In this column going forward, we will be looking at a range of antiques and art. By way of introduction, it seems right to talk a little bit about the use of antiques and art in interior design.

For many people, furnishing a new or existing home, planning rooms around antiques and art may not be the first thing they think of. Rather, the size and color of that new sectional sofa, and whether to do drapes or blinds, may be more the focus.

Antique furniture and quality art objects can be powerful drivers of decoration. If key pieces are chosen early for each room, larger pieces, like dining tables, cabinets, coffee tables chests, paintings and sculpture can really set the tone for a space and will help create a vocabulary for the room.

It helps, when trying to get a handle on your new home, to visit local antiques shops and galleries, just to get a sense of what is available. Looking at different periods of furniture and different styles can help to form a vision for your own home. Certainly many people choose to rely on the advice of an interior designer, but many go it alone. The more you expose your eye to interesting objects, the more confident you will become about your own choices.

Although Mid Century Modern, tonal color schemes and wide open spaces have been the look of choice for many years, we are now seeing a real swing toward maximalism in interior design. With that, saturated colors, more decorative and more original antique furniture and art have found favor again. There is a difference in the density of decoration and an increased opportunity for collecting. I for one, am greatly pleased, as much as I love modernity, we have always felt that the most successful design incorporates the best of all periods, cultures and styles.

Not everyone has the time or interest in collecting beautiful things. Yet, putting together a warm and interesting home does involve selecting meaningful and pleasing objects. There is something so satisfying in gazing across a room and filling your eyes with beauty.

In this photo I have gathered together a small vignette of objects that please my eye, both individually and also as a group. They each have a great deal of artistic and design integrity. None of them are expensive, but they all have merit.

The bronze sculpture of the bacchanalian figure is 19th Century. There are two pieces of 20th Century studio pottery. There is a late 19thC Japanese Ikebana basket. Lastly, there is a small naturalized dish made of Blue John. Blue John (from the French, Bleu Jaune, for it’s color) is a semi-precious mineral, a form of fluorite with bands of a purple-blue or yellowish colour. In the UK it is found only at Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern at Castleton in Derbyshire. During the 19th century, it was mined for its decorative value, and subsequent mining had all but used up the known veins.
In August 2015 the most recent vein of Blue John was uncovered, over 150 years since the first veins came into production.

Dana Jennings Rohn
Montage Antiques, Millerton, NY
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