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Antiques Add New England Aspect to St. Augustine Heritage
*.. -. By CYNTHIA PARKS, Times-Union Staff Writer
ST. AUGUSTINE-Antiques in the Anna G.
Burt house here, rated as one of the best Florida
collections, underscore a New England aspect of
the heritage of the city which antedates even the
This old house, however, tells its tale in graceful cabriole
legs, ball and claw feet, spade feet and understated straight
Georgian legs. These are the heritage of the New World-albeit
influenced strongly by England-in which American craftsmen
followed English cabinetmakers' designs to create the best in
colonial American furniture.
The furnishings have been tabulated by the Library of
Congress, and the Historic American Buildings survey of the
Department of the Interior described the old home as "possess-
ing exceptional historic or architectural interest and as being
worthy of most careful preservation for the benefit of future
generations." And this is the heritage-heavy responsibility of
the Board of Managers of the Woman's Exchange. The house
and environs began accumulating their historic patina in the
late 17th century with the Spanish conquistadors, but the dis-
tinctly New England Americana is less appreciated.
After serving as the "house of stone belonging to... the
Royal Treasurer" of Spain and passing through owners from
England and then Spain again, the house came into the hands
of Dr. Seth Peck in 1832. Wood to rebuild'it had been imported
by schooner from New England, because the Seminole War
*i (1835-42) made timber hunting hazardous. Dr. Peck brought
S his family from Old Lyme, Conn., with all his handsome furnish-
iings on shipboard.
i In the family for 100 years, the house was given to the
City of St. Augustine by Peck's granddaughter, Miss Anna
Burt, on her death in 1931. The city was in the throes of the
Depression, so the Woman's Exchange took it over to preserve
it and use it as an outlet for selling homemade delicacies in
an age when the lady in straitened circumstances was really
up against the wall.
After caring for the home these 33 years, the Woman's
Exchange has seen a vast difference in valuation of their prizes.
Also, despite the longtime care, Exchange chairman Mrs. Rob-
ert Curtan and house chairman Mrs. J. Edward Cox worry
about the ravages of time on pieces timeless only from the
The Duncan Phyfe chairs in the downstairs hall, for in-
stance, have been too often sat upon since around 1810 when
the New York cabinetmaker, the only American for whom a
furniture period has been named, turned them out. They are
wobbly and worm-eaten.
An example, too, of the spiraling value'of these old pieces
can be seen from appraisals. A very early one listed a Hitch-
cock chair at 50 cents. A 1932 appraisal listed all contents
at $26,721; in 1954, $59,325. Today, a single piece, a Chippendale
highboy, is worth more than half that sum.
The old house has a painting, cracked with the heat and
dryness, done by Martin Heade (1819-1904). Heade was com-
missioned by the Smithsonian Institute to do botanical studies
all over the U.S., Europe and Latin America. He is most famous
for his jewel-like humming birds and exotic orchids done in
Brazil. Heade settled late in life in St. Augustine, and one of
his works is in Anna Burt's old home.
Valued a decade ago at $75, it is considered to be worth
$5,000 on today's market.
In the dining room are portraits of past owners, the
Whittemores, who left for Salem, Mass., in a frightened scurry
at the sound of marching feet in the 1860's. The paintings are
judged to be of the school of Gilbert Stuart. Rare and lovely
is the lemonade set of cranberry glass with Lutz handles-named
for the European craftsman who finally worked for the Sand-
wich, Mass., glassworks.
There Is a large Canton blue platter; two of Josiah
Spode's Wedgewood-like bone china pitchers; a Staffordshire
pierced wicker-like china basket made in England and sent
to Japan for painting and glazing in the 1700s; a girandole
of"Pain and Virginia r rte-ds fi ab IBut ~ i30s, its etched glass
prisms still sparkling; a Persian Kinman cotton rug, old. and
handsome when Peck brought. it here.
The flint crystal peg lamps were sta4is symbols. Candle-
S tlcks were usually used for the family, but a knock on the
door meant "Guests! Remove the candles and peg in the
Specious .whale oil lamp."
Beside these antiques, the colonial Empire-style mahogany
sideboard is "new"-1820-with its marble top and four columns.
The great English furniture designers--Chippendale, Shera-
ton, Hepplewhite--inspired American cabinetmakers to copy
their pieces. From New England came these fine pieces, with
some American interpretation epitomizing the thriving colonial
era and its refinements. Anna Burt's home is such an example.
