VIP Activities in New York



Americana Week in New York is always a blur of brown wood, auction paddles, and blustery winter weather. Amidst the hustle and bustle of this exciting season of American antiques, Trust members gathered for a series of three excellent outings as well as a bittersweet farewell to our beloved director Penny Hunt.

The tried-and-true constant of the VIP meeting is the guided tour through the Winter Antiques Show. Our impressive turnout, with the group numbering 66 strong, required visits on both Friday and Saturday. Guided by respected dealers and show participants, including Jonathan Trace and Carlie Berlin, the group received a thorough introduction to the top-quality wares available on the floor, from a spectacular Boston dressing table in walnut with provenance reaching back to James Otis in the booth of Nathan Liverant and Son to two eighteenth-century British officer’s uniforms in impeccable condition at Alexander Gallery. We all relished the opportunity to view the Peabody Essex Museum’s attractive and encyclopedic loan exhibition of their heralded collection. As in years past, the culmination of the Trust’s visit to the show was a lovely buffet lunch in the stunning Tiffany Room, accompanied by remarks by the show’s talented director, Catherine Sweeney Singer.

Our second stop was at Bard Graduate Center on the Upper West Side for the outstanding exhibition on the life and career of William Kent. Our guides were students in the Bard program, and they offered an insightful exploration of the beautifully installed show, which included numerous references to Kent-designed houses and objects incorporated in past and future Trust Study Trips Abroad, including Holkham Hall, which we will visit in September. If you did not have the opportunity to see this show in New York nor at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the weighty exhibition catalogue is at first intimidating, yet contains excellent scholarship and beautiful illustrations of this fascinating architect and designer’s oeuvre.

The final component of our VIP tour was a splendid stop at the charming and beautifully appointed apartment of Stiles Colwill. Going above and beyond the call of duty in providing four consecutive tours through his New York abode, Stiles demonstrated his deep knowledge of fine and decorative art and tasteful design as well as his abiding passion for the artists and craftsmen of Maryland. Members who were fortunate enough to have participated in the Baltimore symposium in 2005 recalled the visit to Stiles’s primary residence with great fondness. The true highlight of our time in New York was the send-off soiree in honor of the Trust’s long-time and much-loved director, Penny Hunt. We were hosted by Mr. Richard Hampton Jenrette and Trust Governor Margize Howell, Executive Director of the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, at the fabulous George Baker House.

A lively collective of 160 friends and admirers braved falling snow and freezing temperatures to thank Penny for thirty years of exceptional service to the Trust. The evening provided a perfect capstone for a sterling career as well as yet another exceptional tour organized by Penny. The event also raised upwards of $7,000 for the Hunt Initiative Fund. Established in her honor last year, this fund allows the Trust’s leadership to focus on innovative programs and projects that will build new constituencies and remain a prominent fixture in the decorative arts community. We thank you for your support!


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