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28th Mar / 2021
FHS Online Lecture – Adriana Turpin

‘From Bond Street to The Breakers: Dealers and the Development of the American Market for English Eighteenth-century Furniture c. 1900-1930’ Sunday 28 March 2021, 19:00 (BST)

By the end of the nineteenth century in Britain, there was a growing awareness of the importance of antique eighteenth-century English furniture. In order to understand better the mechanisms by which this furniture was acquired and collected in the USA, this paper will take as a starting point the role of dealers in the growing market, firstly in the UK with collectors such as Lord Lever (later Lord Leverhulme), and then considering the development of the trade in the USA between c.1900 and 1930.

While dealers in French furniture, such as Duveen, Gimpel, Windelstein or Sedelman are well-known and well-studied, there is very little written on the interest in English furniture which was developing among East Coast collectors. Alongside the markets for British paintings and French furniture, English furniture and complete interiors were also being sold to rich US collectors and museums; indeed the Duveen archives show that the New York firm extensively sold English furniture to its clients. This talk will consider the ways in which collectors, museum curators and dealers understood and developed this market in the early years of the twentieth century.

Image credit: Arthur S. Vernay Antiques shopfront, 10-12 East 45th St. New York, 1910. Courtesy, the Winterthur Library: Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera.

Adriana Turpin was the Academic Director of two MA programmes on the History and Business of Art and Collecting, run by the Institut d’Études Supèrieures des Arts in Paris, validated by the University of Warwick until 2017 and remains a consultant and teacher at IESA. As a furniture specialist, she teaches on English furniture and on collecting furniture. She is chair of the Grants Committee of the FHS and responsible for development and outreach for the British and Irish Furniture Makers Online database.  She is a founder member of the Seminar on Display and Collecting at the Institute of Historical Research, and is the co-editor of their publications; she is also the Chairman of the Society for the History of Collecting.

Adriana has written on a variety of topics related to collecting and to the history of furniture. Her most recent articles include: ‘Collecting French Furniture in the Nineteenth Century: Appropriation as a Form of Nationalism?’ in Art Crossing Borders: The Internationalisation of the Art Market in the Age of Nation States, 1750-1914, eds. Jan Dirk Baetens and Dries Lyna (Brill, 2019); ‘Objectifying the Domestic Interior: Domestic Furnishings and the Historical  Interpretation of the Italian Renaissance Interior, in The Early Modern Italian Domestic Interior, 1400-1700, eds. Erin Campbell, Stephanie R. Miller, Elizabeth Carroll Consavari (Ashgate, 2013).

This event is free for FHS members, and £5 for non-members.  If you are a non-member and would like to attend, please click here:

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The event code is MYGYJA.

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