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Remembering Stephenson Boone Andrews, By Charles Hind

I first met Stephenson Andrews (1959-2016), known to all his friends as Steve, in 1988 when he was visiting London and taking in the salerooms. At the time, I ran the architectural and design drawings sale at Sotheby’s and the annual sale was on view.  I was called down from my office to deal with a potential buyer, a charming American with a twinkle in his eye and a southern accent that I soon found, to use an English turn of phrase, he could lay on with a trowel and usually left his listeners helpless with laughter.  This turned out to be Steve.  It was a pleasure to walk round the sale view with him, discussing the drawings and estimates, and what started out as a business relationship soon turned into a firm friendship as we discovered how many interests we had in common or that overlapped.  Indeed, I was honoured to be asked to be his best man for his first marriage, thus establishing his credentials for extended stays in England.

For Steve was a committed Anglophile with a passion for the British royal family, English country houses and their contents. He had attended the Attingham Summer School (I am an alumnus of a few years later), a gruelling three-week course of visits, lectures and high jinks that introduced museum curators and scholars from the USA and elsewhere to the treasures accumulated over centuries by the British aristocracy. Some of the friendships made on that course lasted his lifetime. His interest in British royalty led to the creation of a huge collection of ceramics and glass commemorative items made to mark coronations, marriages, deaths and anniversaries. They ranged from the cheap mugs presented by loyal but cost-conscious town councils to the schoolchildren in their care to the beautifully hand-painted and gilded productions of such firms as Wedgwood and Spode.

This social and qualitative range mirrored Steve’s interest in people. His husband Terry commented that Steve believed there were no strangers in this world, just friends he had not met yet. This is certainly true and unlike many of us, try as we might, Steve worked hard to keep his friendships in good repair. Laughter was the principal glue in his relationships and his Facebook page is still active with people posting messages and memories, people who had encountered him through his other passions, such as world travel and the theater or who had encountered him in his journey through life, from school days in Charleston, West Virginia, the U.S. Capitol Page School in Washington DC and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, West Va. His first professional appointment was as a historic house curator at Bacon’s Castle, Va.  In due course he became a private art curator. One of his collectors had chosen architectural drawings as his principal area of interest, thus bringing Steve into contact with me.  In due course I moved from the commercial world into museums and we hoped to pool interests and put on in London a big show of Russian architectural drawings from the 18th century to the Revolution.  This never came to fruition because of budgetary restraints but I have always regretted that we never worked directly together on a project.

 

Stephenson Boone Andrews & Charles Hind; Lot 180

As a collector, I have already mentioned British royal commemoratives but he also collected architectural drawings, a selection of which are represented in this sale. They lined the walls of the house he and Terry shared in Amenia N.Y. and formed an essential part of the setting in which I shall always remember him. His taste ran principally to late 19th century French drawings, but he also ventured to Germany, Italian and Britain. He took great care in how the drawings were presented and spent a lot of time considering matting and frames. Steve derived great pleasure from his collections but now it is time to send some of them on their travels again.

CHARLES HIND, MA, FSA
Chief Curator and H.J. Heinz Curator of Drawings
Royal Institute of British Architects

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