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Welcome to our December 2007 Newsletter!

If you missed any of our previous newsletters or are having trouble viewing this page correctly, you can find a link to it on our website at our newsletter archives.

Please feel free to visit our website FindersFayre.com where you will find an array of furniture, accessories, and information about our interior design services. Read on! and email any questions, comments, or suggestions to Newsletter@findersfayre.com. Thanks again!


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Finder's Fayre

1485 Calder Avenue
Beaumont, TX 77701

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News from the world of art and antiques

Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' Goes Online, The Associated Press, October 2007..

MILAN, Italy - Can't get to Milan to see Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece "The Last Supper?" As of Saturday, all you need is an Internet connection. Officials put online an image of the "Last Supper" at 16 billion pixels - 1,600 times stronger than the images taken with the typical 10 million pixel digital camera.

The high resolution will allow experts to examine details of the 15th century wall painting that they otherwise could not - including traces of drawings Leonardo put down before painting.

The high-resolution allows viewers to look at details as though they were inches from the art work, in contrast to regular photographs, which become grainy as you zoom in, said curator Alberto Artioli.

"You can see how Leonardo made the cups transparent, something you can't ordinarily see," said Artioli. "You can also note the state of degradation the painting is in."

Besides allowing experts and art-lovers to study the masterpiece from home, Artioli said the project provides an historical document of how the painting appears in 2007, which will be valuable to future generations of art historians.

Although there appeared to be problems with the Web site late Saturday, it was accessible earlier in day.

The work, in Milan's Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, was restored in a painstaking effort that wrapped up in 1999 - a project aimed at reversing half a millennium of damage to the famed artwork. Leonard painted the "Last Supper" dry, so the painting did not cleave to the surface in the fresco style, meaning it is more delicate and subject to wear.

"Over the years it has been subjected to bombardments; it was used as a stall by Napoleon," Artioli said. The restoration removed 500 years of dirt while also removing previous restoration works that masked Leonardo's own work.

Even those who get to Milan have a hard time gaining admission to see the "Last Supper." Visits have been made more difficult by measures to protect it. Twenty-five visitors are admitted every 15 minutes to see the painting for a total of about 320,000 visitors a year. Visitors must pass through a filtration system to help reduce the work's exposure to dust and pollutants.

"The demand is three or four times higher, but we can't accommodate it because of efforts to preserve the painting," Artioli said.

Visit the site:


Regency Mantle Clock, England, c.1830.

This lovely rosewood mantle or bracket clock is inlaid with a brass in scrollwork patterns and facing dolphins.  The clockmaker was Magrath who worked in London in the early 19th century, and is single fusee movement.  It does not chime, strictly a time keeper, this one, and good at it, too!  A very easy clock to keep running, and in excellent condition.

13” wide
15.5” tall
6.5” deep


Work Begins in Search for Lost Leonardo Fresco published: October 23, 2007.

ROME (The Associated Press)—Analyzing 500-year-old bricks, engineers in California are searching for a lost Leonardo da Vinci fresco that some researchers believe is behind a wall in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.

Peter Paul Rubens' copy (circa 1603) hints at what Leonardo's lost fresco, the Battle of Anghiari might be like. Image: Courtesy of drawingsofleonardo.org

The hunt for the Battle of Anghiari, an unfinished mural by Leonardo, has captivated art historians for centuries and is now being tackled by experts wielding state-of-the art scientific tools.

Laser scanners, thermal imaging, radar and neutrons will be employed in the project that Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli said is expected to take about a year.

Art lovers want to get to the bottom of the mystery in the Salone del Cinquecento (Hall of the 1500s) in the Palazzo Vecchio, a fortress-like palace in the heart of Florence that now houses municipal offices.

Maurizio Seracini, an Italian engineer, said he and colleagues at the University of San Diego are studying bricks and stonework that were found in a storeroom in the Palazzo Vecchio and were once part of the huge hall. The bricks were hauled to California, where their structure and composition are being analyzed, Seracini said by telephone.

Some researchers believe a cavity in one of the hall's walls might have preserved the mural, which Leonardo began in 1505 to commemorate the 15th-century Florentine victory over Milan at Anghiari, a medieval Tuscan town. The work was unfinished when Leonardo left Florence in 1506.

The search for the masterpiece was given new impetus about 30 years ago, when Seracini noticed a cryptic message on a fresco in the hall by Giorgio Vasari, a 16th-century artist famed for chronicling Renaissance artists' labors.

