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46th Annual Philadelphia Antiques Show: April 14-17, 2007
April 10, 2007, Volume 53, No. 29

A Brief History of The Philadelphia Antiques Show

In the four decades since its founding in 1962, by volunteer Mrs. Moreau D. (Ali) Brown, the Philadelphia Antiques Show has raised nearly $15 million for the advancement of patient care at the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS).  As the premier American antiques and decorative arts show in the country, it features 56 of the nation’s leading antiques dealers.

Each year the Philadelphia Antiques Show has a special loan exhibit composed of museum quality items culled from private collectors and institutions across the country. The loan exhibit also provides a theme for each show, and a variety of special events are created to reflect and magnify that theme. 

A committee of over 250 volunteers presents this annual event. Each year proceeds are directed to a specific department or a special project within UPHS.

2007 Show Beneficiary

Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Section of Critical Care

The Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is a 56 bed, high-tech, nationally recognized unit, consisting of three separate nursing staffs and three intensive care services. The unit’s 7,000 yearly admissions include emergency transfers, critically ill post-operative patients and critically ill patients. The SICU stays range from a period of hours to months, comprised of general surgical, vascular, trauma, transplant, cardiac and neurosurgical patients. The patients’ families and visitors often spend many hours in these areas, waiting for the conclusion of a surgical procedure or, in some cases, during weeks of intensive care for the most critically ill.

The current support and waiting rooms have become inadequate to meet the varying needs of the families of critically ill surgical patients. The proceeds of the 2007 Philadelphia Antiques Show will be used to expand and renovate these areas. The renovated spaces will include a consultation space for meetings between physicians and families, enhanced information sharing and comfortable seating areas suitable both for short stay visitors, late night waiting and families whose loved ones are in the SICU for extended periods. The new waiting spaces will be specifically designed to reduce stress, enhance the presentation of patient information, educate and support visitors.

The past recipients have benefited immensely from the Philadelphia Antiques Show, enabling the UPHS to maintain its standard of excellent patient care. Proceeds from past shows have been used to purchase the following:

2006–Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery: total artificial heart pumps and supporting consoles for the heart failure/transplant program (Almanac February 23, 2007).

2005–Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology: a digital X-ray system allowing for real-time patient evaluation and treatment, an updated travel endoscopy cart and a magnification colonoscope to assist in polyp identification.

2004–Department of Radiology, Ultrasound Section: state of the art scanners, which greatly impacts the ability to make critical decisions in a timely manner.

Premier Events

The loan exhibit,  Philadelphia Empire Furniture-Bold, Brash, & Beautiful, will showcase Philadelphia furniture inspired by classical architecture, monuments, and archeology. Over 40 pieces of furniture will be on display, including a variety of seating furniture, work tables devoted to women’s sewing, and large case pieces such as a French-inspired fall front desk or secretaire á abanttant. Several premier events will elaborate on this theme.


Desk and Bookcase
Desk and Bookcase, circa 1820-1830, carved and veneered mahogany, Philadelphia, Private Collection. The upper columns have Corinthian capitals and the lower columns are modified Ionic. A “paneled out” construction in the manner of ancient Etruscan decorated walls adorns the front surface of the fall front desk and cabinet doors. The door muntins arch at the top with an angle that corresponds to that of the acanthus decorated corner acroterion. Between these, the triangular central pediment is veneered mahogany. The overall effect is directly derived from pediments frequently seen surmounting Greek temples and other monuments. All glass knobs are original.

Girard College Trolley Tour, Sunday, April 15, 8:45 a.m.–noon. After enjoying a continental breakfast at the Philadelphia Antiques Show and a chartered trolley ride, your tour, conducted by the curators of Girard College and Stenton, will highlight the architecture of the school, as well as the Stephen Girard Collection. Girard was a Philadelphia ship captain, merchant and banker. Founder’s Hall, located at the college, is considered the finest example of Greek revival architecture in the country. In addition, this exhibit is Philadelphia’s greatest intact single-owner collection from the early national period -1780 to 1830. You will view furniture, ceramics, silver, textiles and paintings from Philadelphia, England, Europe and China. At the time of his death in 1831, Girard was one of the richest men in America. The money he left to create Girard College was the largest private charitable donation of its time and an unprecedented act of philanthropy.

The McNeil Curator Lecture: The Craze for Grecian Taste in America, 1810-1840; lecture by Wendy A. Cooper, Lois F. and Henry S. McNeil senior curator of furniture, Winterthur Museum, Sunday, April 15, 1:30–2:30 p.m. Spurred by Napoleon’s voracious appetite for adopting the taste and styles of the classical world, wealthy Americans from Maine to Georgia soon followed by acquiring Americanized versions of French and English interpretations of furniture and furnishings inspired by the ancients.  Usually based on the countries of origin of those crafting these artful accoutrements, some were more French, and others more English–but none were less than American. In this lecture Ms. Cooper will explore the various regional expressions and preferences, highlighting major patrons and the glorious objects that adorned their homes from Boston’s Beacon Street to Charleston’s Battery.

Adriana Scalamandré Bitter Presents, Monday, April 16, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. The Philadelphia Antiques Show welcomes the daughter of renowned fabric designers Flora and Franco Scalamandré, Adriana Scalamandré Bitter. Mrs. Bitter shares her personal memories of her celebrated family. Since 1929, Scalamandré has created magnificent fabrics for the world’s most illustrious clients using stimulating color palettes, exquisite fabrics, and vibrant prints. In addition, Scalamandré is a major manufacturer of historical fabrics and textiles, recreating pieces for the White House, San Simeon Castle and Monticello. Scalamandré has a remarkable reputation for their extraordinary level of quality, taste and style.

The Art of Fashion, Tuesday, April 17, noon –1:30 p.m. For nearly a century, Neiman Marcus has stayed focused on serving the unique needs of their market. Today, that commitment has extended to assisting the communities in which they are the premier specialty retailer. Neiman Marcus, King of Prussia, is pleased to partner with the Philadelphia Antiques Show as they present The Art of Fashion Spring 2007 Collections. As you enjoy both your friends and a delightful luncheon you will experience the distinctive merchandise for which Neiman Marcus is renowned. View the latest trends of the season while models informally showcase the “Must Haves” of the season. Enjoy an intimate fashion presentation right at your table.

A complete list of special events is online. For ticket prices, event packages, registration and additional information, call (215) 387-3500 or visit the Antiques Show on the web at www.PhilaAntiques.com. Show admission and a catalogue are included with all special events. Events and prices are subject to change. A Guided Show Tour can be added for $10 with the purchase of a ticket to any other special event. Valet parking is available.  Photo ID will be required for entry into the Armory at 33rd and Market Streets.

Almanac - April 10, 2007, Volume 53, No. 29