WINTER 2015 NEWSLETTER
 


Early 19th century sea-serpent Grecian sofa, similar to one at The White House, in the 

Classical American Homes Preservation Trust collection at the George F. Baker House, New York City. 

(See article by Peter Kenny below)

 

Peter Kenny, new CAHPT Co-President, 
at the Winter Antiques Show.
Hello Winter!
Welcome Peter Kenny!

We here at Classical American Homes are excited for a truly historic 2015! This year we welcome Peter Kenny as Co-President of CAHPT. Peter is a 30-year veteran of The Met, most recently serving as Curator of American Decorative Arts and Administrator of the American Wing. Click here to read more about Peter.

 

We are once again planning for an exciting year filled with tours and events, but are gearing up for a special celebration in the spring when we celebrate Ayr Mount's Bicentennial (see below in Upcoming Events)! We know 2015 will be filled with learning and enrichment, celebration and surprise, and we can't wait for you to join us for all that's to come.  


Margaret Pritchard, CWF Curator of Prints, Maps and Wallpaper; John Metcalf, Tom Savage, Winterthur Director of Museum Affairs; Margize Howell, CAHPT Co-President; and Ralph Harvard.
AMERICANA WEEK
AND MORE
George F. Baker Houses
New York, NY

 

Although 2015 got off to a snowy start, we have been busy making arrangements for a full year of tours and events, with exciting milestones and visits from new and old friends to look forward to this year.

 

On January 20th, we welcomed to the George F. Baker House friends and guests from three influential museums - The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and Winterthur Museum and Gardens - for a cocktail reception celebrating Americana Week and the 61st Annual Winter Antiques Show in New York City. The bitter cold weather once again did not prevent us from a night filled with spectacular company, laughs, and good cheer. 

 

Also during Americana Week, highlights included the 2015 Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts hosted at Christie's and, of course, the Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory. See below for pictures and more information from both of these events. 

Dick Jenrette, Chairman of CAHPT, and Ragan Folan, President of Old Salem Museum and Gardens.
Mitchell Reiss, President and CEO of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF).
Colin Campbell, former CWF President, and David Roselle, Director of Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.
Coley Townsend and Margaret Pritchard.
Pemmie Frick, Greg Sullivan, Dick Jenrette, and Lisa Moore.
Leo Bretter, Morrie Heckscher, and Rob Froelich.
 
Wilson Pace, MESDA Development Office; Robert Leath, MESDA Chief Curator; and Laura Barry, CWF Curator of Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture.
Dick Jenrette, Linda Wells and Jeff Nuechterlein, CAHPT Board Director.
 
Jack Smith, CAHPT Executive Vice-President 
of Operations.
Margize Howell and Dick Jenrette welcoming everyone to the Baker House.
Peter Kenny, a long-time curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has recently joined the team at CAHPT as Co-President.


 
 

Peter Wunsch presenting the award named after his father, Martin Wunsch.

As mentioned, one of the highlights of Americana Week was the third annual Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts, hosted by Christie's the next evening on January 21st. This year the award honored Arnold Lehman, the Director of the Brooklyn Museum, and The Chipstone Foundation. Dick Jenrette and Classical American Homes, along with Linda Kaufman, were very fortunate to be the recipients of the award last year.

 

Since 1997, Arnold Lehman has served as the Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum. Under his leadership, he has prioritized both the individual visitor's experience and the community's engagement with the Museum through the presentation of innovative exhibitions and reinstallation of the permanent collection. Mr. Lehman, praised as a visionary in the museum world, has recently announced his plans to retire in June, after 18 years as director of the Museum. Visit the Brooklyn Museum's website for more information.

 

The Chipstone Foundation promotes and enhances the appreciation and knowledge of American material culture (emphasizing the decorative arts) by scholars, students and the general public. Through exhibitions, digital projects, teaching opportunities as well as the study and preservation of their collection, the Chipstone Foundation encourages new research questions and topics centered around a "living" collection of fine early American furniture, historical prints and early ceramics. Go to Chipstone.org to explore the range of programs, publications and offerings. 

Terry Carbone, Curator of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum; Arnold Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum; and Peter Wunsch.
Beth Wees, MMA Curator of American Decorative Arts, and Jon Prown, Executive Director and Chief Curator at Chipstone Foundation.
Linda Kaufman, last year's Wunsch Award recipient with Dick Jenrette and CAHPT, and Nonnie Frelinghuysen, MMA Curator of American Decorative Arts.
Peter Kenny, Jim Freeman, and Alan Miller.


 

Bidder number 999 at Christie's!

