The Dog Days Come Early

The Dog Days Come Early

The dog days have come to central KY just a little bit early this year. We currently have a slew of dogs that P.D. Eastman might be proud of, and they're all available for adoption. Spaying, neutering, dog food, and pee pads are not included and not required. We have bronze dogs, wooden dogs, leather dogs, terra cotta dogs. Lazy dogs, panting dogs, spaniels, terriers (or is it a schnauzer?), dogs for use as inkwells, and dogs that are just pretty to look at. Take one home today. And if you're not a dog person? We also have a group of musical cats.
June 05, 2019 by Mark Finke
Noticing a (Color) Pattern

Noticing a (Color) Pattern

The Monday morning mail run was never so exciting. Awaiting us in the post box this morning were two separate design magazines extolling the virtue of COLOR (!!!) on their covers. The return of color has been a growing theme over the past couple years. However, we at Jayne Thompson's have never discriminated. We've always embraced colors across the spectrum and will continue to do so whether it's trendy or not.


Cases in point:


The green fabric walls we employed for our St. Patty's day booth in Charleston this weekend:



Two-tone contrasting walls at last year's San Francisco Fall Antiques Show:


Color, color, and more color for a recent design job at The Still at AMBRAbev:


Lori incorporated lots of blue and green into this recent residential design project:


An 18th Century mahogany wing chair upholstered in a Lee Jofa block-printed floral linen:


Some more colorful upholstery:


Incorporating the flower photography of Paul Lange brings strong focal points of color to the walls:


Using Oriental carpets to bring color to the floor:



And don't forget the ceramics:


March 18, 2019 by Mark Finke
Things We Love 2

Things We Love 2

Any antique dealer will tell you the two most exciting parts of the job are discovering a gem to buy and finding one of those gems a home (i.e. SELLING!). After decades in the trade and thousands of finds, the first part of that equation comes naturally. A certain piece will captivate us almost immediately. While it can seem an entirely subjective phenomenon, there are definite criteria that always come into play. Those criteria are illustrated beautifully in this recently acquired corner cabinet and a few of them are as follows:


FORM: The first feature of a piece to note is the overall form, much like you would initially take in the composition of a painting. We are constantly seeking out forms that stand out in some way or many ways. While the general form of this corner cabinet (2 doors over 2 doors) is nothing unusual, there is quite a bit in the details that is. Most obvious of those is the scrolling vine motif and the buds? the acorns? the rosehips? that are growing on them. Whether these are meant to be a stylistic representation of some real-life plant or a figment of the creator's imagination is beside the point. In fact, the mystery is part of the fun. The motif, however, does serve to fill the rails of the cabinet carcass with a visually pleasing stimulus. The undulating, organic nature of the vines serves to break up the inherently boxy nature of the cabinet, and is echoed in the arched panels of the upper doors and the floral medallions below the cornice. Some other nice details which also break up the "straight line" shape are the turned split moldings just below the cornice and on the interior shelf front, the half-round pilasters of the lower section, and the roundels above those pilasters.


PROPORTIONS: Walking hand-in-hand with Form is Proportions. In the case of this particular piece, we love the slender proportions. In addition to its advantages in terms of commercial considerations (i.e. finding a corner wide enough to place it), the narrowness gives this piece a vertical quality, again lessening the sense of "boxiness" (not that there's anything wrong with that). We also love the low-waisted proportions of this piece. Typically, we look for pieces with a 1/3-2/3 relationship between the lower section and upper. While this one doesn't quite hit that mark, the waist does is significantly below the halfway point, which avoids the "Mom Jeans" vibe of other high-waisted pieces (not that there's anything wrong with Mom Jeans).


COLOR/PATINA: While these two traits go hand-in-hand (much like form and proportions), they aren't interchangeable. Color can be described as the underlying hue while patina refers to the accumulated surface on top which consists of decades of dirt, grime, ash, and wax. In the case of this piece and any piece with outstanding color, the term "colors" might be a better term. This piece ranges from a deep auburn (without getting TOO red) to a mellow caramel. All these various tones, the result of sunlight hitting the piece in different areas, retain a richness, a warmth and a mellowness. Atop these lovely colors, the patina is most prevalent in the nooks and crannies of the moldings, the carving, and the knots of the wood. There is a dark crustiness built up there that adds further nuance and drama to the underlying color.


TIMBER: The fact that this corner cabinet is made of elm (or it actually could be a highly figured ash) sets it apart from the more typical varieties which come in pine, oak, or mahogany. Whether or not the casual observer could identify the wood species, they could easily appreciate the exuberance of the figuring in the grain.


AUTHENTICITY: This piece wears its age on its sleeve, and we mean that in a good way. The panels have warped in such a way that gives them a bowed appearance and feel, just as you'd expect for a piece of wood with so much movement to the grain. There is evidence of dormant woodworm. There are also several "honest" repairs. For us, authenticity doesn't mean that a piece is devoid of any repairs. Sometimes a piece that is too pristine makes you wonder if it is too good to be true. For instance, we have had to replace the plinth of this piece. As it likely sat on a damp floor for much of its life, the existing plinth was in such a state of rot that it wasn't serving its function of supporting the case. Now that the repair has been made, the piece should stand up to a couple more centuries of use just nicely.


If you've read all these many words to the bitter end, we thank you. We imagine if comments were allowed, we'd get several TL;DR's. But if you did stick it out, we hope you appreciated a little bit of insight into our process. We don't necessarily tick all these boxes in mechanical fashion, but they are always in the back of our mind. In short, these are all just a bunch of words that boil down to: "We think this is a beautiful and interesting piece, and we'd love for you to have it."

