Washington’s annual high-end antiques extravaganza, the Washington Winter Show, opened Thursday evening at the Katzen Arts Center, and for the next three days it will give collectors, dreamers, and the curious a chance to enjoy all manner of fine and decorative arts. Are you in the market for period silver, porcelain, paintings, rugs, furniture, or antique jewelry? One of the 45 dealers from the US and Europe will likely be happy to show off what they’ve got. Not buying this year? You’ll also find lectures, book signings, appraisal opportunities, and a jazz night.
There is also a loan exhibition from Stratford Hall, the Stratford, Virginia, birth place of Robert E. Lee, that showcases heirlooms rarely allowed to leave the historic museum house.
The theme of this year’s show is Southern Celebrations: Traditions Handed Down. Friday brings a lecture and luncheon with the Lee brothers, Matt and Ted (no relation to Robert), who will reveal the secrets behind their new book, Exploring the Charleston Kitchen. Author Julia Reed will pull from her new book, But Mama Always Put Vodka in her Sangria, when she is the featured speaker on Saturday. Her theme is “ham biscuits, hostess gowns, and other Southern specialties.” The Lees and Reed were among the more than 350 guests at the opening-night preview party.
Several of the dealers at the show are local. Christopher H. Jones, for example, hails from Old Town Alexandria, where he has a shop at 210 North Lee Street. Among the fine pieces he’s exhibiting is a painting of a family from Prince George’s County, Maryland. Called “The Burroughs Children of Waverly,” the 49-by-55-inch canvas was painted circa 1860 by John Beale Bordley II. Other relatively local dealers include Alexandria’s Sumpter Priddy III, Arthur Guy Kaplan of Baltimore, Aileen Minor Antiques of Centreville, Maryland, the Norwoods’ Spirit of American from Timonium, Maryland, and Philip Suval of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
For the collector it’s a chance to buy a treasure and take it home. For the dreamer there’s so much to look at and think, “What if?,” and for the plain curious, it is a warm and interesting haven from winter’s chill, which is one reason the event is considered the official launch of Washington’s winter social season. It brings everyone, especially the cave dwellers, out from hibernation for a weekend.
The show also benefits local charities, including this year the Bishop T. Walker School for Boys, THEARC, and the founders board of St. John’s Community Services. Show hours are Friday and Saturday from 11 to 8, and Sunday 11 to 5, at the American University Katzen Arts Center, which is on Massachusetts Avenue at Nebraska Avenue. There is parking in the building.