tole wine cooler with chinoiserie decoration

Things We Love 1

One of the more more subtle pieces we've acquired recently has inspired us to start a new blog series titled "Things We Love." This chinoiserie wine cooler absolutely captivates us. At a glance, you might dismiss it as an old beat-up piece of metal. If you spend time to take a closer look, you might discover the beauty that lies in its imperfections. I guess our description of this piece as "untouched" isn't entirely accurate. It surely has been touched by the hands of time. Its 300 years of age is written into the dents and bruises and loss of decoration. These imperfections evince the age of the piece. When you pick it up, you are immediately aware that you're holding a piece of history. I imagine it to be something like the feeling an archaeologist gets when uncovering an ancient artifact such as a shard of pottery that has been buried for centuries.

 

 And while we do appreciate what's missing, what remains is equally intriguing. The faint traces of a red, possibly faux-tortoise shell ground; the sparkling nature of the gold floral painting; the crusty boundaries between the paint and the bare, patinated metal. All these details spark the imagination: what might this have looked like originally, who might have taken the time to create such a thing of beauty, and what tales has it overheard as dinner guests downed bottles of wine pulled from its interior.

 

Of course, we could find someone who could re-paint this piece. We could re-create what it looked like the day it was made without the use of imagination. But we feel that would rob it of its character. It would be akin to putting arms back on the Venus de Milo. A fully intact Venus would rob her of her mystery. There would be no room for speculation or imagination. She would be what she is and nothing more. It is her imperfection that makes her perfectly beauty. And while this wine cooler certainly doesn't reach the level of cultural significance of the Venus de Milo, we find it to be gorgeous and full of character for some of the same reasons.

 

August 14, 2018 by Mark Finke
Hope for the Next Generation

Hope for the Next Generation

This kid may be smarter than he looks. He told his mom the other day that he knows how to build an antique. Mom tried to tell him you can't build an antique. Then he revealed his plan. "You build a piece of furniture when you're born, then you wait 100 years." We immediately put him to work.
July 10, 2018 by Mark Finke
Color and Pattern in 18th Century Interiors

Color and Pattern in 18th Century Interiors

Too often when people think of 18th Century English interiors, they conjure up dark paneling and staid decor. The derogatory term de rigueur is "boring brown." Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for dissuading visitors of any such notions. You will find there the drawing room from Robert Adam's Lansdowne House and it is a dizzying explosion of color and pattern. Every surface from the ceiling to the full length pilasters down to the baseboards is adorned in color and/or pattern. I had the pleasure of visiting the museum during the recent Philadelphia show. The evening light coming through the windows only added to the drama of the setting. The next time you're in Philadelphia, it is a can't-miss along with the rest of this amazing museum.

May 08, 2018 by Mark Finke
Bad Design/Good Design

Bad Design/Good Design

Greek designer Katerina Kamprani specializes in bad design. At first glance, her works seem to be primarily whimsical and aimed at generating chuckles. Toeless galoshes, anyone? However, to write them off as completely frivolous misses the point. Sometimes, we don't realize what makes for good design until we see it juxtaposed with the bad. For instance, take a look at Kamprani's wine glass.

The lines are graceful and the form is certainly attractive, but when one imagines trying to take a drink, the whole thing falls apart. Side-by-side comparisons are also useful in judging the quality of certain antiques. Just because something is old, doesn't mean it was designed (or built) well. There was certainly much trial and error in the evolution of certain forms that persist to this day. The unsung furniture makers of our past must have had to create many pieces that didn't work to arrive at those that did. It is a fun and informative exercise today to look back and try to re-imagine what some of those failures might have been.

March 23, 2018 by Mark Finke
A Kentucky Icon Passes Away

A Kentucky Icon Passes Away

There's a big hole in the heart of Kentucky this week. Pearse Lyons passed away too soon on March 8th. He was a dynamo, an unbelievably generous philanthropist, and an unending fountain of ambitious ideas. You can read about his life here: Pearse Lyons, who built a $3 billion company and brought the world to Kentucky, dies.

