Reproductions from stately homes here and abroad
Eighteenth-century elegance, tradition, and formality are captured in two important new reproduction programs based on furnishings from stately homes and elegant manor houses on both sides of the Atlantic.Skip to next paragraph
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Baker Furniture Company's impressive collection is ''Furniture from the Stately Homes of England and Scotland.'' The second, a licensing program called ''Reproductions from the Winterthur Collections,'' is based on objects selected from the Winterthur Museum near Wilmington, Del. Both are debuting through September in retail stores and wholesale showrooms across the country.
Both groups are sumptuous reminders of the design and cabinetmaking skills of the past. The 202 objects chosen for reproduction from Winterthur's 60,000 antiques include furniture, looking glasses, clocks, textiles, wallcoverings, silver, porcelain, paintings, tapestries, brass, pewter, and miniatures.
Winterthur, opened as a historic house museum in 195l, was the home of the late Henry Francis du Pont. It housed his own preeminent collection of American antiques, which he began in 1923 - and which eventually spanned two centuries ( 1640 to 1840) of objects used or made in the United States.
To Mr. du Pont each piece he discovered in his more than half century of searching and purchasing told a unique tale of domestic activity, as well as the economic and social conditions of the communities in which they were made. He became a scholar and an authority on American antiquities. At his death in 1969, he left his 963-acre estate, his manor house -- which had been expanded many times over the years to house his collections -- and his extensive gardens as a legacy to the American people.
The reproduction program was proposed by Winterthur's Board of Trustees two years ago, when decreases in major grants and increases in operating expenses demanded that other revenue-producing means be found to assure the museum's future. According to Dr. James Morton Smith, director of the museum, ''We searched a long time to find the licensees best qualified to reproduce the treasures of Wintherthur - and who could meet our demands for quality and fine craftsmanship.''
Most of the objects chosen are from the Queen Anne, Chippendale, and Federal periods -- ''what we think of as the golden age of American design, from 1740 to 1815,'' says Terry Learned, marketing director of the reproduction program. More objects will be added to the program as time goes on. Licensees include Kindel Furniture Company, La Barge Mirrors Inc., and Reed and Barton Silversmiths. Textiles are being made by Stroheim and Romann and Brunschwig & Fils. Textile wall hangings are from Tapestry Treasures Ltd. Porcelain, brass, and glass accessories are coming from Mottahhedeh and Company Inc. The list is completed by wallpapers from Albert Van Luit Inc., clocks from Colonial Clocks, paintings from Canvasback Art Company, pewter mugs from Engelfields Ltd. of London, leather from Middletown Leather Co., and miniatures from Malcolm Thomas Inc.
New York interior designer Mario Buatta designed the Winterthur Gallery in Wilmington, where the museum's reproductions and adaptations will be sold. This gallery will also serve as prototype for duplication in the 56 leading furniture and department stores across the US that will feature the items, including Marshall Field's in Chicago, Altman's in N.Y., Bullock's in Los Angeles, and Paine's in Boston.
Many of the same stores will also carry Baker's ''Stately Homes'' collection. Other stores featuring the Baker collection include Wanamaker's in Philadelphia, Jordan Marsh in Boston, Macy's in San Francisco, Woodward & Lothrop in Washington, D.C., Hall's in Kansas City, and even Harrods in London.