King Street Antique Stroll
The King Street Antique Stroll has become an annual tradition at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Each year, experts in decorative arts and design fields lead groups of participants up and down lower King Street, stopping in at designated antiques shops for a peak at their treasures. It’s a very festive evening, with the dealers rolling out the red carpet in terms of access as well as libations and holiday nibbles. There’s literally a treasure trove of objects to delight the senses, from stately, dining room furniture and intricately carved Charleston rice beds to delicate silver tea sets and brilliant cut-glass and even a fun selection of twentieth-century finds at Tucker Payne’s shop.
I have been fortunate enough to attend the strolls every year and I’m always impressed by the depth of information that the guides and dealers share. I learn something new at almost every stop. Appraiser George Read, who has volunteered as a guide for multiple years, is always great at pointing out how to spot an imposter piece (of course, none that we see on the tour fall into that category!). That little bit of knowledge is quite handy when shopping for a big-ticket item. Charleston Museum Chief Curator Grahame Long has also led groups for numerous years and I love hearing from him about the history of a particular style or type of object. Architect and lighting designer Mark Maresca shares his sharp design eye and often points out an unusual piece that I might have overlooked among the artfully-piled surfaces. Owner Andy Slotin is so knowledgeable about the provenance of the objects in his shop, as are the rest of the dealers. No matter which group I am with, there is a wealth of information and it’s shared graciously.
The guests who attend the event are a wonderful mix of ages, interests, and backgrounds. I’ve met a couple working on a home renovation that wanted some new ideas, a student and her mother looking for a fun holiday outing together, and a group of girlfriends who have made the stroll an annual tradition. Whether you have a deep love of antiques or are just starting to scratch the surface, there’s something for everyone. By the end of the night, everyone is cheerful and inspired, and we all linger just a little longer in the last stop as we try to decide whether to go back and snag that treasure that caught our eye along the way. Sometimes people do, but if they don’t this time, they’ve learned some new tips and great spots to stop the next time they’re on the hunt.
Visit the Gibbes Museum’s website today and get your tickets for the Antique Stroll on December 5th!
—Lasley Steever, Director of Programs and Digital Engagement
November 30, 2018
Top image: Appraiser George Read talks to the group about details of a small trunk at Tucker Payne Antiques.