Thomas Nevell’s copy of the Carpenters’ Company Articles and Rules for Measuring and Valuing House-Carpenters Work, published in 1786, is an anomaly. As printed on the book plate, copies were loaned to members and were required to be returned to the Company at the time of their death. Indeed, the minutes of the Company record the actions of Company members visiting widows of deceased Carpenters’ Company members to retrieve copies of the Articles and Rules so they would not fall into the hands of non-members. Nevell’s personal copy is annotated with prices that would have been copied from a master book of prices at Carpenters’ Hall making it an invaluable research tool for historians. But was Nevell’s copy returned to the Carpenters’ Company before at the time of his death? We don’t know the answer because the copy of the Articles and Rules lent to Nevell cannot be located, all we have is the lucky circumstance of it being photographed by the Historic American Buildings Survey for the Library of Congress sometime in the mid-20th century. When Erin Kuykendall Thomas was working on her thesis on the working world of Thomas Nevell in 2010 we assumed it would be found at one of three locations: The Carpenters’ Company library at Carpenters’ Hall, the American Philosophical Society where many of the records of the Carpenters’ Company are on deposit, or the Library of Congress. But Ms. Thomas’s extensive research at the APS and Carpenters’ Hall and communication with librarians at the Library of Congress failed to turn up Nevell’s copy. Charles Peterson, F.A.I.A.. who wrote about finding an old packing crate containing some copies of the Articles and Rules while rummaging in the attic of Carpenters’ Hall, and would write the introduction and annotate the modern reprint of the Articles and Rules that is still in print, does not mention Nevell’s copy and it is unclear if he knew of its existence. So, we don’t know if Nevell’s copy was returned as per the by-laws of the Company. While it cannot be located today for examination or display we at least have the photographic plates made from it and with the digital world upon us, they are now available to the public for all to examine. You can find it here.
November 27, 2016
November 26, 2016
November 25, 2016
This urn and flowers cartouche from a chest on chest was carved in Philadelphia c.1775. The chest was sold at Sotheby’s in 2008. These photos were made during the auction preview. I’ve recently been teaching classes on carving a basket and flowers cartouche. The flowers, carved from a separate block of wood, were identical in both versions. The nicely carved flower in excellent condition on this cartouche provides additional information for carving the flower for the basket cartouche.
October 30, 2016
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September 30, 2016
September 28, 2016
Last week I attended the Oswaldo Rodriquez Roque Lecture and Symposium held in conjunction with the Art and Industry in Early America exhibition of Rhode Island furniture at the Yale University Art Gallery and was able to tour the exhibit over several days. You can listen to the opening keynote and view other videos concerning other aspects of the exhibition here.
September 19, 2016
I was pleased to be asked to speak at the Foundation for Appraisal Education annual conference this weekend at Freeman’s. This years theme is fakes and forgeries in the art market. It’s an impressive line-up of speakers with at least three of us dealing with the furniture trade.
The conference is only open to professional appraisers who gain credit for attending. I believe this seminar could sell out multiple times if open to the public. It’s rare for institutions to take on this topic though there have been museum exhibitions dedicated to fakes in the past. Bravo to Freeman’s for taking this on for for all of the speakers for agreeing to tell their stories and discuss the issues in public.