This Month on Curious Objects

Another Man’s Treasure–Frank Levy discusses a Suite of Tapestry-Upholstered Furniture

This month, Ben and Michael pay a visit to one of the New York antiques world’s preeminent galleries, Bernard & S. Dean Levy on 84th Street, where they speak with the fourth-generation co-proprietor, Frank Levy.

Through interviews with leading figures in the world of fine and decorative arts, we explore the hidden histories, the little-known facts, the intricacies, and the idiosyncrasies that breathe life and energy into antiques and works of art.

The Color of Beauty–Philip Hewat-Jaboor’s Neoclassical Vase

This month on Curious Objects, Ben and Michael sit down with Philip Hewat-Jaboor, chairman of Masterpiece London and owner of a fine alabaster and rosso antico marble vase.

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Is it real? A Caravaggio Rediscovered

If you find an Old Master artwork in your attic, how can you be sure it isn’t fake? This month Ben and Michael consider the case of Judith and Holofernes calling expert Eric Turquin and art critic James Gardner to the stand.

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Object Philosophy 101

In an episode keyed to Art Carpenter’s Wishbone chair, scholar and curator Glenn Adamson shares his thoughts on the similarities and differences between art and design, hand-making and machine-making, and passion projects and professional ones, and reminds us how important it is to pay attention to the objects in our immediate proximity.

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The Soldier, the Dandy, and the Queen

This month we take a look at a Tilghman family pier table, a folk painting of Noah’s Ark, and two stoneware wine bottles in the shape of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, all on sale at Freeman’s.

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Noah Wunsch Was Born to Collect

In collector Noah Wunsch's private life one rule guides his hand: “no matter what you're buying make sure you like it.“ In this episode, Ben takes the measure of Noah’s treasure, which ranges from a 60 BC Visigothic belt buckle to the zany artwork of Genieve Figgis.

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Let the Market Decide: Economist Friedrich Hayek’s Assets head to Auction

The weighty thoughts and worldly goods of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek—whose belongings are being offered by Sotheby’s in London—are the subject of this episode, starring Duke University professor Bruce Caldwell and Sotheby’s specialist Gabriel Heaton.

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Introducing the New Antiquarians

At the Winter Show’s 2019 sapphire jubilee, Ben Miller hosted a panel with three young mavens of the antiques world to discuss the future of antiques, and to announce the birth of a community of interest called the New Antiquarians, which will champion antiques, historic art, and the material culture of the past.

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Glass Act—John Stuart Gordon and the Vitreous Curiosities of Yale

Ben Miller examines a piece of trinitite—glass formed in the 1945 Trinity nuclear test—and a stained-glass window formerly installed in Yale’s Hopper College, both featured in John Stuart Gordon's new book American Glass.

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Reading Congress the Riot Act –Henry Highland Garnet’s “Memorial Discourse”

Rare books dealers Heather O’Donnell and Rebecca Romney, principals of Honey and Wax Booksellers, come bearing a copy of the first address delivered to Congress by an African-American.

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The House that Vanderbilt: Gilded Age Mansions of Newport, RI

A virtual tour of the suite of Gilded Age mansions built for the Vanderbilts, Oelrichs, Astors, and Berwinds in Newport, Rhode Island, by the likes of Richard Morris Hunt and Stanford White.

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This time it’s your turn. These last two months, we’ve asked listeners to post their curious objects on Instagram, tagging #mycuriousobject and @antiquesmag.

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Kevin Brown and His Qing-era Map of China

Benjamin Miller stops by the shop of his mentor Kevin Brown, founder of Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, to peruse a monumental Qing-era map of China and its environs.

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David Webb archivist Levi Higgs and the company’s storied Zebra bracelet

Instagram doyen Levi Higgs tells Ben Miller about a jewel- and enamel-bedazzled animal that can often be found on the red carpet.

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ADA executive director Judy Loto and Her Entrancingly Engraved Powder Horn

Why do we collect what we collect? And how do we know if we’re collecting truly valuable things? In this eighth episode of Curious Objects, host Benjamin Miller speaks with Judy Loto, executive director of the Antiques Dealers’ Association and someone he calls an “antiques evangelist.”

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A conversation with luthier Paul Becker

Benjamin Miller talks with Paul Becker, the fifth-generation owner and director of Chicago-based violin shop Carl Becker and Son.

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Treasures of the Winter Antiques Show, Part 2

Part two of our special coverage of the 2018 Winter Antiques Show, featuring conversations with eight dealers of furniture, folk art, embroidery, and more.

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Treasures of the Winter Antique Show, Part 1

In this episode of Curious Objects, part one of a special two-part series, Benjamin Miller speaks with nine dealers who exhibited this past January at the antiques world’s marquee event: the Winter Antiques Show.

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Historic Preservationist Wade Lege on Living in a Collection

In this episode of Curious Objects, Benjamin Miller talks to Wade Lege, a Louisianan who’s restored a Mississippi bayou home. Of course, before the house could be restored, it had to be rescued: its original footprint is now underwater inside the levee. It’s filled with Lege’s collection of Americana, including a plantation desk with an amphitheater interior that he’s just tickled pink about.

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Dealer Michael Pashby on the secret history of the Windsor chair

Benjamin Miller, host of Curious Objects, interviewed Michael Pashby of Michael Pashby Antiques about a Windsor chair with interesting history. Made about 1790 by Gillows, it’s composed primarily of ash and has a sycamore seat.

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Wartski expert Katherine Purcell on a René Lalique art nouveau necklace

In this episode of Curious Objects, host Benjamin Miller interviews Katherine Purcell, principal in the London jewelry firm Wartski. A peerless scholar and an engaging storyteller, Purcell gives us the particulars on a magnificent enameled necklace by René Lalique, the “genius of art nouveau jewelry.”

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Hirschl & Adler's Stuart Feld on an early American linen press

A Boston-made neoclassical linen press served as entry point into a discussion between Ben and Stuart Feld about provenance (the linen press has been owned by Hirschl & Adler at three different times) and the more general ins-and-outs of antiquing.

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Since 1922, The Magazine ANTIQUES has been the leader in fine and decorative arts scholarship. We’re certain that you’ll enjoy this twenty-first century means of telling stories about the things we collect and cherish.

A new episode of Curious Objects is available each month on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and other podcast platforms. We hope you will share your feedback as we continue development in 2019.

Questions? Comments? Have a Curious Object? Email us.

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Benjamin Miller, Host

Director of Research at S.J. Shrubsole since 2016 and one of the rising stars of the New York art and antiques scene. After leaving his native Tennessee, Ben earned his bachelor's degree at Yale. He is a specialist in antique silver, estate jewelry, and anything old with a good story. Together with Michael Diaz-Griffith he is the co-founder of the New Antiquarians, a community of interest for the next generation of art and antiques enthusiasts. Many of these stories are illustrated on his Instagram, @objectiveinterest.


Michael Diaz-Griffith, Co-host

Through his consultancy, Material Cult, Michael Diaz-Griffith advises art galleries, art fairs, auction houses, and non-profits on strategy, communications, and design. A former director of the Winter Show, America's longest-running art and antiques fair, he now sits on the Show's steering committee and serves as co-chair of its Young Collectors Night. He co-directs the New Antiquarians community of interest with Ben. Michael writes about art and architectural history under his Instagram handle, @michaeldiazgriffith.