Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAR-APR 2013

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Left - An inlaid cherry Kentucky sugar chest, circa 1820 with star and string decoration. Tis example sold at Garth���s for $7,520. Center - Tis horn cup was presented to Kentucky militia General Green Clay after he successfully defended Fort Meigs (Ohio) during a critical battle of the War of 1812. Tis signifcant piece of Ohio Valley history came to Garth���s from a collection in St. Louis, where it had traveled from the Clay Plantation in Kentucky. It sold for $38,775. Right - An eponymous example of regional signifcance on material culture, the furniture from Soap Hollow, Pennsylvania is distinctively decorated and wildly collectible. With three top drawers, bold decoration and a strong signature, this ���Cadillac��� example brought $132,250 at Garth���s, setting a record price for the category. infuenced by the geographic character of the area, ethnic and religious makeup of the population, indigenous materials and accessibility of major centers of commerce. Regional design was heavily infuenced by style makers in major cities, with craftsmen in smaller towns developing their own version. Some elements were lost, some gained - with the loose interpretation known as a ���vernacular��� or ���colloquial��� style. When a style can be readily identifed by comparing an unknown example to documented pieces, we can begin to understand the material culture of an area. Attribution does not have to be so technical, however. Tiger maple chest? Most certainly made in New England, Pennsylvania or Ohio - why? That���s where the wood was found. Kasten (or, schrank, depending upon your preference): nine times out of 10 it was made in Pennsylvania, New York or New Jersey as both words translate from Dutch (and German) to ���cupboard,��� and those areas had large numbers of immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries. If you are looking for a way to refine your collecting taste, consider a regional focus. Serving your favorite bread pudding from a new (old) southern sideboard will add an element of sophisticated authenticity that will serve up a healthy helping of nostalgia for any guest. sl Amelia and Jef Jefers are the co-owners of Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers, an international frm located outside Columbus, Ohio. slmag.net 35

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