Decorative arts enthusiasts had a smashing time visiting the Winter Show, Philipse Manor Hall, Morris-Jumel Mansion, and a private apartment during the Decorative Arts Trust’s 2020 New York Antiques Weekend.
Held from January 24-25, the program sold out within a few short weeks. On Friday, January 24, Trust members met at the Park Avenue Armory (home of The Winter Show) and boarded a coach to be whisked away on an outing to two rarely visited historic houses. We began at Philipse Manor Hall in Yonkers, where Federick Philipse III expanded an earlier family home to create an updated structure showcasing extraordinary 1750’s Rococo carved woodwork and a stunning papier-mâché ceiling, one of only two that survive in America. The latter was recently restored as part of a “Save America’s Treasures” project. While the evolution of the house from a late-17th-century Dutch dwelling to a grand Palladian edifice is not well documented, Philipse III’s addition contains New York’s earliest extant expressions of the Rococo taste. Furniture historian Luke Beckerdite has connected the carving to Henry Hardcastle, a talented English immigrant craftsman who arrived in New York in 1751. Philipse Manor also contains an impressive collection of presidential portraits, including the six presidents from New York State. The group enjoyed a Cuban lunch at the Manor Hall and before departing for Manhattan’s Washington Heights and the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
The oldest extant house in Manhattan, the Morris-Jumel Mansion was built in 1765 by Roger Morris, a British military officer, whose father was a London architect, who recommended an octagonal parlor extension on the back of the house, the first in Colonial America. Following decades of neglect, Eliza and Stephen Jumel purchased Mount Morris in 1810 and began a series of alterations that resulted in an updated Greek Revival house. The property became a museum in the early 20th century, and the exhibition was primarily dedicated to the Revolutionary War, when Washington briefly occupied Mount Morris as his headquarters. In recent years, the board and staff of the Morris-Jumel Mansion has updated the interpretation of the interiors to focus on the strength of the collection. Original elements from Eliza Jumel’s 1820s refurbishment were returned, which are supplemented by sympathetic decorative arts. Of particular note are the broad array of reproduction wallpapers commissioned by the staff to represent the Jumels’ interiors. The octagonal parlor features a sky and cloud motif, and the dining room contains a Zuber pattern called the Draped Cone.
Saturday began with the much-anticipated private tours of The Winter Show. Members were wowed by a variety of unique objects from furniture to silver to ceramics, described to our small groups by dealers who knew them inside and out. Also impressive was the Show’s special loan exhibition Unrivaled, which embodies the Hispanic Society Museum & Library’s exceptional collection, with masterworks from throughout the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America, and the Philippines by artists including Velázquez, El Greco, and Francisco de Goya. Lunch followed in the elegant Board of Officers Room designed by Herter Brothers.
Later Saturday afternoon, members traveled to the stunning apartment of Rhetta Felton in the Verona, a c. 1908 Renaissance Revival building by William E. Mowbray on the Upper East Side. The renowned firm of Vincent Fourcade and Robert Denning served Mrs. Felton and her late husband as interior designers in their trademark “Le Goût Rothschild” mode. Against the backdrop of the apartment’s original interior woodwork, Fourcade and Denning laid out the Feltons’ impressive collection of English and French furniture; French, English, and Chinese porcelain; and Continental fine art. While we cannot fully describe the treasures in Rhetta Felton’s home for privacy reasons, we can say that tour participants were thrilled to see her spacious and beautifully appointed home.
Overall, yet another New York Antiques Weekend was a phenomenal success!
Details about the 2021 New York Antiques Weekend will be announced in late fall 2020. The Trust has many more special programs and events scheduled for 2020 and 2021. Sign up for our e-newsletter or follow us on social media for updates. Members at the Ambassador level and above receive early pre-registration for events.