Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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at our new space:  http://haughtoninternationalfairs.wordpress.com/ for the latest news on all the Haughton International Fairs.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Same Time, Next Year

I was absolutely beguiled by this eagle's head from Brian Haughton - my top pick of the show and, as the red dot testifies, someone else's as well
 Right now the trucks are driving onto the Armory floor and all the glamor, history, and objets of vertue which dazzled us for the past several days are being carefully blanket wrapped and stowed away. 

But whether or not your souvenir is an ormolu-mounted eagle's head or a feeling of inspiration, it remains true that the International Show is a place of fascination and great beauty - something we could all use more of. 

Dealer Spotlight: Maison Gerard

EEE:  One can’t help but notice all these wonderful pieces of lacquer.  How did you find all of these pieces?

Benoist Drut of Maison Gerard: Every year we try to design a room around some kind of a theme.  And thanks to these three pieces - a pair of cabinets by Jansen, and the black lacquer cabinet by Ramsay - we thought it would be a nice mix to play with. 

A limited edition macassar ebony and red lacquer bookcase by Jean Berenger de Nattes
We also wanted to showcase the work of Jean Berenger de Nattes who is a contemporary French designer.  This bookshelf is a limited edition of eight.  It’s extremely well done -  the base is bronze gilt with 24 karat gold but done in both matte and shiny finishes.  The inside is red lacquer, so we thought we had a theme.

One of a pair of cabinets by Jansen

When you think of the first use of lacquer in the decorative arts, you think of chinoiserie and Japanese or Chinese screens.  These pieces don’t really reference that.

The tortoiseshell lacquer center table by Jansen could probably qualify to be a direct heir to the eighteenth century, but it’s true that the three cabinets are very different.  One reason is that the lacquer is Bakelite lacquer.  Shortly after the second World War, a company created a new process using Bakelite which was the first non-natural lacquer.  It was a lacquer that was far more durable, easier to use, and which also allowed you to play with many more colors than natural lacquer would have.  Leleu and other designers at that time only used this when it came to their lacquer. 

Installing your stand as a room must give clients an idea of how it might look in their own residence. 


And even though there is a bed in the middle of the floor, it doesn’t necessarily look like a bedroom.  This could be a salon, this could be any room…

That’s the way we envisioned it.  We are lucky enough to have a large booth with a 12’ high ceiling and every year we do try to come up with something current as if you were stepping into an apartment.  It’s one thing to sell furniture, it’s another thing to show people how they may want to live with it.  And we also belong to the school that less is more and there is no need to plaster everything all over and show as much as possible.  To me, this is the opportunity to select a few things, to showcase them  - and we please ourselves as well!  It’s nice to sit in this room and not have it look like a store and believe that you really could live here. 

I love the floor…

This was Christopher’s find and fight!  It’s parquet de Versailles but it’s made of reclaimed wood so it’s totally green - the same way antiques are green, because basically you are reusing something which has already been created so you don’t need to cut more wood or melt more iron.  The parquet just fit in well with everything else.

It does.  It’s elegant and a nod to historicism – yet it’s unfinished, left in its natural state -  so it’s a wonderful combination of contemporary and traditional.  And lacquer seems to me to be very much like that.  There is a timelessness to it.  It’s never gone out of fashion.

To go back to your point about the 18th century and modernity, when you look at those cabinets, they are all very much neoclassical in their shape and it almost could be 18th century in a way – and yet it’s not.  It’s not, because the proportions are slightly accentuated and their height is too tall or not tall enough compared to 18th centure pieces. So they have the flair of the 18th century but are clearly of the 1940s.

Tell me about the lantern.
It’s a contemporary work by French designer Herve van der Straetten.  Herve is a very talented designer. He started designing jewelery many many years ago and right away went into furniture.  It’s an old design of his – it’s a reference to Ancient Greece, but also to an Andre Arbus design of the 1940s.   

Here again it’s the bringing together of neoclassicism and the influence of the 40s into a contemporary way of life and setting.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Madeleine Castaing Launch Party

Last night friends, colleagues and family turned out to help me celebrate the publication of The World of Madeleine Castaing.   The Haughtons along with Bruce Addison, Maureen Footer and Charlotte Moss generously hosted the launch party which took place in the International Show's Glorious Food Cafe.

The hosts of the evening: Maureen Footer, Bruce Addison, and Charlotte Moss
Beth and her team from Potterton Books kept me on track...

...which I needed because it was too much fun talking to everyone...

...like the extremely stylish milliner Rod Keenan and connoisseur Philip Hewat-Jaboor
Pigs in blankets and miniature grilled cheese sandwiches from Glorious Food kept everyone happy as did the absolutely delicious and refreshing special cocktail of the evening, the Cointreau Blush, courtesy of Remy Cointreau.