"Cerca, trova," "seek and you shall find," said the words on a tiny green flag in the Battle of Marciano in the Chiana Valley. Since Vasari respected the Renaissance masters, some hypothesize he wouldn't have destroyed Leonardo's work on what is presumed to have been a wall behind one Vasari painted when he decorated the room in the 1560s.

A few years ago, using radar and X-ray scans, Seracini and his team found a cavity behind Vasari's fresco that could indicate a space between two walls.

"We're going to see if Vasari, instead of destroying, saved" Leonardo's fresco, Rutelli said Monday.

Next month, engineers using a laser scanner will start work on constructing a three-dimensional model of Vasari's wall, Seracini said. Chemical analyses of Vasari's paint pigments will follow, as well as thermal imaging to help better understand the wall structure.

By knowing the exact composition of the paint on the Vasari fresco and the wall itself, experts will have a better chance at understanding what might be behind it, Seracini said, when the next step comes sending a flux of neutrons through the entire structure.

"When we know what (Vasari's) pigments and wall are (made of), we can `subtract'" that information from the overall neutron analysis to establish the composition of the wall Leonardo worked on, Seracini said. "Leonardo's mural should be located on top of the original stone wall" of the hall. He said researchers know which pigments Leonardo used.

And if there's no Leonardo masterpiece behind Vasari's wall?

Seracini predicted that art restoration would benefit in any case since the project would pioneer ways for restorers to understand countless paintings that have been covered by whitewash and plaster.

The project is "absolutely a novelty in application" to the art world, Seracini said, adding that many of the techniques to be used in the Leonardo hunt are already employed in medical and military fields.

Vintage Buffalo Bill Posters Sold, liveauctiontalk.com, Rosemary McKittrick, October 2007.

As soon as Buffalo Bill stepped onto the stage for the first time in 1872 he forgot his lines.  In the drama he played an idealized version of himself as a scout. 

"The Scouts of the Prairie" opened to a full house in Chicago and the audience detain't seem to notice his embarrassment.  They were too busy staring at his buckskin shirt and leggings, his rifles, revolvers and knives. 

Dressed to the hilt, Bill didn't realize it at that moment, but he looked the part of the heroic knight of the frontier to the letter. 

Before his debut that fretful night he said to his wife, "I don't know just how bad I'd be at actin'. I guess maybe I'd better find out."

If he was awful, he figured he could always go back to scouting.  It wasn't long before his skill as a showman overshadowed his stage fright.  Bill's acting ability improved but even more important-the crowd was really buying his western hero shtick.

Separating fiction from fact was the hard part.  Bill had a way of incorporating real news into his stage shows which blurred the lines of truth even further for audiences.

The press was no help.  They painted him as the white knight.  "He is a man who advertises liberally and never deceives the public," reported one newspaper.

Bill was also the most popular character in the dime-store novels of the day.  The books were cheap entertainment and readers relished the blood and glory. 

"I am sorry to have to lie so outrageously in this yarn.  My hero has killed more Indians on one war trail than I killed in all my life," Bill said about one of the novels.  "But I understand that is what is expected in border tales."

While Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show was on the road it cost $4,000 a day to keep it all afloat.  To generate that kind of money advertising was critical. 

Handbills, flyers and posters were circulated all over town before the show arrived.  For a one-night stand as many as 6,000 to 8,000 posters of various sizes and quality were posted. 

The best and the largest were saved for the big cities where the show stayed longest.  Only the best for Buffalo Bill.  The lithographers took extra care when it came to making his posters.

Posters typically measured 28 inches by 42 inches.  Billboards ranged in size from a half sheet to 32 sheets.  Sometimes even larger. 

Space for advertising was at a premium in some towns.  This led to "circus wars" where different medicine shows and Wild West shows competed for the same billboard.  The cost could sometimes bankrupt a business.

Nowadays these old lithographic posters created in the latter part of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century have become prized collectibles.  Value depends on quality, subject matter, size and condition.

On June 21 and 22, 2007, Cody Old West Auction, Cody Wyo., featured a selection of Buffalo Bill posters in its 18th annual auction.  Here are some current values.

Buffalo Bill  

Lithograph Poster; "The life of Buffalo Bill in 3 Reels" circa 1910; 42 inches by 38 inches;  $2,875.

Lithograph; "Col, W.F. Cody Buffalo Bill"; Strobridge & Co., Cincinnati; 1907; one-sheet;  $4,313. 

