If you love beautiful, classic, romantic gardens, you may have heard of Barbara Israel and her Barbara Israel Garden Antiques in Katonah, New York, where she sells both antiques and her line of Garden Traditions, high quality replicas modeled from antique originals. Her ornament is beautifully displayed in the gardens surrounding her own home, a 19th-century farmhouse. Recently she has come out with a handy guide to buying garden antiques.
Barbara has served as a consultant to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its collection of nineteenth-century cast iron, and sold pieces to the Winterthur Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, as well as to private collectors. Her guide helps antique lovers determine age, condition, and potential problems while browsing an auction or sale. It explains how to determine cast vs. carved stone, how much repair is too much, and how to see the difference between serious damage and normal weathering. Here's an example of serious damage.
Extreme example of unchecked damage caused by exposed rebar Photo: Barbara Israel
Here's an example of a good repair.
Acceptable, good old repair to re-attach head of a marble statue, ca. 1855 Photo: Barbara Israel
Here is an example of statuary from Barbara's own inventory.
A cast-iron fountain figure of a seated girl with serene expression, her hair meticulously rendered with braids, the overturned jar on her knee plumbed for water, marked “Durenne Sommevoire”, French, ca. 1870. 34.5 ins. high, base 23 ins. x 14 ins. (footprint).
The book can be purchased for $19.95 at barbaraisrael.com