores the varied world of salt-glazed stoneware — from German Bartmann and refined English tableware to American storage jars — during “Salt-glazed Stoneware in Early America.”
Virginia Lascara, owner of Yorktown’s Black Dog Gallery, presents “Framing Prints and Maps.” This workshop focuses on archival framing of maps and prints, including making the best choices in archival materials for mat board, hinges and glazing. Participants discover sources for period-style moldings and discern the difference between reproduction and antique prints.
Optional Bus Tours
The 2010 Antiques Forum also offers four optional private bus tours — two overnight and two one-day excursions:
Advance registration and payment in full for the 2010 Antiques Forum is required. Registration of $600 includes admission to program presentations, an opening reception, daily continental breakfasts, coffee breaks and afternoon refreshments, a closing reception and dinner, and a Colonial Williamsburg admission pass valid for the duration of the Antiques Forum. Optional programs and tours incur additional fees. Special lodging rates are available for Antiques Forum attendees. For more information, telephone toll-free 1-800-603-0948 or visit www.history.org/conted.
Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women.
Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at www.history.org.