After three decades of experiences in the metier of the the appraisal, brokering and liquidating of fine art, antiques and related household contents of distinction, it remains a signal honour when entrusted with the liquidation of the estate of a distinguished antiquarian and gallery owner. Fewer dealers based and active in S FL could have a claim to cachet and the respect of his peers than John J. Thompson. His heyday was the 1960's and 1970's. For years he enthralled the discerning residents of the S FL antiques collecting community with his Fort Lauderdale gallery, located on the still fashionable Las Olas Boulevard. At that time his patrons also included sophisticated visitors to the area as well as seasonal residents who relied on "JJ" (as he was affectionally known) to maintain an impressive inventory of fine European 17th, 18th and early 19th Century furniture, decorative objects, lighting and an intriguing offering of paintings. At the same time Thompson invariably loved to buy and offer fine Asian antiques that would include fine porcelains lacquer, and bronzes in addition to the occasional fine coromandel folding screens. Unfortunately, I only encountered him once shortly before he died in the early 1980's. But as a young antiquarian myself, I was at the time in my 20's and working for a long established Coral Gables based antiques gallery owner as a personal assistant, J. J. Thompson was frequently cited and discussed with awe and immeasurable admiration by that generation who held him up as being from the ranks of the elite in the profession. In fact, Thompson was among the few dealers from S FL (and possibly the first) who exhibited his offerings at the East Side Settlement Antiques Show in the Park Avenue Armory during the 1960's. While exhibiting there he sold a pair of armchairs with the stamp of Georges Jacob to no one less that Jacqueline Kennedy when she was First Lady! Another client was the entertainer with the booming voice Ethel Merman.
However, long after his death, my office was thrilled to receive a phone call inquiring about the possibility of arranging and administering an estate sale for a considerable volume of inventory he'd owned and with which he'd lived that had continued to be used and enjoyed by his surviving partner, a delightful gentleman who had acquired JJ Thompson's love and appreciation of French and Continental furniture and who was now getting elderly and seriously wanted to downsize and have an effective liquidation. What a privilege that was for my company, LFAS! To this day, it remains one of the most enjoyable projects undertaken by my company. Lots of hard work, organizing, pricing, preparing, marketing and then holding the sale which was hugely appreciated by the buying public that included a good amount of dealers who realized this was inventory they wanted to have a chance to acquire for their own galleries. One dealer really went to town and loaded up a van with his purchases and enjoyed proudly showing these lovely things in his gallery and slowly sold the items slowly to appreciative new owners giving them a safe and appreciative new home.
To get an idea of the J. J. Thompson nearly vanished style of collecting and way of living with antiques, a look at a vintage copy of a S FL magazine long out of circulation gives us a glimpse. In the same article's illustrations are many things LFAS handled when it liquidated the remaining art and antiques in the summer of 2008. Below is a photo of J. J. Thompson seated in his "Florida room" as it's often called by Floridians, beyond is a glimpse of the more "formal" sitting room. To millennials, the concept of a formal sitting or drawing room is becoming less and less familiar. But this was the early Pre-Watergate Nixon Era 1970's and at that time it seemed that from time immemorial civilised people had separate formal areas in their homes and didn't dine in the kitchen!
Below the view of the courtyard patio also shows the garden ornaments LFAS enjoyed handling.