2400 pages with 315 pages of color identifying 4000 examples of
Antique Furniture and Silver including White House Collection
Eight volumes of American antiques with 315 pages in color.
American artist craftsmen of the 18th and early 19th Cen-
turies created some of the world's greatest masterpieces in fur-
niture and the allied decorative arts. In the truest sense, these
masterpieces are proud heritage for all Americans.
Included in these volumes-especially edited and annotated
for accuracy and completeness-showing and identifying more
than 4000 of the finest examples of the art of the American
furniture-makers and silversmiths' of the Colonial and early Fed-
eral periods. Many of the superb examples they contain, each
one described and authenticated, have appeared nowhere in
print. Special features on White House American furniture by
Clement E. Conger, Curator and the American painting
I constantly refer to:
"American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection," Volumes 1 thru 8,
"Blue Book of Philadelphia Furntirue." In my opinion, these works
are absolutely indispensable for the beginner as well as the serious col-
lector of American antiques.
Clement E. Conger
Curator The White House
Diplomatic Reception Rooms
Department of State
"I find that in judging an antique, you must compare it with as many
related examples as possible. For the student, curator or collector of
American furniture, the eight volume American Antiques from the
Israel Sack Collection, with 4,000 illustrations (over 300 pages in
color) and fully indexed, is an invaluable reference tool."
Curator American Decorative Arts
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
"American Antinques from the Israel Sack Collection," Volumes 1
through 8, and the "Blue Book, Philadelphia Furniture" are on the
bookshelves adjacent to my desk for constant reference. They identify
and document over 4000 examples of American Furniture and Silver.
These are indispensable research aids for libraries, collectors, curators,
museums, antique dealers, and students.
Charles F. Hummel
Deputy Director for Collections
The Winterthur Museum
collection by John Wilmerding. 69 illustrations in color.
The eight volumes brings together 2400 pages, with 315 pages
of color. Antiquarian Harold Sack has given his observations in
Volume Seven on the events in the antique marketplace with the
astronomical prices for American furniture and the new
discoveries that have come about in American furniture and the
American decorative arts.
Volume Eight, 340 pages with 100 pages in color fully indexed
covering all eight volumes with Albert Sack's classic guides to
connoisseurship "Masterpieces of American Furniture" "The
Philadelphia Lowboy" "Unique Masterpieces."
Volumes One thru Seven have been updated with chapter
observations and great collections that have come on the market.
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In the beginning all the World was America.
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, 1690
JOHN LOCKE, the first modern philosopher to discover
the New World, intended a metaphor for that idyllic
state of nature in which mankind lived before the
establishment of civil society and the rise of rapa-
cious and rebellious men of wealth. But his metaphor
suggests something more: it implies the way America
was seen from Europe-as a fresh beginning, a break
with the accumulated evils of the past, an earthly
paradise to weary Europe, a belief in riches and per-
fection beyond the sunset.
The naked Indians, the aboriginal inhabitants of
this vast, underdeveloped continent, lived in some-
thing close to Locke's pastoral state of nature. In a
letter of 1504 Amerigo Vespucci wrote that the Indi-
ans "have neither king nor lord, nor do they obey
anyone, but live in freedom.... They do not bring
men to justice, nor punish a criminal... nor ... chas-
tise their children." They eat whenever they feel like
it and they "speak little, and in a low voice." He con-
cluded, "We did not find that these people had any
laws." Their habitations were in common, they were
cleanly, shameless, cared nothing for riches, neither
bought nor sold, and were content with what nature
had given them.
Locke's interest in the New World extended beyond
philosophical discussion; his imagination was excited
by the poorly mapped and little-known places across
the Atlantic. He read books of travel and exploration,
and through his patron Anthony Ashley Cooper, the
first earl of Shaftesbury, he was made secretary to
the lords proprietors of Carolina. Indeed, a signifi-
cant part of Locke's income was derived from his
work as a colonial civil servant and from his invest-
ments in the Colonies. A key point in Locke's argu-
ment was that "The Fruit or Venison, which nour-
ishes the wild Indian, who knows no Inclosure, and is
still a Tenant in common, must be his." The lands the
Amerindians hunted and farmed were not theirs, as
Locke's ancestral estates were his. "Weary of the his-
torical lumber room of old Europe," as Hegel wrote,
the white settlers who took possession of these new
lands escaped the feudalism and entrenched tradi-
tionalism of the old.
