Carlton Hobbs: The Sculptures of Francesco Antonio Franzoni

An antiques dealer, Carlton Hobbs purchases, researches, and preserves objects originating from as many as 400 years ago in continental Europe and Britain. Through his company, Carlton Hobbs, LLC, he has built a strong international reputation with his rigorous academic approach. His deep knowledge in a variety of specialists fields permits him to acquire historically significant items. The company is headquartered in New York.

One item of particular note in the company’s collection is a sculpture attributed to Francesco Antonio Franzoni. Born in Carrara, Italy, in 1734, Franzoni worked as a highly influential sculptor in Rome. His pieces reveal a deep knowledge of archeology and often feature strikingly rendered animals.

The sculptor is most famous for his animal work, perhaps best represented by the Room of the Animals, which includes two beautiful pieces featuring a mastiff attacking a goat in one and a deer in another. The room, located in the Pio-Clementino Museum at the Vatican.

The piece in the Carlton Hobbs collection depicts a cockerel with one snake in its beak and another subdued under its foot. The cockerel likely represents a French subject, and in particular the flamboyant Joachim-Napoléon Murat, Grand Admiral of France. The snakes are assumed to symbolize the Two Kingdoms of Sicily, which had recently been defeated at the battle of Austerlitz in December 1805. The bee on the crown of the cockerel’s head is the key to the interpretation of this piece: it stands for Murat’s wife, Napoleon’s youngest sister Caroline.


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Viollet-le-Duc and Notre Dame Cathedral

A renowned professional specializing in antiques from the 17th through 19th centuries, Carlton Hobbs performs as the owner and director of Carlton Hobbs, LLC, an international antiques dealer. In managing his business, he partners with Stefanie Rinza, a Harvard Business School graduate. In addition to providing fine objects for clients, the company owns a research department that is dedicated to the ongoing study of antiques.

A recent discovery by the Carlton Hobbs team is the design drawing by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc of a large carpet. Viollet-le-Duc , who lived from 1814 to 1879, began his life as a designer, architect, and art historian by traveling throughout Italy and France to study the great works of art. Following this period, he became part of a broader aesthetic movement that developed ornamental features in architecture and is today recognized as one of the most influential architects of 19th century France.

Reflecting his influence, Viollet-le-Duc was selected to restore Notre Dame cathedral, a massive project that took up the remainder of his life. His plans survive as drawings published in the “Chapelles de Notre Dame de Paris,” which includes a design for the beautiful ornate carpet mentioned above. Only two carpets were made in the style laid out in the book, one presently in Notre Dame cathedral and another recently displayed at Carlton Hobbs’ booth 271, TEFAF Maastricht.

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Carlton Hobbs Shows at the Art and Antiques Dealers League of America Spring Show

Carlton Hobbs has contributed to the international arts community for over 30 years as a high-end arts and antiques dealer. So far in 2013, his works have appeared at TEFAF Maastricht for the second year running and the Art and Antique Dealers League of America (AADLA) Spring Show.

The AADLA Spring Show took place from May 1 through May 5 at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan. It included hundreds of works of art, as well as lectures by museum curators and scholars, book signings, and other special events.

The oldest antiques and fine arts organization in the U.S., the AADLA promotes understanding of arts and culture among its members and within the public sphere. It is committed to serving collectors and patrons of fine art and antiques.

At this year’s show, Carlton Hobbs exhibited a collection of satirical portraits representing members of the court of King Louis XIV of France. The portraits, which are miniature ivory carvings, date from the early 19th century and are based on engravings from the late 17th century.

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Carlton Hobbs: How to Care For High Quality Antique Furniture

Since 1983, antiques dealer Carlton Hobbs has owned London-based Carlton Hobbs, LLC, Antiques and Fine Art. Carlton Hobbs shows and sells art and antiques across the globe, including at TEFAF Maastricht and New York City’s Art and Antique Dealers League of America show.

Caring for antique furniture requires attention and care not normally given to regular, recently constructed furniture. The value and appearance of antique furniture can be preserved through proper cleaning and storage.

Do not keep antique furniture in direct sunlight, as ultraviolet light can damage wood and fabric, and darken finishes. Too much sun can also cause bleaching, and even cause timber to split. While faded mahogany is actually highly prized, the fading must occur evenly and over a long period.