  1. Put ice into a tall glass
  2. Add 30ml Cointreau
  3. Add 10ml Lime juice
  4. Top with 60ml Pink grapefruit
  5. Finish with 70ml Soda
  6. Stir well
  7. Add a lime wedge as a garnish

Thank you to everyone who came - it was thrilling meeting other kindred members of the cult of Castaing!  And a special thank you to Magda Grigorian and the International Show for a most splendid evening.

Reception for The Park Avenue Tree Lighting Committee

Jo-Ann Polise, Derek Limbocker, Barbara McLaughlin, President of the Fund for Park Avenue, Anna Haughton, Ronald Spencer, Esq.
 This Monday, the International Show hosted a private reception in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Park Avenue Tree Lighting.  This long tradition of illuminating the trees on Park Avenue began as a way to honor the men and women who died in World War II, and it continues to serve as a memorial to all who have made the greatest sacrifice for their country. 

It was particularly appropriate to gather at the Armory as it was home to the original Seventh Regiment who participated in the first ceremony in 1945.  This Veterans Day, the process of installing the trees from 54th to 96th Street will begin.  Mark your calendars for December 5th, when they will be lit for the 65th year in a row.

Mary Kelberg and Elaine Arace

Barbara McLaughlin and William T. Castro, Manhattan Borough Commissioner, NYC Dept of Parks and Recreation
Amy and Carter Beal

Seton Melvin
Bryan and Catherine Carey
Eugenie Niven Goodman
Barbara and Kevin McLaughlin and Mary Davidson

Tom and Paula Burchill
All photos by Laurie Lambrecht

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brockschmidt and Dragisic Select

The striking carnelian color of this Swedish Grace bed by Axel Einar Hjorth, c. 1929, put this at the top of this list.  From H.M. Luther
Architect Richard Dragisic and designer Bill Brockschmidt, one half of the Brockschmidt and Coleman firm who are noted for their embrace of color and antiques, toured the International Show with this mission: to select their favorite works.  The rules: each piece must be something they would love to have themselves and they both had to agree.

Richard and Bill's classical leanings guided them to this magnificent Regency rosewood and blue scagiola side cabinet.  It is reputed to come from Lady Kenmare's famously chic Villa la Fiorentina.  From Apter-Fredericks.

 One part of a three piece garniture.  The juxtaposition of the naive iron flames with the refined Classical urn is charmingly eccentric as is the use of ormolu for only the front.  From Foster-Gwin/Il Quadrifoglio

A tall Queen Anne Pier Glass with surprisingly modern star and diamond border.  From Ronald Phillips.
Richard and Bill selected these Han dynasty pottery owls for Bill's partner, Courtney Coleman.  The heads can be moved around and repositioned.  From H.M. Luther.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Huon Mallelieu Selects

Huon Mallelieu: Behind that warm smile is a rapier sharp eye
You never know whom you'll meet at the Show.  I happened upon connoisseur par excellence, Huon Mallelieu, one of my personal heroes. While he couldn't divulge all of his choice picks of the show, he did share one with me. (You'll have to read the next issue of Country Life for the others.)

Mallelieu's discerning eye singled out the two volume Biblia Latina, an illuminated manuscript on vellum, dating to 1435-45, at Dr. Jorn Guenther Rare Books.  This glimpse into the world of rare manuscripts and books left me feeling as if I had stepped into the da Vinci Code.

EEE: Why is this manuscript such a standout?

HM:  Because of the exact quality of the illuminations, the initials.  There’s something wonderfully modern in the coloring. And the colors themselves are really quite unusual.  It’s in wonderful condition.  Look at that gold just sparkling off it – it’s absolutely glorious.
How did it come to be so well-preserved?

Dr. Jorn Guenther: You have to remember that these kinds of books were hand-written before the invention of printing.  They were the most expensive treasures of a monastery and so they were always very expensive to produce.  It’s the equivalent of 30 sheep with which you could buy a small house.


It was taken care of because it was so valuable.

Yes, if it was destroyed by fire or something like this, they would have lost their intellectual treasure.  You can replace an altarpiece in an amount of time, but to replace this manuscript would take about two years.  You could only copy one from the other.  And of course book lovers love books!

Which monastery does it come out of?

We don’t know exactly, but it was done in Utrecht.  We know the person who commissioned it.  It is signed and dated which is unusual. 

Oh – why is that unusual?

They did it [the transcribing] for the faith of God, not to sign their name.

Ah – it’s a sign of vanity…

That’s twentieth century.

HM: Ego…

How long have you had these?

I would say something like a year.

Do a lot of people collect religious manuscripts?

HM: It’s a rather small but very sophisticated market.

We have connoisseurs and collectors, not decorators.  If someone starts a collection, they’ll keep it going 20 or 30 years.

It’s not just institutions then?

I would say it’s about 80% private clients.

Really?!  That is fascinating.