Lithograph; "Buffalo Bill Himself / 101 Ranch Wild West"; Strobridge & Co., Cincinnati; 1916; 30 ¼ inches by 40 inches;  $5,750.        

Lithograph; "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders" / Rearing Bucker; A. Hoen Litho Co., 1888; 45 inches by 32 inches;  $10,350.    

Woodcut; "Buffalo Bill's Wild West"/ Besieged Cowboys"; scarce early example; Calhoun Printing Co., circa 1885; 28 inches by 41 inches;  $23,000.

After Mona Lisa, Scientist Strips Down Leonardo's "Lady with Ermine", published: November 20, 2007, Artinfo.com.

KRAKOW, Poland (Agence France-Presse)—After unlocking the secrets of the Mona Lisa, a French scientist has turned his all-seeing "multispectral" camera on a lesser-known Leonardo da Vinci muse in Poland: the Lady with an Ermine.

Engineer and inventor Pascal Cotte virtually strips away centuries of sometimes sloppy restoration work to provide a digital image of a painting as it may have left the artist's studio, an abiding question among art historians and art lovers about such masterpieces.

Cotte was called in by the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow in southern Poland, which is home to a collection built up over the centuries by the eponymous Polish princely family.

His unique 240-megapixel camera uncovers the true colors of a painting, literally: Cotte found that the late 15th century wood-panel portrait was not painted on the black background visible today.

"The background was deep blue, very lightly shaded with earth, and probably an azurite mixed with earth," Cotte told AFP.

"It's far more beautiful than we thought," said French art historian Jacques Franck, a da Vinci expert who worked alongside Cotte.

"Here we have a Leonardo da Vinci which has been masked by bad restoration work and which as a result has perhaps been seen as less important than it really is," Franck said.

The Lady with an Ermine, bought by the Czartoryski family in Italy in 1798, was among the works looted by the invading Germans in 1939. It was hung in the office of the Nazi governor Hans Frank, who then decamped with the portrait when the Germans fled in January 1945.

The painting was discovered by US troops at Frank's villa in Bavaria and later returned to Poland.

Though a major piece in the Czartoryski collection, nagging doubts persisted over how much of Lady with an Ermine was da Vinci's own hand and how much was that of his assistants.

Cotte's conclusion, based on a virtual version he built as close as possible to the original, suggests it is nearly 100 percent da Vinci's handiwork.

"We haven't learned anything new that will fundamentally alter our understanding of this work," said Anna Grochowska-Angelus, the Czartoryski Museum's chief restorer.

But Cotte's scan confirmed the existence of fingerprints which had fuelled Polish experts' long-held belief that the majority of the work was da Vinci's, she said.

Cotte, who aims to help historians build up a global archive of digital "originals," has already gazed behind the layers of around 500 paintings, including works by Brueghel, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

He recently took part in an international study of what is arguably the world's most famous painting, da Vinci's Mona Lisa, which hangs in the Louvre museum in Paris.

He revealed that her trademark enigmatic smile was originally wider, and that she also had eyelashes, eyebrows and a blanket on her knees.

Cotte's camera gives insight into colours, pigments and brush-strokes underneath a weathered surface.

"It enables us to break down the light spectrum three levels into the pictorial layer, from the ultraviolet to the infrared, and from the visible to the invisible," he explained.

"Multispectral photography provides us with knowledge of the stratification of the successive layers painted by Leonardo and restorers, which enables historical understanding of the way the work was constructed and of subsequent actions," he said.

In the Lady with an Ermine, he discovered hidden traces under the ermine's left paw and muzzle.

Franck and Cotte believe da Vinci may originally have painted the ferret-like animal lower down the portrait of the woman thought to be Cecilia Gallerani, who was the mistress of the Duke Lodovico Sforza of Milan.

Experts suggest that the ermine, an apparent allusion to the duke, was originally painted in a livelier pose but later altered to appear calmer and thus more noble.


The Care and Feeding of Antiques

Antique Furniture Part 2

Dexter S. Augier by Dexter S. Augier

In our last newsletter, http://findersfayre.com/newsletter/october2007.html , we talked about the different types of waxes and polishes that are available, and why we prefer paste waxes.  Now, let’s delve into how we use these to protect and beautify antique furniture.

