Today's Designs
Yesterday's Treasures

History Articles

A Fond Farewell….Part One The Final Year of Downton Abbey

The PBS Masterpiece series, Downton Abbey, is approaching its final season. No big deal....WRONG! It really is a big deal to those of us who follow the Crawley Family as if personally received by invitation each Sunday evening. ( I have been known to break away from events just to get home in time, forget recording).It is one of the most delightful series I have ever experienced.

To my great pleasure, the series has given the viewer an opportunity to experience the period antiques incorporated within the settings. It is a marvelous study of the evolution of costume and design. Each detail and fabric is perfected to the time periods and changes throughout the course of the episodes.

I will be presenting a particular piece of antique furniture that is featured in the series in conjunction with those pieces that we feature here at Pickwick Antiques. Check our blog for this continued series.

The Carlton House Desk* in its specifc form was supposedly designed for the Prince of Wales( Later King George IV) by George Hepplewhite. The name was derived from Carlton House,the residence of the time for the Prince of Wales.


(Reference: Aronson, Joseph, The Encyclopedia of Furniture 3rd ed. New York: Crowne Publishers 1966).*


The Carlton House of Highclere(Downton Abbey) as seen in the library.



Carlton House Desk Pickwick Antiques file

As Always ....Design is in the Details!!!


Pam Klepper Sexton 

Knife and Letter Boxes

Today we are going to discuss knife and letter boxes. Here at Pickwick Antiques in Montgomery, AL we have a pair of knife boxes and a few letter boxes. These are very historical pieces. In the late 18th and early 19th Century, people would actually carry their own cutlery with them to dinner parties and these knife boxes made that a very simple task. As cutlery became more of a common household item these boxes were used as decorative pieces in dining areas. Mahogany and Satinwood were the woods of choice for these boxes. Let's take a look at the knife and letter boxes at Pickwick Antiques.

A Pair of English Mahogany Knife Boxes, Ebonized, Detailing, Early 19th Satinwood Medallion, Handsomely Outfitted Interior Brass Escutcheon. Pair for $3,200

The Details:

The Mahogany Knife Box with Banded Inlay
C. 1780 $3,750
Interior Detail of the Knife Box:



The Letter & Knife Boxes differ in the Interior but not as noticeably on the exterior.
Letter Box is on the left and Knife Box is on the right.

The Sheraton Style Serpentine Letter Box, Yew Wood, "Barber Pole" Inlay & Fitted Interior
Circa 1830 $1,200

Have a wonderful week and come visit us at Pickwick Antiques in Montgomery, AL.

Check out our website!

REMEMBER....Check our website. ...It is updated daily!

As Always ... Design is in the Details.

A New Experience…

For the first time....Pickwick participated in an Antique Show.....Now ...I have caught the "show bug"! The  lovely congregation of Christ Church in Pensacola,Florida held their annual antique show and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the information and education.


Our beautiful chest on chest featured at the top of this page has found an appreciative home. New friends, and contacts made the event one to remember.

I leave you pictures of the first blooms of the always...Design is in the Details. Visit me at Pickwick Antiques, Montgomery Alabama or contact us at

The “WRITE” Stuff…  Imagine this…one day, if not at this very moment in time, modern man will no

Imagine day, if not at this very moment in time, modern man will no longer use pens and pencils to write, communicate, calculate,etc.Today's students have difficulty, at times, reading anything written in cursive....sadly handwriting is becoming a lost art.

Technology has created a totally new language of abbreviations, lower case letters, and acronyms that are becoming the norm.I miss the beautiful handwriting of my grandmother...written with the free-flowing ink of a pen which had to be refilled rather than thrown away. The stages of handwriting itself certainly gives hints of my era as well.

At one time, a signature showed both creativity and pride behind each letter and character.

Inkwells are the last reminder of the beauty of a bygone era of handwriting as an art form. Allow me to share a few details about the demise of the once common inkwell.

Luis Waterman gave the world the first practical fountain pen...sonn there after, the first ballpoint pen was patented. The spinoffs of the space age gave us the Bic pen which could be effective because of the ability to write on any surface and position....alas Plastic had taken over.

Students of history and , thus, design know this to be man became more civilized, so did his need for more decoration and beauty. This included the humble inkwell.

Wealth was evidenced by the materials used in the construction and decoration such as silver, gold, tortoiseshell, gemstones, and ivory.By the 19th century, the inkwell became more ornate, even whimsical. Materials such as ormolu(gilded bronze), porcelain, shell, rosewood, mahogany, papier-mâché' cut and pressed glass were used.

By the 20th century, the inkwell became more decorative rather than functional.TODAY...
an inkwell is  a beautiful reminder of history and lifestyles...a memory that is STILL worthy of being incorporated into one's decor.