In the upstairs drawing room is a rare Sheraton chair
(circa 1795) typical of the grace that made the London cabinet-
maker second only to Chippendale as a designer. The chair
with its pierced tapering splats would cost $1,000 today.,
A 1790 oval candlestand, its top a single sheet of mahogany,
has a button-turned pedestal. On it sits a satinwood tea caddy
of the same date, reminiscent of Hepplewhite's delicate work-
An ornate bisque-white Ridgway pitcher still, has its cover;
the Bristol vases are painted with Audubon-like birds and the
walls are hung with soulful madonnas presented to Dr. Peck's
son, John, when he was attache to Spain. Some are of unknown
origin. One is by Jose de Ribera (1588-1652). Another has a bullet
wound right through the Madonna's hand as the result of
Armistice Day hijinks in 1918.
Besides some fancy (painted and decorated) Sheraton
IColonial furnishings col-
lection in Anna Burt House
(upper left) includes such
relics as a Queensware urn
(lower left) of Victorian
era, crystal peg lamp con-
vertible to candles (low-
er right) and (above) a
Duncan Phyfe chair.
5 3~ : c. qj~ ,
ANNA BURT HOUSE
chairs, the rest of the drawing room furnishings are cumber-
some American Empire pieces (early 1800s). (Anti-British senti-
ment before and after the War of 1812 expressed itself in a
turn to modeling furniture after the French Empire fashion.
In a typical colonial bedroom, the most enchanting pieces
are the foot-high samples of fine English furniture brought to
New England towns by peddlers to advertise the pieces that
could be made to order. The miniature Chippendale highboy
and Empire bureau then were left for the children to play with.
Among the later rococo Victorian pieces in the Pecks' 100-
year accumulation is a queensware urn, the cream-colored
English earthenware made around 1750 by Josiah Wedgewood
in Etruria, England. Heavily embellished with crowned lions
and royal symbols, the urns were often presented as gifts to
the tavored, as the well-traveled and ambassadorial Pecks
ppob ily were.
In the bedroom, where Miss Burt was born and died 81
years later, is a rare"child's chair of Chippendale design with
the original rush seat, pierced vase-shaped splats and bowed
back legs, dating around 1775 and worth about $1,000.
A fragile Wedgewood ring holder, no bigger than a large
brooch, is another rare item.
In the balconied south bedroom, an acanthus-carved four-
poster is said to date to 1820, but a knowledge of the Peck
family history proves otherwise. It was part of Mrs. Peck's
dowry, and she was married to the doctor in 1814. Beside the
$2,500 bed (by 1954 appraisal) is a honeycomb-cut water de-
canter, a heavily handsome Empire wardrobe, a Pembroke
drop-leaf table of Hepplewhite's exquisite design inlaid with
holly, bellflower and ovals of lighter wood.
An $18,000 walnut block front chest is attributed to John
Goddard, the Newport, R.I., cabinetmaker (mid-1700s). A 1775
Georgian mirror hangs above it, and a rosewood lap desk sits
upon it, its carefully constructed little compartments still hold-
ing seals and sealing wax with instructions on how a lady
seals a letter.
In this room are also Chippendale side chairs, a lady's tam-
bour desk, rare because of its smallness and workmanship
in Sheraton's graceful style; an unsophisticated Sheraton country
chair, spindled and of woven bottom; a swirled cranberry-col-
ored Sandwich-made lamp, and the home's piece de resistance:
a Chippendale highboy attributed to the craftsman Wiliam Sa-
very of Philadelphia. The last one like it was sold several
years ago to a museum for $32,000.
These are a few of the items maintained on the $1,000-a-
year bequest of Anna Burt since 1932. Some $700 a year goes
for insurance, so "we have roughly $300 a year to play with,"
says Mrs. Cox wryly.
The women supplement the allotment with teas, luncheons,
an annual ball and a small visitors' fee. William Daniell,
antiquarian and American Association of Appraisers and Evalu-
ers member, says the low humidity is drying the furniture and
years of uninformed handling has lowered the value by marring
the perfection of .the glass and china, which is a major
factor in figuring worth.
Daniells interest is more than superficial-his family in-
vented china glazing in England-and to a true antique lover,
it is a painful sight to see a whitened ring from a leaky vase '
on the Sheraton butler's desk or the incongruity of a cheap )
glass ash tray on an 1810 walnut pedestal table.