This may explain why America was born of a revolt
that was moderate in its means, yet so revolutionary
in its consequences; why we are a society so liberal in
our ideals, yet so conservative in our behavior. Here
that profound passion to uproot and destroy the so-
cial order was absent. The American Revolution was
thus more limited than most modern revolutions,
aiming at national independence rather than social
The tensions of opposing political factions, be-
tween the followers of Adams and Jefferson, vibrated
through the new republic following the framing of
the Constitution two hundred years ago. Yet in his
inaugural address Jefferson could proclaim with
confidence: "We are all republicans-we are all fed-
Few periods in our political history have been more
embittered than the age of Andrew Jackson, yet
Alexis de Tocqueville, viewing America in the very
flood tide of Jacksonian democracy from the per-
spective of France, felt that the differences between
the Jacksonians and the Whigs were trivial. "The
great advantage of the American," he wrote in De-
mocracy in America, "is that he has arrived at a state
of democracy without having to endure a democratic
revolution and that he is born free without having to
The concept that the New World was the peculiar
abode of felicity lingered in the European imagina-
tion. The aged Goethe declared in 1827, not long be-
fore his death, "Amerika, du hast es besser als unser
Kontinent, das alte" (America, you have it better than
our continent, the old one). When Goethe and like-
minded men sang America's praises, "you have it bet-
ter," they did not mean America had it perfect. The
challenge and the problems were enormous, but the
ambiance enjoyed by the American people held out
promises of success that may never again be offered
to any people. Perhaps, as Bismarck is reported to
have said, a special Providence takes care of fools,
drunks, and the United States of America. Surely, the
founders believed, and we their progeny have every
reason to believe still, the last of these.
Gallery of the Ximenez-Fatio House in Saint Augustine,
Florida. Photograph by Erik Kvalsvik.
-"-" .;- 1~
P1. XV. The River, by Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956), 1940. Signed and dated "Feininger 1940"
at lower left. Watercolor over graphite with ink on laid paper, 9ys by 17 inches.
L Some of the information in this article draws upon research conducted for
the catalogue, American Traditions in Watercolor: The Worcester Art Museum
Collection, ed. Susan E. Strickler (Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massa-
2 Marjorie B. Cohn presents an in-depth discussion of technological improve-
ments in her outstanding catalogue, Wash and Gouache: A Study of the
Development of the Materials of Watercolor (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard
University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1977).
3The English watercolor tradition is discussed in Martin Hardie, Water-
colour Painting in Britain, ed. Dudley Snelgrove, Jonathan Mayne, and Basil
Taylor, vol. 1 (London and New York, 1966), pp. 9-45.
4 For a discussion of Cropsey's watercolors see Carrie Rebora and Annette
Blaugrund, Jasper Cropsey Watercolors (National Academy of Design, New
York City, 1985).
5 The most comprehensive evaluation of the American Pre-Raphaelites ap-
pears in Linda S. Ferber and William H. Gerdts, The New Path: Ruskin and
the American Pre-Raphaelites (Brooklyn Museum, 1985).
6 Charles Herbert Moore, "An Artist's Memorial," in John William Hill, ed.
John Henry Hill (New York, 1888), p. 6.
7The window, still extant, includes one additional angel that does not appear
in Worcester's watercolor.
8 Admired for his innovative use of many different types of glass, often
within a single window, La Farge was constantly seeking to achieve more
naturalistic effects. His repertory included the now famous opalescent glass
he invented, rippled glass, streaked glass, and the more traditional painted
glass. For a synopsis of his innovations in stained glass, see H. Barbara
Weinberg, The Decorative Work of John La Farge (New York and London,
1977), pp. 339-433.