Like many thousands of Irish before him, he adopted Kentucky as his home. I particularly love this quote of his from the article: “If you can’t sell Kentucky as a place to do business, then you’re not in any shape or form a salesman, because it’s an easy sale. I’ve been around the world I don’t know how many times, and I’ve never found a place as conducive to doing business or rearing a family as Kentucky — y’all.”

 Rest easy, Dr. Lyons. We'll all drink a Bourbon Barrel Ale in your memory.

March 09, 2018 by Mark Finke
Jayne Thompson Antiques on the Small Screen!

Jayne Thompson Antiques on the Small Screen!

Recently I was asked to help promote the Antiques and Garden show in Nashville and appear on their wonderful "Talk of the Town" on Channel 5.  Enjoy this short segment about why young people should get excited about antiques.  Thank you to everyone at the Channel 5 for their hospitality.   
February 19, 2018 by Lori Finke
Lonely Planet Says You Must Visit Our Shop!

Lonely Planet Says You Must Visit Our Shop!

Well, they don't actually mention us by name, but they do list Central Kentucky as the #8 U.S. destination to visit in 2018; right there between Richmond, VA and Minneapolis, MN. While the beauty and history of the Bluegrass are becoming more widely known, we like to think of our little antique shop as a hidden gem within a once-hidden gem of a region.

Our home is also home to the natural beauty of the Kentucky River palisades and the Dix River (shown in the photo at top). It is here that you will find rich history in the form of places like the Beaumont Inn, the restored Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, as well as our shop, which was built by the man described here:

 

And we'd be more than happy to point you to one of the finest bourbon bars you'll find anywhere, Jane Barleycorn. All of this is located within 20 miles of our door, and there is much, much more to experience and enjoy. Come pay us a visit. We'd love to show you some Southern hospitality, help with travel arrangements, and steer you in the right direction.

 

February 12, 2018 by Mark Finke
The Art of the Mix

The Art of the Mix

As New York's Winter Antiques Show draws to a close, there is plenty of discussion about "mixing" periods and styles in current interiors and on the floors of antique shows. The Winter Show is the most prestigious antique show in the US. For most of it's 64 year history, the show has been known as a bastion of the most traditional decorative arts. In the past, the merchandise on display was subjected to very strict age requirements. As times have changed and tastes evolved, the show has gradually opened up to a wider variety of wares including modern and contemporary art and furniture. This type of mixing is becoming the norm at shows across the country. Some pull it off more successfully than others.

 

When it's done well, mixing can create a more interesting space. Introducing the unexpected through juxtaposition can be thought-provoking and eye-opening. Is there any reason not to hang an 18th Century portrait of a champion cock beside a two-year-old bull portrait by Peter Maier all on a wall covered in a modern Carolyn Ray wallpaper? We think not. Take a look at the picture above and see what you think.

 

January 30, 2018 by Mark Finke
Big News for the Philadelphia Show

Big News for the Philadelphia Show

The exciting news has spread as far as the other side of the Atlantic: the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be replacing Penn Medicine as the beneficiary of the prestigious Philadelphia Antiques & Art Show. The two charities will partner on the 2018 show with the expectation that the PMA will take over as sole beneficiary for 2019. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a nice write-up of the transition. While, the 55-year old show has become known more recently as a showplace for Americana, they have actually expanded their scope (and some would say returned to their roots) to include more representation from the English decorative arts in the past few years. The participation of the PMA is expected to create a further broadening with more art galleries exhibiting at future shows. Come see us April 20-22 at the revitalized Navy Yard.
January 18, 2018 by Mark Finke
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all! We hope that 2018 is a joyous and successful one for each and every one of you. As for JTA, we resolve to update this very blog more frequently during the coming year. The more skeptical among you might note that it has taken TWO WEEKS! for us to get around to our New Year's post, but nevermind! There are new items coming to the site soon, new shows have been posted under our show schedule, and new news coming hot and fast. Stay tuned.
January 17, 2018 by Mark Finke