Here are some beautiful examples of various types of inkwells that we have at PICKWICK ANTIQUES. 
 A handsome, French, gilded  inkwell that features a charging bison .If you are looking for a masculine gift...this is it

Love this Spelter inkwell!...I have two Boston Terriers and this whimsical piece is difficult  to resist!

Marble, Malachite, Onyx, Dore, Porcelain, Boulle, Papier Mache'....And many more! ALWAYS....
DESIGN is in the Details.

Visit me at

Summer in The Big Easy…A Learning Experience!

I Love New Orleans...the food, the history, the people, the art and architecture.I can get my "Southernness" in large doses each time I return... For almost a week in May I attended a decorative arts refresher course for the American Society of Appraisers.

Wrought Iron has always intrigued me and I am STILL trying to find Napoleon's Bumblebee in the ironwork of New Orleans  that I studied WAY back when in college!  Let me share some of my favorite pictures....Everyone loves New Orleans for different reasons and takes pictures of those people, places, or things...For me....New Orleans is the architecture, the courtyards, the connection to our European past. 

Don't Forget The Pralines....And AS ALWAYS....
Visit me at Pickwick Antiques Montgomery , Alabama or

COLOR!!! Express yourself!

I LOVE the crispness of a neutral palette in most anything in life...yet ...I must closet would be used in a court of law as evidence otherwise. Color is  science. Using that knowledge of color is design and decoration. 

Some of the shows on the networks often show first -time buyers who determine their choice in housing by the color on the walls...Like cosmetics and is an EASY solution and not cost prohibitive. 

Painted furniture has been around since the ancients began telling their stories through this medium.Today's painted furniture is proof that there is nothing new under the sun. It is , however, important to not merely paint everything in sight. There is not a magazine out there today that does not have examples of painted, distressed or enhanced furniture. 

Entire trends are now revolving around this technique. Personally, I am delighted to see how these pieces blend so effortlessly into the current design schemes.

There are SO many techniques....and appropriate paints for even the most treasured item. I , personally love the "Annie Sloan  Chalk Paint " because of her attention to historical colors, the quality and versatility of her paints and , of course, her waxes. In addition to these things, her paints are so easy to blend and  mix with waxes. There is no stripping of the item, very little if any sanding and  the best is the paints are totally eco-friendly. 

I am learning with every piece that I really want to highlight the details so that the beauty of the piece comes through. Therefore, my pieces will not be as "painted" in appearance as some. The beauty of this technique is are able to customize the piece to the look that makes YOU happy.

My first attempt was a drum table that belonged to my Grandmother...mahogany with lovely brass "claw" feet on casters..It now has a lovely new drawer pull. Fun!

The next pictures will feature plain "Jacobian" style lamps with a "lift", a Scottish Pub table that REALLY shows the highlighted details, and a beautiful mirror that went from boring to fabulous.

Remember.. as ALWAYS...Design is in the details!!!  This beautiful mirror would add to any decor... Visit me at Pickwick Antiques!

Sharing photos!

I will be sharing photos of examples here at Pickwick Antiques. This picture is an example of both needlepoint and petit point(sometimes spelled ..petite point). The term "petit point" literally means...small point.

Although the terms, needlepoint and petit point are interchangeable, they are, in fat, very different. Petit point is comprised of small, fine stitches and is often stitched in single threads of "Penelope" canvas...or fine needlepoint canvas. Congress cloth is also used as well in this process.

This photo is the central motif on a beautiful needlepoint Queen Anne style walnut chair...Beautiful craftsmanship. Always...Design is in the Details!

Finding An Appraiser

Anyone in the antique business will often receive calls about the value of their antique piece or family heirloom. While each dealer has their area of expertise and one is familiar with all areas of antiques and collectables.


Many times...someone will call or come by to find out "how much a particular item is worth." I must honestly tell them...we are not appraisers and are not qualified to give an estimate or appraisal. Often, someone will inquire about the value of a family piece of heirloom, in order to sell that item. Still...antique dealers are not necessarily qualified to give that information.

As there are specialists in other fields, so are there specialists in appraisals. Appraisers will sometimes specialize in a particular area of knowledge from fine art, porcelain, silver, furniture to very specific areas.

Helpful Hints:
  • Do your homework. ..Find a certified appraiser (ISA.International Society of Appraisers, American Association of Appraisers)
  • Be prepared to pay a fee for consultation as well as for time spent.
  • Check online  for certified appraisers that are knowledgable about your items.
The process usually goes like this: 
  1. Consultation( Ask about fees and hourly charges)
  2. Invoice(Cost of Appraisal) Once agreed upon ...the next steps are as follows:
  3. Research /Valuation
  4. Documentation
  5. Fees are usually determined by the amount of time spent and the assessment of the piece.

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