"The house has never been restored and doesn't need, it,
but the value of the contents is largely underestimated," say
The old doctor's apothecary instruments have been moved
to a downstairs room used as.a tea room, where;., lnidentally,"'"'
the stiletto heels of a few years ago have pitted the wide planks,
The six tavern (captain) chairs were his office chairs (ee '
1830). The cases for his medical books, mortar and pu-wtl
are of wavy handblown glass, as are r stopwered I.bottle.,
There ar' fgIe plaster brooh-sed mld by Wedgewdod
from Italy for selecting patterns on china. The fmlyf idMC .
is an early Haviland (about- 1850) of, the wedding ri patten-
white plainly banded with gold.
Donations include some interesting pieces, like the Lenox
china specially designed with the ensigns from railroad magnate
Henry Flagler's yacht.
Rare Sheraton-designed chair stands beside Chippendale card table (left).
Value of Chippendale highboy (center) is estimated at $32,000. Lady's
tambour desk (upper right) of Sheraton design is unusual because of
small size. Drawing room (lower right) contains Chippendale, Sheraton
and Empire pieces plus Ribera painting over fireplace.
It's Been Rocky Going for Lipstick Since Fashion Discovered Eyes
Women's News Service
Lipstick, which in the 'Forties
seemed to have become a firm-
ly entrenched item in women's
lives, has suddenly hit rocky
It all started when some Ital-
ian beauties discovered that
big, dark eyes looked even big-
S,. ger and' darker when there was
no red lipstick beneath fighting
f. for attention, They even wore
whit lipwtis to be sure every-
one knew they hadn't absent-
mindedly forgotten the staff.
While few American women
were brunette enough to follow
the idea, it did start a trend
to lighter lipstick colors. Last
fall, a full-scale rebellion among
the young boiled up. They an-
nounced they were wearing no
lipstick at all.
That didn't last too long,
since the protective qualities of
lipstick on the mouth were
something the girls had forgot-
ten. After some months of
chapping and cracking, they
were glad to use lip pomade,
which has only a faintly rosy
Manufacturers, of course
fought back. Faced with a most
unwelcome trend they never
made, they have been bringing
out no color lipsticks, so-
called glosses which are really
fancy pomades, and even odd-
ball lipstcks like pistachio, yel-
low and grape, to frost regu-
But they needn't worry. All
this has happened before.
Doing a little research in the
Encyclopedia Americana, this
reporter discovered that the
ups and downs of lipstick
have been going on for well
over 7,000 years.
That far back, of course, lip
coloring was generally an aris-
tocratio privilege, unless the
simple peasant used a little ber-
ry Juice. Makeup was a mark
of status, and no highborn As-
syrian or Egyptian lady would
be seen without lipstick, in
fact, without an entire range
SO FOND OF lipstick were
the Greeks that they colored
their statues, making up the
faces completely. The white
marble we see is the result of
Roman copies, or of. originals
from which the paint has dis-
With the triumph of Chris-
tianity, the arts of makeup, as-
sociated with the vices
of Rome, disappeared. Medieval
ladies played down female char-
acteristics, covering their hair
and using no makeup. In a few
capitals, like London, Paris
and Rome, however, wives of
those who had gone to the
Crusades used lip reddeners
and other "Eastern" makeup.
With the Renaissance, the
naughty upper classes were
back to their old Roman tricks.
Lipstick, rouge, hair coloring
and all the ancient cosmetic
lore was back again. From
that time on, it has mostly
been a matter of the dominant
Savonarola, Oliver Crom-
well, Napoleon I and Queen
Victoria all were sucoesflM I
frowning doew lilpstle B t
Charles II of England, the DI.
rectoire in France, and Ed.
ward VII of England were
all periods in which cosmetics
reigned, even if sometimes
Today no government leader
prescribes makeup fashions,
with the exception of A dolf
Hitler, whose puritanism was
one of his smaller nastlases.
It's fashion leader who tea
the trio, Ike the taIa ma
Empire console petticoat table
has mirror beneath for skirts.
1814 poster bed has
i *qccr uitathtsi leaf design.
'W '1' -^ ** .
Walnut block front desk, circa 1763
THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, JACKSONVILLE, SUNDAY, JULY 19, 1964