The 61st Annual Winter Antiques Show was held January 23 - February 1, 2015 in New York City. Featuring the "best of the best" from antiquities through the 1960s, the show consists of a loan exhibition, a Young Collectors Night, lectures, book signings, and 73 exhibitors (one-third who are specialists in Americana). This year's loan exhibition Ahead of the Curve: The Newark Museum 1909-2015 showcased exceptional pieces from the Newark Museum in New Jersey. The Museum is celebrating it's 106th anniversary this year.


 

Here are some pictures from the Opening Night of the Winter Antiques Show:
 

 

Dick Jenrette and Eula Johnson, Winter Antiques Show Coordinator for the East Side House Settlement.
Carswell Berlin presents a unique Duncan Phyfe cellarette c. 1815, New York.
Carved Lion's head detail from Phyfe cellarette (see image at left).
Susan Stein, Senior Curator & Vice-President of Museum Programs at the Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in front of a Bertoia screen.

Arie Kopelman, Co-Chair of the Winter Antiques Show, and Dick Jenrette, Chairman of CAHPT.
Arthur Liverant from Nathan Liverant and Son Antiques showing chalk mark on Newport lowboy.

We ended the busy Americana week by welcoming to the Baker House members from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Historic New England for a tour led by Mr. Jenrette, who was in the city briefly before departing for Cane Garden. 


 

The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) braved a dismal weather report and came to the George F. Baker House from Long Island for a cocktail reception. Their members enjoyed an evening tour of the house and a fun-filled cocktail reception. Interestingly enough, three members in attendance are great-granddaughters of George Fisher Baker: Asia Baker Stokes, Joanna Baker de Neufville, and Samantha Boardman Rosen. We were thrilled and intrigued as they shared family stories about their fathers and grandfather in this very fitting setting - and especially Joanna, as she grew up at 69 East 93rd Street.

Samantha Boardman Rosen and Asia Baker Stokes, great-granddaughters of George F. Baker.
Asia Baker Stokes and Joanna Baker de Neufville, great-granddaughters of George F. Baker.
Carol Large, Chairman of the Board of Old Westbury Gardens.
(Left to right) Peter Schiff, descendant of George F. Baker; Alexandra Wolfe, Director of SPLIA; and Lisa Schiff.

  


Shortly before Christmas, we hosted two separate events: a visit for Committee Members of the Garden Conservancy and the Annual General Meeting of The American Friends of the Georgian Group, with a fascinating lecture on Georgian follies by Charlottesville architect, Madison Spencer.
From the Garden Conservancy: Kevin Sharkey, Susan Burke, and Martha Stewart.
Pete McGee; Jenny DuPont, President and CEO of the Garden Conservancy; Maureen Donnell; Ben Lenhardt.
null
A warm fire to welcome The American Friends of the Georgian Group in December.
Madison Spencer, architect and distinguished speaker, discussing the topic of creative and extravagant examples of 18th century Georgian architecture.
An example of "Georgian Extravagance, Georgian Whimsy" from Madison Spencer's lecture.
Amie James (center), CAHPT Board Director, with friends Jill Donoghue (left), from the Institute of International and European Affairs, and wife of UN Representative of Ireland; and Anna van Oosterom (right), wife of UN Representative of Netherlands, recently touring the George F. Baker House.

Members of the Blue and Gray Education Society visited Millford Plantation as part of a tour that followed the footsteps of General Edward E. Potter (a relative of Nathaniel Potter, the architect who built Millford Plantation for John Laurence and Susan Hampton Manning). 

 

We look forward to welcoming old and new friends and supporters to each of our properties this year. It's not too early to begin planning a spring adventure with us to experience first-hand the many adventures with old houses that CAHPT offers

 

If you have a group who would like to visit any of our properties, please visit our website, www.classicalamericanhomes.org to submit your tour request. 


Sculptural Masterpiece, Mythical Terror
By Peter Kenny

Scrolled, sea-serpent ends on this early 19th century Grecian sofa.

With its writhing, scrolled, sea-serpent ends this richly carved Grecian sofa is one of the most dynamic furniture forms made in early nineteenth century America.  Presented to the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust by Richard Hampton Jenrette in 2013, this sofa now stands in the foyer of the George F. Baker townhouse in New York, welcoming, perhaps on occasion frightening, the numerous guests who attend our Trust programs and receptions there.

 

Fourteen sculptural sofas of this type are known, including examples in the collections of the White House and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The majority of these have relatively benign, blunt-nosed, sea creatures on the ends, a feature that has earned them the name "dolphin sofas". However, two of the fourteen, including the CAHPT example, feature more fearsome creatures with gaping jaws full of jagged teeth, a far cry from the mythical dolphins of classical antiquity that were believed to be talismans who buoyed shipwrecked sailors to safety. The more fearsome creature was known as the ketos, a monster that both fascinated and terrified the ancients. 

