Those of you who know me well know that I love gardening and today I am pleased to announce that we have added eighteen spectacular new garden ornaments to our Patio & Garden section at The Well Appointed House. These antique reproductions are expertly handcrafted in the USA from the Garden Traditions by Barbara Israel collection . I was first introduced to the line by my fabulous landscape architect, Susan Cohen of Greenwich, CT and I was impressed enough to add Barbara’s pieces to my website.
“What would entice a person to pursue a career in garden ornament? In my case it was one magnificent estate: Blairsden, in Peapack, NJ. A few times as a child, I secretly circumnavigated the locked entrance gates and scaled the clifflike hills surrounding the house to peek through the trees at Blairsden’s formal garden.”
-Barbara Israel, Antique Garden Ornament: Two Centuries of American Taste
Barbara Israel grew up in Far Hills, New Jersey, not far from Blairsden, a splendid turn-of-the-century estate with cascading Italianate gardens. Her early interest in gardens, design, and ornament was fostered not only by her childhood expeditions to Blairsden, but also by countless days spent playing in her grandmothers’ welcoming gardens. It was clear from the start– Barbara’s enthusiasm for gardens would be a defining aspect of her life.
In the early 1980s, Barbara and her husband, Tom, purchased an 1860s farmhouse in Katonah, New York where she had the opportunity to cultivate a garden of her own. Her challenge was to restore, maintain, and expand the planted areas of the property, including a formal garden that was reputedly designed by the Olmsted Brothers in the early 20th century. Barbara’s penchant for hands-on gardening and her love of research spurred a quest to find historically appropriate ornament to complement her outdoor space. In 1985, while under the mentorship of William Doyle, founder of Doyle Galleries in New York City, she traveled to an estate where she purchased one statue that gave spirit and focus to her Katonah property and thirty-nine others that would launch her career.
As a dealer, Barbara collects the finest examples of garden ornament, guided by her appreciation for classical forms and her love of unusual, once-in-a-lifetime finds. Her collection pays homage both to historic European models and to American creativity and invention. Barbara Israel is the sole antique garden ornament dealer at the highly prestigious Winter Antiques Show. The company also exhibits at The New York Botanical Garden Antique Garden Furniture Show, the most selective and longest-running garden antiques show in the country.
Barbara’s book, Antique Garden Ornament: Two Centuries of American Taste, was published by Harry N. Abrams in 1999 and is still considered the most complete reference of its kind. Illustrated with more than 100 color photographs of ornament in historic gardens and an exhaustive catalogue of patterns organized by type, it chronicles the history of American garden ornament from 1740 to 1940.
Barbara has served as a consultant to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on their collection of nineteenth-century cast-iron, and has sold pieces to the Winterthur Museum, the Smithsonian Institution and the Baltimore Museum of Art, as well as to many important private clients. As an active board member of Historic Hudson Valley, Barbara is helping to preserve landmark properties and their antique garden ornaments. She has appeared on television programs and webcasts including Good Morning America, Sunday Morning Today, Antiques Roadshow FYI, and, most recently, on MSN’s Collect This!. Barbara has also been featured in the New York Times, ELLE Décor, House & Garden, Garden Design, and the Baltimore Sun. She continues to lecture extensively on all aspects of garden ornament.
We are all excited to be working with Barbara and her team, including Nancy Zander, who runs the company. You can peruse the entire collection here and of course purchase your favorite items now, in time for the holidays.
The Linden Squirrel is just $40 plus shipping and makes a lovely gift!
The “Goodwood Frog” Fountain is delightful and also makes a nice gift, priced at $200:
Check our the entire collection and don’t forget our big 20% off sale ends tomorrow!