9 "On Some Pictures Lately Exhibited," Galaxy, vol. 20 (July 1875), p. 94.
10 Helen A. Cooper discusses the series of Adirondack watercolors in Wins-
low Homer Watercolors (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and Yale
University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, 1986), pp. 162-195.
" Mus6e d'Orsay, Paris.
" See Gwendolyn Owens, Watercolors by Maurice Prendergast from New Eng-
land Collections (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown,
Massachusetts, 1978), p. 29.
13 For an excellent explanation of Feininger's technique, see Thomas Hess,
"Feininger Paints a Picture," Art News, vol. 48, no. 4 (Summer 1949), pp.
48-50 and 60-66.
14 T. Lux Feininger, "Lyonel Feininger's Heritage," American-German Re-
view, vol. 32, no. 5 (June-July 1966), reprinted in Lyonel Feininger, ed. June
L. Ness (New York, 1974), p. 247.
History in houses
The Ximenez-Fatio House in Saint Augustine, Florida
BY WILLIAM SEALE
PI. I. Miniature of Louisa Maria Philipa Fatio
(1797-1875), artist unknown, c. 1820. Watercolor on
paper, 4 by 3 inches. Collection of the National Society
of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Florida;
photographs are by Erik Kvalsvik.
THE XIMENEZ-FATIO House was built about 1798 by
Andres Ximenez, a rich Spanish citizen of Saint Au-
gustine, for use as a "grocery," or tavern, with two
warehouses in the rear. It is an ample, handsome
house built in the combined English and Spanish
style typical of Saint Augustine in the last quarter of
the eighteenth century. Set against ancient, narrow
Aviles Street, which has no sidewalk, its principal
rooms on the second floor are breeze-swept and dry,
while those on the ground floor show the effects of
the perpetually high humidity. Typical of old Saint
Augustine houses, the main entrance is through a
loggia in the rear (Pl. III). Archaeology has revealed
that the old patio behind the house was of hard-
packed earth and was heavily shaded, no doubt by
the fruit trees, blooming shrubbery, and palms that
abounded in the city's dense and overgrown gardens.
The thick walls of the house are made of local co-
quina, sawed into blocks, and stuccoed, because this
stone made of shells and corals is highly porous. Like
most of its early neighbors the house is white; some of
the inner walls of the gallery showed traces of a pink-
ish wash, which has been restored. The eighteenth-
century kitchen (Pl. IV), also built of coquina, is the
best surviving example in Saint Augustine of a
kitchen dating from the later years of Spanish occu-
When the National Society of the Colonial Dames of
America in the State of Florida purchased the house
in 1939 from an heir of Louisa Fatio, their interest
was naturally to re-create an eighteenth-century
Spanish flavor, paralleling the colonial epoch in the
eastern United States. Over the course of the next
thirty-odd years the Colonial Dames amassed a large
collection of Spanish antiques and reproductions for
the house. In the early 1970's, however, they became.
interested in the later history of the house, and were
surprised to discover that many alterations had been
made after Ximenez's occupancy. The house had
WILLIAM SEALE is a historian. His most recent book, The Presi-
dent's House: A History, was published last year.
Pl. II. Ximenez-Fatio
House, built for Andres
Ximenez, Aviles Street, Saint
Augustine, Florida, c. 1798.
The architecture is typical of
the grander houses in late
eighteenth-century Saint Au-
gustine. As Ximenez's home
and a public house, the resi-
dential quarters would have
been upstairs and public
rooms down; similarly,
when the house became a
hotel, the dining room and
other public rooms were on
the ground floor.
Pl. III. Rear of the
Guests entered the property
through the garden and the
house through the rear log-
gia, which contained the
stairs. The kitchen building,
on the right, is the earliest
and finest kitchen from the
Spanish period in Saint Au-
gustine. In the eighteenth
century, rear yards were
shaded by arbors and
heavily planted with trees.
