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Blooming Antiques, Booming Business

Historic Alexandria Foundation Antiques Show

The annual Historic Alexandria Foundation Antiques Show offers what appears to be the life cycle of antiquing: from appraisal to purchasing to incorporating a new piece into an overall home design.

Scheduled from Nov. 17-19 at the Holiday Inn on 625 First St., the show is the Historic Alexandria Foundation’s top fundraising event each year. Over 40 dealers from around the United States — and at least one from the United Kingdom — will offer an elite collection of 17th-to-19th century furniture, clocks, paintings, ceramics, jewelry and much more. Admission to the show is $12. The show is scheduled for Friday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; and Sunday from noon – 5 p.m.

Some of the new dealers at the show this year include Shaia Oriental Rugs of Williamsburg, Susan Van der Veer Antiques of Ohio and Portland Antiques and Fine Art of Maine. Weston Antiques of the United Kingdom is scheduled to appear; view the company’s quirky collection of corkscrews on www.westonantiques.com.

In addition, Alexandria’s newest antique auction house, The Potomack Company, will offer appraisals during the Alexandria Antiques Show on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The company’s staff of experts will be on hand to appraise specific objects for a fee of $5 per item.

“You just show up with your objects — you can bring one or a hundred, whatever you want,” said Mary Sterling, executive director for the Historic Alexandria Foundation. “I think that will interest a lot of people.”

STERLING SAID this year’s antiques show follows a specific premise: “Decorative Arts in Bloom.”

“It’s our whole theme. It’s the cover of the invitation, it’s on the poster,” she said. “How to do floral arrangements that are appropriate for antique homes.”

Two special events follow that theme. On Friday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m., expert dealer Joyce Hanes of Hanes and Ruskin Antiques of Connecticut. Her lecture, “A Garden Tour Through the Decorative Arts,” is scheduled to be held at The Lloyd House, 220 N. Washington St. Tickets are $20.

"She's going to be giving an hour-long talk about using flowers and foliage to decorate," said Lee Hanes of Hanes and Ruskin.

Then, on Saturday, Nov. 18, floral designer Laura Dowling will present a lecture/demonstration at the Lloyd House entitled “New Trends & Directions in French Floral Design.” Tickets are $20.

“She’s in Paris as we speak, studying this week, and will be back next Monday with all sorts of new ideas for floral arrangements,” said Sterling.

Dowling, who worked on the dazzling arrangements for BET co-founder Sheila Johnson’s wedding last year, is renowned for her innovation in colors and materials. Her work can be viewed by visiting www.lauradowling.com.

THERE ARE TWO other events surrounding the antiques show that marry food, drink and a love for collectibles.

On Thursday, Nov. 16 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., there will be a preview party of the show at the Holiday Inn. Tickets are $125 per person, and include continuous show admission, catalogue and a cocktail buffet.

On Saturday, Nov. 18, a Young Collectors Evening will be held for $75 per person. It begins at 5 p.m. with a professionally guided tour of the antiques show. It then moves over to the gorgeous Lord Fairfax House for a special cocktail reception.

“It’s for people who are just getting interested and learning to collect,” said Sterling. “It’s usually a youngish crowd, but anybody can come.”