(Fig. 1) Herakles fights the Ketos. Caeretan hydria, ca. 520-510 B.C. from Stavros S. Niarchos collection, Athens, Greece.
The ketos figures prominently in Greek mythology in the stories of Herakles and Hesione (fig. 1) and Perseus and Andromeda (fig. 2). Both of these myths center on the story of a man who has angered the gods and is then forced to pay the terrible price of having to offer his daughter as an appeasement to a vengeful Poseidon--who sends the ketos to devour her. Luckily, Herakles and Perseus arrive just in the nick of time to save the damsels, slaying the ketos with their scythe-like hooked knives.

 

A three-dimensional, sculptural ketos on a sofa such as the CAHPT example would easily have conjured these ancient mythological tales in the mind of a sophisticated, classically-educated client around 1820, when this sofa was made in New York. By this date, a new, richly ornamented Grecian style - an amalgam of French Empire and 
late English Regency design - had become all the rage there. In the vanguard of this new style were New York's pre-eminent cabinetmakers of the day, Charles-Honoré Lannuier
(Fig. 2) Perseus and Andromeda, oil on canvas, by Titian, ca. 1554-1556 from the Wallace Collection, London
(1779-1819) and Duncan Phyfe (1770-1854), whose signature winged caryatid and griffin card and pier tables graced the parlors of elite clients from New York to the coastal American South and even into the Caribbean. Neither of these great master cabinetmakers, however, seem to have been involved in the production of these highly distinctive dolphin and ketos sofas, leaving their authorship, at least for the present, a mystery of the deep.

   
The Crowther Family
Profile: David Crowther

Site Supervisor, Cane Garden
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

 

 

This newsletter's "CAHPT profile" will focus on David Crowther, site supervisor at Estate Cane Garden in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. David has been managing the Cane Garden property since 1994, when he began working for Richard Jenrette.

 

Estate Cane Garden is idyllically set on a high hill - some 90 feet above sea level - overlooking 300 verdant acres and the turquoise-blue of the Caribbean, on the south shore of St. Croix. Originally owned by Count DuVal of France and later used as a monastery, it was then acquired and owned by the Christopher McEvoy family for several generations. The McEvoys were Scotch-Irish planters who obtained Danish citizenship and became wealthy from the production of sugar cane. The hundreds of acres of sugar cane surrounding the house on the hill gave it the name "Cane Garden."  

 

In search of an on-site caretaker for Cane Garden in 1994, Mr. Jenrette received a recommendation from David's brother, Bill, who had been successfully managing Ayr Mount for ten years. Mr. Jenrette hoped to duplicate that success and hired David Crowther. David then moved to St. Croix with his wife, Dulcie, and took on the responsibility of overseeing and maintaining Cane Garden, which is a private residence of Dick Jenrette to be given to CAHPT at a later date.

 

Aerial view of Estate Cane Garden, St. Croix, USVI.

Originally from Berwick, Maine, David grew up in a large family with five sisters and three brothers. After high school, David opted to work and extensively travel the United States. Along the way, David picked up scuba diving and eventually began working in the commercial diving field.

 

David's task of maintaining and preserving Estate Cane Garden involves many diverse tasks and unique challenges. With the house's location on a high hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea, weather and the elements present the need for constant upkeep of the house and grounds. David has also shepherded the property through many hurricanes over the years, some of which have proven quite destructive. He credits the great house with being resilient and sound during storms, while the carefully manicured lawns and gardens usually sustain heavy damage. David is also keenly interested in the house's history and collection of island mahogany furniture and, along with Dulcie, acts as docent for tours of Cane Garden.

 

David and Dulcie have been married for 17 years and have two sons: Wylie, age 14, and Cooper, age 12. In his spare time, David enjoys recreational diving and snorkeling, and is an avid surfer, following the best breaks around St. Croix. He also plays guitar and is a singer/songwriter with friends in a local band, affectionately known as "Dick's Garage" 

 

Planning a trip to the Caribbean? Schedule a tour for your group, and go see the beautiful work David does to keep Cane Garden in tip-top shape!

 


A Scenic Relay Run at Ayr Mount's
Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail (HOST)
Hillsborough, NC
 
Another racer crosses the 
finish line!

On January 25th, Bull City Running Co. in Durham, NC sponsored a relay at the original and only surviving NASCAR dirt track, known today as the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail (HOST), which is part of the nearly 300 acres owned by CAHPT and adjacent to Ayr Mount, the 1815 historic house. Over 200 runners and viewers came out on a sunny day to benefit Classical American Homes' ongoing efforts to connect HOST and Ayr Mount with the rest of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

 

Teams with names like the Road Warriors, the Grey Hares, Shake n' Bake, Skid Marks, and Lady Lightning came out from the Triangle area and out-of-state to run 20 laps around the track, making their total distance covered roughly 13.5 miles.
Relay team #33 from Durham, NC.
Teams passing the baton with a crowd eagerly watching.
It was a fun-filled opportunity to be outdoors with family and friends, run around a historic track, and benefit a wonderful cause! If you are interested, in April the Boy Scout Troop 328 is scheduled to have another 5K run.