There was no grass. Chick-
ens and other fowl roamed
about freely, and some of
the domestic endeavors of
the household were carried
out in the open air. To be re-
constructed in the future is
the old laundry, which was
behind the kitchen. Bathing
facilities may also have been
located in that area.
P1. IV. The kitchen has re-
cently been restored to its
original late eighteenth-cen-
tury appearance. It is
shaded on two sides by
porches and on a third by a
woodshed. The oven is the
only survivor of its kind
Saint Augustine. Cooking
was carried out in the open
fireplace during the earliest
days, but a stove was added
in the beginning of the nine-
teenth century; the stove-
pipe hole has been left to in-
dicate this modernization.
On the left is the zinc-lined
kitchen sink. The floors, of
soft coquina, were kept
sprinkled with sand.
P1. V. The hotel guests' sit-
ting room on the ground
floor adjoins the dining
room. The furniture is cov-
ered with linen slipcovers
that were used most of the
year in Saint Augustine,
where winter was brief. The
pattern of the floorcloth was
copied from one pictured at
the Fatio House in a nine-
teenth-century issue of
Harper's Weekly. A variety of
types of cloth window
coverings shade the room at
various times of the day; out-
side the windows are lou-
vered blinds. The door at the
right gives onto the deep
rear porches, while that on
the left affords a glimpse of
a guest room.
P1. VI. This soup tureen made by the Ridgway China Company, Staffordshire, England,
c. 1835-1840, belonged to Sarah Petty Anderson, and may have been used in the Ximenez-Fatio
House when she owned it, from 1838 to 1855.
P1. VII. The dining room is located beneath the parlor shown in Pl. VIII, its windows looking
onto Aviles Street. An assortment of mid-nineteenth-century chairs are pulled up to the table,
which is covered with a damask cloth and a mixture of types of tableware, some of which
belonged to Sarah Petty Anderson. The punkahs are typical of the region, but were not uncom-
mon in many other parts of the United States at the time. A mid-nineteenth-century inventory in
a nearby town calls them not punkahs but "fliterers" (inventory of Judge Isaac Bronson,
Palatka, Florida, August 15, 1856 [Putnam County Clerk's office, Palatka]). Beneath the wooden
floor is the original coquina pavement.
been "Americanized" with Greek revival millwork,
wood floors had been laid over the early coquina
ones, and the heavy beams had been concealed by
plaster ceilings. What remained was not pure to any
period, but a mixture of elements from many. More-
over, it became evident that written documentation
about the house and its environs was far richer for
the years after about 1830 than before. As the house
had been owned during the nineteenth century by a
succession of women who ran it as a hotel, the Dames
were able to develop this theme in refurbishing and
refurnishing the house to the mid-nineteenth cen-
tury. In taking a more historical approach they were
in the vanguard of a national movement toward a
sharper factual interpretation in house museums.
The little that is known about Ximenez's occu-
pancy of the house indicates that he kept it as a public
house, for he took out Spanish licenses to sell liquor,
operate a billiards hall, and conduct a gambling en-
terprise. The building was probably converted to a
hotel in the 1820's, when Florida became a United
States territory. Margaret Cook (1790-c. 1879), Eliza
C. Whitehurst (1786-1838), Sarah Petty Anderson
(1782-1869), and finally Louisa Maria Philipa Fatio
(P1. I) kept the business in operation for about fifty
years as one of the earliest and most popular seasonal
hotels in the city. Through one misfortune or an-
other, each had been thrown on hard times and had
turned to hotelkeeping as one of the few businesses in
which a gentlewoman could support herself and still
remain a "lady."
The hotel was in fact more like a boardinghouse in
which people from the Northeast spent the winter
season, often because they were ill. Saint Augustine
itself had become a successful tourist spot early in the
century. One visitor in 1824 praised the
mild tropical climate, so different from that in which I had
heretofore lived. The cool, refreshing daily sea [breeze] from
the Atlantic Ocean moderated the intense heat of the tropical
sun, while the night breeze across the peninsula from the
Gulf of Mexico kept the nights cool and pleasant, so that
though sleeping under musquito [sic] bars, a light blanket
was not oppressive. Then the delicious fruits of the tropics-
the oranges and figs so refreshing... and the variety and
abundance of the fine fish and game.'
