Sunday, February 15, 2009

It’s Time to Don Your Tricorn Hat!

Each February we make the pilgrimage to Colonial Williamsburg for the annual Antiques Forum (thanks, of course, to Garth’s for paying Andrew’s way). For four days, our minds get filled by some of the foremost experts on American decorative arts. And for us, it’s also a kind of “old home” week where we get to reconnect with friends and colleagues, many of whom we met while Andrew was at Winterthur.

This year the topic as “Origins of American Style,” and, as usual, Williamsburg VP Ron Hurst and his crew put together a great itinerary that included talks on everything from 17th-century Dutch interiors to early 19th-century American miniature portraits. Young scholar Nick Vincent (of the Met) gave a great presentation on American pier tables, Brock Jobe gave us a sneak peek at his upcoming book and exhibition Harbor and Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710–1850, and the ever-astute Sumpter Priddy discussed the Federal furniture of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria (in a lecture sponsored by

Of course, the lectures are only half the reason to attend Antiques Forum, the other half being the fellowship. We got to reconnect with friends from Forums passed and make some new friends, particularly among the young scholars. One of the social events not to be missed is the annual barbeque at Shield’s Tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street sponsored by Ron Bourgeault of Northeast Auctions. Here we dined with Williamsburg furniture curator Tara Chicirda and then had a chance to catch up with Brock Jobe and his wife Barbara (seen here tolerantly posing for a photo with us).

If, by chance, you can’t make it to Forum, you should still make the trip to Williamsburg. Some folks think it’s a bit too “Disney,” but we love it. The houses, the shops, the museums (particularly the fabulous new home of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection), and definitely the food. For you carnivores definitely make a reservation or two at the historic taverns of Williamsburg; and for your veggies, like us, try Food for Thought on Richmond Road, the Blue Talon Bistro in the Market Square area of Williamsburg, and Sal’s by Victor for great pizza and Italian. And if you like breakfast, then don’t pass up Williamsburg’s many pancake houses, including Mama Steve’s, which is the favorite of longtime Winterthur curator Charlie Hummel (who also turned us on to Sal’s - thanks, Charlie!).


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