Avoid using wax sprays, furniture oils, or silicone-based polishes to clean antique furniture. These products contain chemicals that can destroy finishes and even attract dirt and dust. Instead, apply natural beeswax with a soft cloth about once every eight months.

If damage to antique furniture occurs, the best course of action is to contact the dealer who sold the piece to find out how it can be restored.

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Carlton Hobbs, LLC, and its Portfolio of Intriguing Antique Desks

An antiques dealer headquartered in New York City, Carlton Hobbs, LLC, offers high-quality antique furniture, marble, paintings, and other fine objects. Among its diverse holdings, the firm offers several desks dating from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. One such desk, a writing table from Munich, Germany, circa 1817, was crafted out of mahogany and includes ebony inlay, as well as gilt bronze mounts. Another item, a George III mahogany poudreuse, dates to approximately 1765. The George III architect’s table, also from 1765 and also crafted from mahogany, differs from the poudreuse in that it exhibits a rectangular ratcheted top in addition to a pair of rococo brass swan handles.

For more modern tastes, Carlton Hobbs, LLC, offers a mahogany writing table manufactured by the Kittinger Furniture Company in the first part of the last century. However, it shows the influence of 18th-century campaign furniture, making it a particularly interesting fusion of 20th- and 18th-century design sensibilities.

To view a photograph of each of the above antiques, please log on to

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Carlton Hobbs: Buying and Selling Ivory Antiques

Ivory artwork and ornamental objects are highly prized for their beauty and craftsmanship, but collectors should be aware that several regulations at the state, national, and international level govern the sale and transport of ivory. Below is an overview of the most pertinent concerns for buyers and sellers of ivory pieces. To truly determine the status of an individual piece, however, it is necessary to conduct thorough research and acquire historical documentation.


The majority of ivory pieces are made from the tusks of the two species of elephant: the African elephant and the Asian elephant. Different regulations govern items made from these species. Habitat loss and the unchecked ivory trade up until the mid-1900s century resulted in the African elephant’s near-extinction, but populations have recovered somewhat, and the species is now considered vulnerable instead of endangered. The Asian elephant, however, remains endangered.

Raw vs. carved ivory

Rules governing the sale of African ivory typically make a distinction between raw and “worked,” or carved, ivory. Raw African ivory imported before 1989 is legal to sell between states and export; raw pieces imported after that year are illegal. Carved African ivory is subject to more complex rules and regulations.

Year of import and age at the time of import

Asian ivory (both raw and carved) imported prior to 1976 is illegal to sell, while Asian ivory imported after this date and at least 100 years old is legal to export and sell between states.

For carved African ivory, 1989 is the key date – any carved pieces imported before 1989, as well as those more than a century old that were imported after 1989, are legal to sell interstate and export. Carved African ivory pieces that are less than 100 years old and imported after 1989 are illegal to sell.

In all instances and for both import and export, a CITIES certificate needs to be applied for indicating the species, provenance and transport history of any ivory piece.

About Carlton Hobbs: The owner of Carlton Hobbs Antiques, Mr. Hobbs is a prominent antiques dealer based in New York City. He also operates a gallery in London.

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Thomas Hope, an 18th Century Trendsetter in Art and Furniture Design

Thomas Hope (1769-1830) was a wealthy British merchant banker, author, and lover of art. He is best known for his novel Anastasius, but he was also a furniture and interior designer. The son of a line of successful Dutch and British bankers, he established a country home called Deepdene, which held an impressive collection of furniture and decorative objects.

Although not currently a household name, in his time, Hope’s designs were very impactful on British tastes. Hope was an art and architecture connoisseur and favored opulent Greco-Roman ornamentation that eventually became known as the Regency style, which swept Britain in the first quarter of 19th century. His pieces are still considered lyrical and bold, and are sought after by antique dealers, private collectors, and museums. The contents of Deepdene were auctioned by Christie’s in 1917; it is rare to see an exhibition of Thomas Hope pieces.

About the Author: Carlton Hobbs is a well-known independent dealer of fine antiques and historic objects. His gallery in New York City has sold objects to the world’s leading museums and private collections.

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