The local newspapers were filled with news about
winter visitors, many of whom found Saint Augustine
delightfully foreign and came back year after year.
The Ximenez-Fatio House accommodated about
twenty-five guests; Ximenez's warehouses were con-
verted into guest rooms, each of which had a fire-
place and a built-in press with glass doors for storing
clothing (see Pl. X). There were several indoor sitting
rooms (see Pls. V, VIII), and the long, deep, shady
gallery, well sheltered from the frequent rains, was
also furnished as a sitting room. On the ground floor
Pl. VIII. Upstairs parlor. This large
room opens at the back onto the rear
loggia and at the front onto a balcony
that overhangs Aviles Street. It is as-
sumed that the various owners of the
hotel used this as their private living
room. It is furnished almost entirely
with objects used in Florida before the
Civil War. The astral lamp and the
horsehair-covered sofa against the
wall belonged to the Fatio family.
P1. IX. The mahogany high-post bed
of c. 1840 in this bedroom has a his-
tory of use in Florida in the nineteenth
century. The inside of the tester is cov-
ered with wallpaper, and the mos-
quito netting is of linen. The cotton
coverlet, which descended in a family
in Lewes, Delaware, is decorated with
cutouts from Indian-inspired printed
PI. X. One of eight restored guest rooms in the wing of the Ximenez-Fatio House. Each of the
bedrooms opened onto the porch, had cross ventilation, a fireplace, and a press with glass doors
built into the chimney reveal. The furnishings in the re-created quarters are simple, in keeping
with an extensive survey of local inventories from the 1820's through the 1860's. Straw matting,
such as that shown here, was almost universally used year-round in Saint Augustine. The
original combination of off-white trim and whitewashed walls has been restored throughout the
was a large dining room (P1. VII), which written evi-
dence suggests was frequented not only by hotel
guests but by others as well, for Louisa Fatio main-
tained the best table in Saint Augustine for nearly
Of the hotel's hospitality a visitor wrote in 1853,
the hotels and boarding houses are all under the manage-
ment of southern individuals with "Northern principles" of
domestic economy.... I can speak of one of these establish-
ments kept by Miss Fatio, a most estimable and popular lady;
and if the others are as home-like and comfortable as this,
the ancient city may well be proud of her houses for the
accommodation of travelers and invalids.2
I am grateful to the following people for their help in pre-
paring this article: Robert Harper, Mrs. William G.
Lockwood Jr., Charles A. Phillips, Mrs. John H. Rogers,
Hershel Sheppard, and Dena Snodgrass. The Ximenez-Fatio
House is open to the public daily except Tuesdays and
Wednesday, from March 1 through August 31.
' "Memoir of a West Pointer in Saint Augustine: 1824-1826," ed. Cecil ).
Eby Jr., Florida Historical Quarterly, vol. 152, no. 3 (April 1964), p. 311.
2 Charles Lanman, Adventures in the Wilds of the United States (London,
1856), vol. 1, pp. 116-117.
A Charleston, South Carolina,
playbill of 1794
BY JEANNE T. NEWLIN
ON JUNE 9, 1794, when Thomas Sully (1783-1872)
was only eleven years old, he contributed to the fam-
ily livelihood by appearing on stage with his brothers
Chester and Matthew Jr. in tumbling feats at the
Charleston Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina.'
His parents, Matthew (1769-1815) and Sarah (d.
1794), both actors, had brought the family to America
from England two years before to help found a distin-
guished theatrical company in the South. When he
became a celebrated portraitist Thomas Sully did not
forget his theatrical roots, for he painted thirteen
portraits of the actress Fanny Kemble (1809-1893) as
well as likenesses of George Frederick Cooke
(1756-1812) and Charlotte Cushman (1816-1876),
among many other performers.
