Date: January 12, 2010 | Story: Allison Cook |
Kirby Whetstone, owner of Antique Co. in Little Rock, found her calling as an antiques dealer while she was a collector. “After years of studying and collecting antiques that I loved, I decided to become a dealer,” she says. “I was a partner in Antiquarius for 25 years, and I opened Antiques Co on my own almost four years ago.”
Whetstone specializes in 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century continental furnishings and accessories for individuals and interior designers alike. Through her travels, she hand picks pieces, and focuses on high-quality finds. “Every time I travel, I’m working,” she says. “I just got back from Indo-China and brought home some beautiful ancient pottery.”
One of her favorite current collections is this selection of mirrors. “I find the history of mirrors to be very interesting,” she says. “The Venetians discovered how to make them, and originally the frame was simply to protect the mirror itself.” In today’s market the frame now has more value than the actual mirror, Whetstone explains. “Thanks to their multitude of uses, mirrors always play a key role in a home’s interior design and can truly transform a room.”
Whetstone’s mirrors vary in style from English to Italian and Venetian, but all boast beautiful gilt frames and original glass. The pair of Venetian gilt-wood, etched glass mirrors, circa 1825, features a man and a woman, and she notes that they must have been commissioned pieces since the images do not face each other, which is traditional. The English convex mirror is circa 1810, and it has a soft, elegant design. “They are very popular, and people seem to relate to the really good-quality English style.”
The ornate northern Italian selection is circa 1716, and its shapely form and detailed carvings make it an ideal focal point, while the French Régency square mirror is circa 18th century. “We can’t seem to keep these Régency mirrors in the shop,” she says. “They are very in fashion right now.”
Whetstone reflects on her time in the antiques business as a blending of her interest and her career. “I’ve been able to blend my passion with my business, and I’m very fortunate for that,” she says.