Newel Post Collection
The Jay Christopher Newel Post Collection on the second floor gallery of the Landscape Barn, includes more than 100 newel posts. The collection began in 2010 when Mr. Christopher discovered some old tattered newels in an antique shop and decided they would make perfect outdoor chess pawn pieces. Collection curator Erika Lusthoff was assigned the task of finding other newels to serve as king, queen, bishop and knight pieces. The first source for antique newels she found was Architectural Emporium, a salvage store in Pennsylvania with a website storefront. The King Newel pictured below and a few others were far too grand and heavy for chess and not suited to be left outside, and so began the architectural newel post collection.
Jay Christopher explains: “Newel posts are not typical run-of-the-mill objects to collect. It was a fluke that I first stumbled across the newels in an antique store. Most visitors to the store probably walked right by the dusty newels. I admit I have a rather active imagination and this odd pile caught my eye, and I saw something others had not seen in these old battered posts. As you can see through the beautiful restoration of the 100-plus newels on display, the craftsmanship is not lost and the transformation to their original luster is amazing. Wood is a wonderful medium and one for which I have always had an appreciation. I began purchasing and restoring antique pieces of furniture during my twenties to furnish my first home. Throughout high school, I worked at a hardware shop and learned my way around tools of the trade. I have many fond memories of working at that store and the craftsmanship skills I acquired there.”