1.       Dust the piece of furniture to remove anything that might scratch or get ground into the wax…see # 5 below.  We use a soft, 100% cotton cloth to dust with, like one of those old fashioned diapers or a cotton T-shirt.  NOTE:   Use a slightly moist cloth if you are waxing a dining table with possible food particles. 

2.       Make any necessary repairs.  Re-glue loose veneers, inlays, moldings, cockbeads, etc., before going any further…wax can get under these, and prevent glue from adhering.  A hardware store brand of white or yellow glue is perfect for this type repair.  If possible, old dried glue should be scraped off the surfaces, and then the new glue applied to both sides.  Align the pieces, clamp or tape them in place, use a damp cloth to remove excess glue, and let it set for 24 hours.  HINT: place a piece of wax paper over a veneer repair, then stack books on top and let it set.  Be sure to remove any excess glue before waxing.
3.       Before applying wax, determine if the piece needs cleaning.  Air pollution, improper wax build-up, grime, nicotine, cooking grease (a bigger problem than you might imagine) all contribute to make the further application of wax a pointless and frustrating effort.  We clean with ordinary paint thinner and a piece of terrycloth.  The paint thinner will not harm any type of finish that is on the furniture, it will only clean the gunk off the surface.  After cleaning, let the piece air dry before proceeding.

4.       Apply paste wax by hand.  We start with a coat of colored paste wax (which we sell), and follow up with JOHNSON® Paste Wax (available at grocery stores).    Colored paste wax will dry dark in the tiny defects of an antique’s surface, adding to the overall warmth of the shine.  It also gives the piece a nice, warm tone. 
NOTE:  It is especially important that the wax be applied in very light coats, and that each coat is thin, flat (no ridges, not even from your fingerprints!) and dry….otherwise you will be creating problems and more work.

NOTE:  Your goal is to achieve a built-up layer of several coats of thin layers of wax.
  Here’s the technique we have learned from experience that works the best:

  1. Lightly tap your fingertips onto the surface of the wax, barely moistening them.
  2. Rub the wax in a circular motion systematically over a section of the piece, the top for instance.  Work the wax until you feel it dry out under your fingertips.  The solvent in the wax that makes it easy enough to use will make it feel ‘wet’ or oily at first…keep rubbing in a circular motion until all that ‘wetness’ is gone.     Remember…NO RIDGES!!
  3. Buff the wax off with a soft cloth, like the diaper or T-shirt we spoke of above.  Finish the buffing with straight strokes that go with the grain.
  4. Repeat the entire process on pieces that have been cleaned, as in #3 above.  Three successive coats are usually sufficient, one with the dark wax, two with Johnson’s. 
  5. On pieces that are properly and routinely cared for, only one coat per session in necessary.  A surface that gets a lot of wear, like the chest you lay your mail on, will need a fresh coat more often…just remember to dust it first!

5.       Surfaces of furniture that have been waxed as above, and are not surfaces that get routine wear, (like the top surface of a table or chest), can be dusted with a soft cloth (cotton T-shirt) that has been sprayed lightly with Goddard’s spray furniture polish.  This will effectively dust the piece, without fear of removing the previously built-up paste wax.

NOTE:  The solvent in spray wax that makes it light enough to spray, will soften the paste wax, allowing some of it to come off when dusting.  For this reason, DO NOT spray the polish directly on the piece…only lightly onto the cloth, and then wave the cloth in the air a couple of times to help evaporate the solvent.  The spray will then act as a magnet for the dust, allowing you to remove the dust from the piece, and not just ‘re-arrange’ it in the house.

          Alternative for dusting:  A feather duster made of black ostrich feathers, will also work.  The ostrich feathers pick up the dust particles, which can be shaken off outside.

Did you know...?

by Dexter S. Augier

Music in the Drawing Room
Whether in the music room of a great house, or the kitchen of a farm house, musical performance was critically appraised and enjoyed in late 18th century England.  One of the outcomes of this popularity was the canterbury, a music rack divided "into two or three hollow topped partitions" to hold sheet music and music books, with casters and handles so it could be easily lifted or rolled along the floor.  Thomas Sheraton, who popularized the form in his publications, suggested that they be slid under the pianoforte.  Its name comes from the original commission by the Archbishop of Canterbury for a piece to hold sheet music.

We would like introduce a new way of looking at antiques at FindersFayre.com. This new flash format allows you a better viewing experience. Please take a moment to browse the items we have just added in this new style. Please let us know what you think by clicking here or dropping us a line at info@findersfayre.com. Thank you. - FindersFayre.com's webmaster


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