A Burlington County Quaker Discovery

Recently, we visited a Quaker family in Burlington County, NJ on a house call. Among other items, they wished to consign this photograph. The image itself was curious and we wondered if there might be something more hidden behind the photo.

One clue - The frame was grain painted beneath the varnish.

Another clue - The frame construction appeared to be older than the image it contained.

Plus a wood backboard and undisturbed tacks.

I took it home and left it in a corner for a few days. Finally, at the right moment, I sat down and carefully removed the tacks. I was hoping for a fraktur or a birth/marriage certificate. I held my breath.

It was an Award of Merit, issued at Westtown School in Pennsylvania in 1886 to Edward T. Middleton.

I assume, the calligraphy was executed by Edwin Thorp, who was a teacher at Westtown School at that time. These awards are lovely and I'm certain, a coveted trophy by the student.

But, why was the award covered by an odd photograph? I did some more research and discovered

a heartbreaking incidental memory in the Friends Intelligencer, 1892. The poor parents must have been devastated at the death of their son. I suppose, the Award of Merit, hung with pride in their home. To hide the painful memory the award was covered by a photo of a stairway, leading to heaven or an unfinished house (unfinished life)

I contacted the consigner and they wished to keep the calligraphy. They have a son named Edward. They did not know this story. I hope, if anyone ever learns about my heritage that they will share it with me.


Grant Wood- American Gothic & Other Fables at the Whitney Museum in NYC

I am a child of the 60's. I knew the painting American Gothic and associated it with Kellogg's Cornflakes. Now that I am approaching my 60's, I have come to appreciate Grant Wood's skill. I highly recommend a trip to the Whitney Museum in NYC to view the exhibition of Grant Wood's work. I find it very engaging. There is also a beautiful book for purchase filled with his creations and interesting essays. On view until June 2018.

Overmantel Decoration by Grant Wood, painted the same year as American Gothic 1930

Lilies of the Alley - earthenware pot and found objects by Grant Wood, 1925

Plaid Sweater by Grant Wood, 1931

Corn Cob Chandelier for the Iowa Club Room by Grant Wood, 1925

The Birthplace of Herbert Hoover by Grant Wood, 1931

Stained Glass Window by Grant Wood

Dinner for Threshers by Grant wood, 1931

Appraisal by Grant Wood, 1931

Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Grant Wood, 1931

American Gothic by Grant Wood, 1930 ( his sister & his dentist were the models!)




Philadelphia Antiques & Art Show 2018

Here are some of my favs from the show......

Charlie checking out the Paint Decorated Child's desk, circa 1820-1830 in th booth of Kelly Kinzle

Paint Decorated Child's desk circa 1820-1830, Kelly Kinzle

Patchwork Quilt of 28 Buildings in the booth of Olde Hope Antiques

Pair of African American Andirons in the booth of Steven S. Powers

Mock Orange by daughter of a slave, Ida Jones displayed in the booth of Steven S. Powers

Fly Eagles Fly!!!! For a Super Bowl fan- a full body eagle weathervane. A gift from President Woodrow Wilson in 1920 to a deserving citizen. The eagle was placed on a pole and surrounded by trees. The trees grew and obscured the vane. Eventually, the eagle was placed in a barn where it sat until now. In the booth of Nathan Liverant & Son

The booth of Jim & Nancy Glazer

The booth of Charles Clark

Love these! Porcelain Garden Seats in the booth of John Chaski

Somerville Manning Gallery


Museum of the American Revolution – Verplanck’s Point Camp

The Museum of the American Revolution opened Spring, 2017. During that time, Charlie & I were in the middle of a major move, from our home of 30+ years in Moorestown, NJ to Maplewood, NJ. Simultaneously, our daughter decided she wanted to get married during all the commotion. We produced a lovely February 2018 wedding for her (60 degree temps that day, to my relief) I mention this only because now we seem to be locked into the winter that will never end, even in April!

At the first opportunity in February, 2018 we determined to see the Verplanck’s Point Exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution located at 101 South Third Street in Philadelphia. I was VERY excited to see this exhibit.

On display in the first floor exhibition hall was a 7 foot long panorama of a Revolutionary War watercolor that is “the only known wartime depiction of George Washington’s headquarters tent.”   It was breathtaking, not only in terms of artistic merit, but, because it was an actual depiction of the layout of the camp at Verplanck’s Point in New York in 1782.


Where is Verplanck’s Point and who was Verplanck? According to the HudsonValleyGal, Verplanck’s Point was originally purchased from the Native Americans by Dutch colonist Stevanus Van Cortlandt in 1683. His granddaughter Gertrude inherited the property and married Philip Verplanck who renamed the land Verplanck in place of the original Native American name, Meanagh. By the way, Philp’s parents were Jacobus Verplanck and Margaret Schuyler.

Verplanck’s Point is located on the east side of the Hudson River, off Route 9 across from Bear Mountain State Park. Today, it is a peaceful setting, where a few  markers acknowledge  historic events and an important 18th century ferry crossing. This crossing was commandeered by the British during the Revolution. Washington made an attempt to reclaim this ferry crossing but his plan was neutralized. Eventually, the British moved on, leaving the ferry crossing unoccupied and allowing for the Washington encampment. (

The 7 foot panorama was painted by Pierre Charles L’Enfant. L’Enfant was the son of a painter and had studied at the Louvre among other prestigious art institutes. He came to America as a French soldier and served on Washington’s staff in Valley Forge and in the Hudson Valley.

The watercolor was divided into 6 parts, mounted on linen and bound in book form. It was auctioned in May, 2017 at Heritage Auctions and purchased by Philip Mead, chief historian and director of curatorial affairs at the Museum of the Revolution. Mead was thrilled to purchase such an important piece of American history that coincided with the Museum’s opening and depicts the historic headquarters tent.

A word about the Museum. If you go, allow plenty of time. There is much to see, read, experience, and ponder. Take the children. Even though there is a lot of reading, the experience will stay with them. Lots of hands on activities. I particularly enjoyed the film in the theatre that discussed the war. The finale of Washington’s actual tent on display is very moving. The Verplanck's Point exhibition closed on February 19, 2018.


New York Ceramics and Glass Fair, 2018

Here are some scenes from the 2018 New York Ceramics and Glass Fair.

Hideaki Miyamura

Hideaki Miyamura

Paul Vandekar, seated

Art Reed Blown Glass Table in the booth of Jill Fenichell

Jill Fenichell with Art Reed Blown Glass Table

 Booth of Lynda Willauer

18th century mourning rings in the booth of Moylan/Smelkinson

Mourning rings - Moylan/Smelkinson

Pair of porcelain iris by Katherine Houston Porcelain