Question: Last year, I attended a charity fashion show that included a number of “Roaring 20’s” garments. While recently cleaning out my attic in preparation for renovation, I uncovered some similar dresses once owned by several members of my family during the 1920s.
Only one dress is in perfect condition. It is a loose fitting V-neck, ankle-length, sleeveless, rose color chiffon gown that hangs straight down from the shoulders. Scattered over the dress are sequins and rhinestones.
Is it worth anything now? C. K., Linwood
Answer: You have described one of the early-to-mid-1920s formal “Tube” style evening dresses, usually made from luxurious fabrics and enhanced with sparkling sequins or metallic beads.
Shorter versions, known as “flapper” dresses, featured U- or V-shaped necklines as well as draped, often unidentified waistlines and low, often irregular hemlines.
Eminent designers who created the fashionable, favorite garments included Worth, Mariano Fortuny, Jeanne Lavin, Jean Palou and Lucien LeLong.
During the 1920s, endorsements of the popular attire by motion picture stars Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford and others added to demand for trendy flapper designs that lasted a decade.
This year, a Roaring 20s chiffon gown very much like yours fetched $295.
Question: I am curious about an old picture that hung in a great-aunt’s living room for many years and was recently given to my daughter.
Matted and framed, it measures 18 by 12 inches. It is titled “The Approach San Juan Capistrano,” signed “Wallace Nutting” and stamped with a “W.Nutting” copyright.
Although I always thought Wallace Nutting was an artist, this picture appears to be a large colored photograph.
Information is appreciated. A. F., Beesley’s Point
Answer: Born in Massachusetts, Wallace Nutting (1861-1941) was a retired minister, artist, photographer, author and lecturer as well as a furniture maker and antiques and collectibles expert.
After Nutting’s retirement from the ministry, he began to explore the local New England countryside and soon was taking pictures he colored and sold.
Nutting’s first studio, opened in 1904 in New York, later was moved to Connecticut and then to New Hampshire. There, his New England country photos and staged “Colonial” interiors featuring his Early American style furniture and decorations were offered for sale.
Other popular Nutting subjects included seascapes, animals, children, floral arrangements and snow scenes.
At the height of his heyday, from 1915 to 1925, Nutting sold millions of his photographs, hand-colored by hundreds of his employees, to a market of mostly middle-class customers.
Your Wallace Nutting 1912 photo shows the California mission of San Juan Capistrano, originally established to expand the territorial boundaries of Spain and spread Christianity to the native peoples of California.
The seventh of 21 California missions, it was a center for agriculture, industry, education and religion.
Currently a historic landmark and museum, the building houses historical paintings and artifacts associated with the mission’s history.
A Wallace Nutting hand-colored, matted, framed and signed 1912 California mission photograph like yours recently sold for $79.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Living section, The Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville, NJ 08232 Email: treasuresby firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.