The Sullys' appearance at the Charleston Theatre is
documented on a unique, hitherto unrecorded theat-
rical playbill some three feet long (color plate). En-
hanced with colorful stenciled borders, it is the earli-
est known decorated theater poster in America, and
one of only a handful of eighteenth-century playbills
extant in the South. Any eighteenth-century Ameri-
can theatrical document is a rarity, for theatrical per-
formances were not always welcomed here at the
The Sully playbill is at least twice as long as the
usual playbill of the day and was made by joining two
sheets of paper. The type face is characteristic of an
English playbill, but the layout is more advanced in
balance, spacing, and detail. Ornate, printed borders
sometimes enhanced Continental theater broadsides,
but they were hardly known in England or America.
Hand-painted decoration such as appears on the
Charleston playbill is unknown in professional the-
ater. Such elaborate advertisement could not be con-
sidered in an age when every day meant a new pro-
Clearly the Sullys had spared no effort preparing
for a performance that by contract benefited them,
particularly Matthew Jr. and Chester, who were fea-
tured on the playbill. The border of the poster itself is
embellished with stenciled triangles in a pattern asso-
ciated with the traditional costume of Harlequin.
Matthew Jr. had inherited his father's acrobatic abil-
ity to play Harlequin. For his grand finale on the
evening of June 9, 1794, he leapt through a "balloon"
(probably a hoop) in his Harlequin costume, fire-
works lighted. Matthew Jr. also is known to have
painted scenery, and Lawrence (1769-1804), the el-
dest of the four Sully brothers, instructed young
Thomas in painting miniatures. Obviously, the print-
ing of the playbill was supervised by the Sullys them-
selves, and the border was stenciled and painted by
members of the family.
The list of entertainments the Sullys chose for June
9, 1794, was intended as a tour de force and combined
all their talents: comic opera, dance, and acrobatics.
A brief addendum found at the foot of the playbill,
however, cancels one act: "The Entertainments ad-
vertised for representation on Monday [June 9], will
be all performed, except the Tumbling of Messrs
PLACIDE and SPINACUTA." This brief statement mini-
mizes the uproar caused by the Sullys' failed attempt
to increase ticket sales even further by bringing their
greatest competitors to their own stage. The Sullys
had announced in the press that Alexandre Placide
(d. 1812) and Laurent Spinacuta, great French acro-
batic dancers and now pre-eminent members of
Charleston's French Theatre company, had "kindly
offered their assistance for this night."2 Placide him-
self was to play Clown during the tumbling. The Sully
family, closely related by marriage to the managers
of the Charleston Theatre, obviously had been ex-
pected to be indulged in this maneuver. On the con-
trary, the managers felt that combining the compa-
nies even for one performance would have been
"repugnant to their wishes," according to an anony-
mous letter representing the position of the theater
and published in the South Carolina State Gazette and
Timoth's Daily Advertiser on June 12, 1794. The man-
agement ultimately regretted this decision, for
Placide, always billed as "First Rope Dancer to the
King of France and his Troupe" because of his suc-
cess before Louis XV, was soon asked to join the
Charleston Theatre formally. He went on to become a
leading influence on the early American theater as a
performer and manager.
The red, white, and blue combination on the bor-
ders of the playbill may have been inspired as much
by the French influence in theater and society in
Charleston as by the American national colors. The
city deeply sympathized with the French Revolution
and harbored many French expatriates such as
Placide, who arrived in the city in February 1794 to
manage a French language theater. Many people
wore the tricolored cockade in the streets, and the
American and French national colors were custom-
arily flown together in public.
When the Sullys' big night was over and the play-
bill seemed obsolete, the surviving example was
folded several times, cut down to an oval shape, and
along with a 1794 Charleston newspaper, was used as
stuffing in a frame to secure a painting, itself also
JEANNE T. NEWLIN is curator of the Harvard Theatre Collection,
Harvard College Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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THE NATIONAL SOCIETY OF THE COLONIAL DAMES OF AMEIUCA
IN THE MIT OF FLORIDA
Post Office Box 34 / Ortep Station / Jacksonville, Florida 322 10