December 13, 2018 by Mark Finke
Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This year, we are thankful to be able to make a living in a job we love. We are thankful for all our wonderful and loyal clients who have kept us rolling for 30 years. We are thankful to have time to spend with our families. And thank you to all those working today to keep us safe!
November 22, 2018 by Mark Finke
Heading West

Heading West

Our annual drive from Burgin, KY to Omaha, NE for the Lauritzen Gardens Antique Show puts us in northern Missouri/southern Iowa right around sunset every time. The sight of the sun dipping behind the Missouri River and disappearing from the big sky is a reminder of the natural beauty of this region which many people back home would dismiss as flat and boring. It also steers the imagination back to the days of Lewis and Clark and their travels long ago when this land was the home of many different native tribes and what it would have been like to be a foreign explorer here. Even though this would have been an easier stretch of their journey, it took about nine weeks for them to get from St. Louis to Omaha, a distance we cover in about seven hours, all in a truck laden with furniture and other wares that pre-date that historic expedition. Contradictions and juxtapositions can captivate the mind on a 13-hour drive. I can only imagine the mental voyages involved in a 2-year grueling trek across the Rockies to the Pacific and back again using early 19th Century technologies. Oh, well. Trevor flies out tomorrow to follow in those footsteps as the truck makes its way over the mountains and to San Francisco for the Fall Art & Antique Show next week. We hope to see you there.
October 02, 2018 by Mark Finke
tole wine cooler with chinoiserie decoration

Things We Love 1

One of the more more subtle pieces we've acquired recently has inspired us to start a new blog series titled "Things We Love." This chinoiserie wine cooler absolutely captivates us. At a glance, you might dismiss it as an old beat-up piece of metal. If you spend time to take a closer look, you might discover the beauty that lies in its imperfections. I guess our description of this piece as "untouched" isn't entirely accurate. It surely has been touched by the hands of time. Its 300 years of age is written into the dents and bruises and loss of decoration. These imperfections evince the age of the piece. When you pick it up, you are immediately aware that you're holding a piece of history. I imagine it to be something like the feeling an archaeologist gets when uncovering an ancient artifact such as a shard of pottery that has been buried for centuries.


 And while we do appreciate what's missing, what remains is equally intriguing. The faint traces of a red, possibly faux-tortoise shell ground; the sparkling nature of the gold floral painting; the crusty boundaries between the paint and the bare, patinated metal. All these details spark the imagination: what might this have looked like originally, who might have taken the time to create such a thing of beauty, and what tales has it overheard as dinner guests downed bottles of wine pulled from its interior.


Of course, we could find someone who could re-paint this piece. We could re-create what it looked like the day it was made without the use of imagination. But we feel that would rob it of its character. It would be akin to putting arms back on the Venus de Milo. A fully intact Venus would rob her of her mystery. There would be no room for speculation or imagination. She would be what she is and nothing more. It is her imperfection that makes her perfectly beauty. And while this wine cooler certainly doesn't reach the level of cultural significance of the Venus de Milo, we find it to be gorgeous and full of character for some of the same reasons.


August 14, 2018 by Mark Finke
Hope for the Next Generation

Hope for the Next Generation

This kid may be smarter than he looks. He told his mom the other day that he knows how to build an antique. Mom tried to tell him you can't build an antique. Then he revealed his plan. "You build a piece of furniture when you're born, then you wait 100 years." We immediately put him to work.
July 10, 2018 by Mark Finke
Color and Pattern in 18th Century Interiors

Color and Pattern in 18th Century Interiors

Too often when people think of 18th Century English interiors, they conjure up dark paneling and staid decor. The derogatory term de rigueur is "boring brown." Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for dissuading visitors of any such notions. You will find there the drawing room from Robert Adam's Lansdowne House and it is a dizzying explosion of color and pattern. Every surface from the ceiling to the full length pilasters down to the baseboards is adorned in color and/or pattern. I had the pleasure of visiting the museum during the recent Philadelphia show. The evening light coming through the windows only added to the drama of the setting. The next time you're in Philadelphia, it is a can't-miss along with the rest of this amazing museum.

May 08, 2018 by Mark Finke
Bad Design/Good Design

Bad Design/Good Design

Greek designer Katerina Kamprani specializes in bad design. At first glance, her works seem to be primarily whimsical and aimed at generating chuckles. Toeless galoshes, anyone? However, to write them off as completely frivolous misses the point. Sometimes, we don't realize what makes for good design until we see it juxtaposed with the bad. For instance, take a look at Kamprani's wine glass.

The lines are graceful and the form is certainly attractive, but when one imagines trying to take a drink, the whole thing falls apart. Side-by-side comparisons are also useful in judging the quality of certain antiques. Just because something is old, doesn't mean it was designed (or built) well. There was certainly much trial and error in the evolution of certain forms that persist to this day. The unsung furniture makers of our past must have had to create many pieces that didn't work to arrive at those that did. It is a fun and informative exercise today to look back and try to re-imagine what some of those failures might have been.

March 23, 2018 by Mark Finke
A Kentucky Icon Passes Away

A Kentucky Icon Passes Away

There's a big hole in the heart of Kentucky this week. Pearse Lyons passed away too soon on March 8th. He was a dynamo, an unbelievably generous philanthropist, and an unending fountain of ambitious ideas. You can read about his life here: Pearse Lyons, who built a $3 billion company and brought the world to Kentucky, dies.

Like many thousands of Irish before him, he adopted Kentucky as his home. I particularly love this quote of his from the article: “If you can’t sell Kentucky as a place to do business, then you’re not in any shape or form a salesman, because it’s an easy sale. I’ve been around the world I don’t know how many times, and I’ve never found a place as conducive to doing business or rearing a family as Kentucky — y’all.”

 Rest easy, Dr. Lyons. We'll all drink a Bourbon Barrel Ale in your memory.

March 09, 2018 by Mark Finke