(All photos courtesy of Bull City Running Co.)
Dick Jenrette receiving the Albert Simons Medal of Excellence from Valerie Morris, Dean of the College of Charleston School of the Arts.
Richard Hampton Jenrette
Receives the Simons Award
Charleston, SC

On Thursday, November 6th, Richard H. Jenrette was awarded The Albert Simons Medal of Excellence for his dedicated work in historic preservation. Thomas Gordon Smith, Professor of Architecture at The University of Notre Dame, was also awarded the Simons Award for outstanding work in design and education.

 

The Albert Simons Medal honors individuals who have excelled in one or more of the following areas: civic design, architectural design, historic preservation, and urban planning. The award was presented by the Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program of the College of Charleston School of the Arts. Prior recipients of the Simons Medal include: His Royal Highness Prince Charles - The Prince of Wales, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, John D. Milner, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Allan Greenberg.


Albert Simons, Dick Jenrette, and Thomas Gordon Smith.
Sallie and Charlie Duell, CAHPT Board Director and President of Middleton Place, with Dick Jenrette.

 

Click here to read The Post and Courier article on Dick Jenrette receiving the award, "Richard Jenrette leaving a rich legacy of old houses and new museums."

 


UPCOMING EVENTS - Save these Dates on your Calendar!
 
Peter Kenny at the Winterthur Furniture Forum
Friday, March 6th
Winterthur, DE

The Winterthur Furniture Forum will take place on March 4-7, 2015 with a series of lectures, tours and workshops focusing on the theme From New Netherland to Empire State: New York Furniture. Peter Kenny, Co-President at CAHPT, will be speaking on Friday, March 6th on "Line and Berry Inlay in a Dutchman's 'Schrutoor': The Tale of a Remarkable Fall-Front Writing Desk from Western Long Island."

Please click on the image (at right) to see a PDF version of the Furniture Forum Schedule as well as registration information. 


A Dinner to Celebrate Ayr Mount's 200th Anniversary
Saturday, May 2nd 
5:30 PM cocktails / 7:00 PM Dinner
Hillsborough, NC
Ayr Mount, built in 1815, located along the Eno River in Hillsborough, NC.

Mark your calendars! Richard Hampton Jenrette and Classical American Homes Preservation Trust cordially invite you to a benefit for Ayr Mount on Saturday, May 2nd, to celebrate its Bicentennial. Come tour the house and stroll the grounds, enjoy drinks and a dinner at this exceptional historic house. Please come help us celebrate Ayr Mount's 200th Birthday!

More details to come, please check our website for updates or contact our office at (212) 369-4460.


Amy Schwartz Moretti, on violin, to join Robert deMaine, on cello, and Dr. James Wilhelmsen, on piano, at Millford.
Music at Millford 
Sunday, September 13th
Millford, Pinewood, SC

We are delighted to announce the fourth annual Music at Millford on Sunday afternoon, September 13, 2015. 

Last year's sold-out performance is a testament to the virtuosos featured in this program. Robert deMaine, Principal Cello of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and James Wilhelmsen on piano, are returning to Millford for an encore performance joined by Amy Schwartz Moretti, Director of the McDuffie Center for Strings, on violin. This collaboration is sure to be a phenomenal musical experience at one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the country.

Click here for information about Millford. And, stay tuned for more information about this event.


Your Discerning Eye... Can You Spot the Difference?
(Hint, there are ten....)
The Library at the George F. Baker House, New York City





What's different about the bottom image:

 

1. Portrait of George F. Baker by Frank Owen Salisbury replaced with portrait of George 

Washington by Charles Peale.

2. Bust of Daniel Webster swapped for small bust of Benjamin Franklin.

3. Flowers on desk replaced with red leather case and the flowers moved to the coffee table.

4. Telephone has been removed from desk.

5. Federal sidechair swapped with Federal armchair.

6. Stuffed rabbit appeared on Chippendale-style stool by the window.

7. French Porcelain de Paris urn swapped for English Barr, Flight & Barr porcelain vase.

8. Armchairs beside sofa swapped.

9. Red and gold tasseled pillows on sofa replaced with floral needlepoint pillows.

10. Polka-dots added to curtains.

 

Support our mission to preserve, protect and open to the public examples of classical American residential architecture, surrounding landscapes and scenic trails, as well as fine and decorative arts of the first half of the 19th century.