Expect Serious Partying at this Year's Antiques Forum

Shield’s Tavern in Williamsburg, Va., site of Bourgeault’s February 22 bash. Shield’s Tavern in Williamsburg, Va., site of Bourgeault’s February 22 bash. Photo courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

WILLIAMSBURG, VA. – The wealthy collectors who have been a fixture at the Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum since its founding 63 years ago no longer arrive with a chauffeur and a lady’s maid. They do still check in at the Colonial Williamsburg Inn, built in 1937 to the refined standards of its patron, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who made an art of Southern hospitality.
 
The Inn and adjacent Lodge is where participants in the February 20-24 Antiques Forum will rest up from a vigorous week of lectures, demonstrations, optional excursions and, yes, partying.  In addition to dozens of private gatherings at the Fat Canary, Blue Talon Bistro and other popular restaurants near William & Mary College, participants will high-tail it to two of the best parties of the year, one in nearby Yorktown, Va., and other on Colonial Williamsburg’s campus.
 
Bidding Adieu to Period Designs
On Wednesday, February 23, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., everyone with wheels will head to Yorktown, Va., for a farewell party for Period Designs. Owners Robert Hunter and Michelle Erickson are shuttering their 401 Main Street shop after 16 years. They are looking for another location nearby.
 
The marvel is that Rob and Michelle have time for a shop at all. A professional archaeologist and dealer in American and European antique pottery and porcelain, Rob edits the Chipstone Foundation journal, Ceramics in America and is scheduled to speak at the Antiques Forum on February 23. Hunter is a member of the team that organized “Art in Clay: Masterworks of North Carolina Earthenware,” opening at Old Salem Museums & Gardens in Winston-Salem, N.C., on March 22.
 
A ceramist, Michelle is known for her sharply comic social commentary, deep historical knowledge and imaginative reuse of motifs and techniques rooted in 17th and 18th century English ceramics.
 
“ Michelle has a remarkable business and benefits from an open shop, but she also needs studio space,” says Hunter. The couple, who rented their historic Yorktown quarters from the National Park Service, also want a venue for events and open houses.
 
“We plan a more aggressive web presence in the interim,” says Erickson. A solo show of her work, “Tradition & Modernity: The Ceramic Art of Michelle Erickson,” closed January 9 at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, Va.
 
Period Designs is discounting prices on some objects during its final week. The shop will be open February 19-27, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For details, call 757-886-9482 or go to perioddesigns.com.
 
Bourgeault’s BBQ
Tables fill up quickly at Ronald Bourgeault’s annual barbeque, this year planned for Tuesday evening, 6:30 to 9 pm on February 22, at the 1740s Shield’s Tavern at 422 East Duke of Gloucester Street, three blocks from the Inn.
 
“We’ve been hosting this party for ten years,” says Bourgeault, president of Northeast Auctions in Portsmouth, N.H. “In the beginning, we chartered a bus and took everyone to Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Q.  One year, Colonial Williamsburg’s president Colin G. Campbell and his wife, Nancy, said, ‘Why don’t you have your party at one of our taverns?’ We’ve been on campus ever since.”
 
Get Smart
This is not to imply that the Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum is all play and no work. On the contrary, this year’s symposium, “Decorative Arts Forensics: How We Know What We Know,” is packed with useful information for curators and collectors. Ever wonder how to authenticate a map? Determine if a print is genuine? Vet a chest of drawers? Colonial Williamsburg has a program for that, plus others providing tips on cutting-edge research techniques in our digitally savvy age.
 
For details, call 1-800-603-0948 or go to history.org.
 
Write to Laura at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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