An Antiquarian'sTale, Issue 282

Clinton Howell Antiques - April 15, 2024 - Issue 282

An Appreciation of English Antique Furniture
A semi biographical journey of my life in the English Decorative Arts

I would like to write about my good friend for over forty-five years, Mindy Papp, who died on March 11. Mindy was one of the two scions along with her brother, William, of Florian Papp Antiques, a business begun by her grandfather and maintained by her father. Mindy moved back to New York City from Chicago to help her mother and ailing father with the business in the late 70's and proved more than adept as she courted the English furniture buying world with charm and knowledge and unparalleled generosity that no one else in New York or London has ever matched, at least in my opinion. Mindy made English furniture feel comfortable for a slew of people and she was an enthusiast who liked to share her knowledge and love of the business.

We met some time around 1977-8, I'm not sure exactly, but I walked into her gallery on Madison Avenue between 75th and 76th Streets and immediately felt at home. This is because Mindy took me upstairs and before I knew it, we were both on the floor looking up at the underside of a table. We bantered about the table for a bit and then a few other items and when I finally left, I realized that I'd met a kindred spirit. Here was someone, roughly my age (younger in fact) who was embarking on the same journey I was, only she was starting on a higher floor than I was in tending to a gallery on Madison Ave. I was still a restorer who was just starting to get interested in dealing.

Mindy and I bonded quickly because that was Mindy's way. She enjoyed people and even though she had started out in the world of television, she took to the antiques trade as a fish to water. She was very good at what she did, buying and selling well and making great clients in the process. And, because of an inherently generous spirit, she gathered like minds around her as she went, far beyond the antiques world. Her husband, Guy Durham, who owned his own advertising business, also became a close friend and we had some great adventures including their wedding but none more fascinating than the construction of their house in Bedford, NY. I am looking at a photograph at this moment of Guy, my two (young) children and myself, camping out on their property before the first stone was laid. Mindy and Guy wanted to get the feel of their land and we were asked to participate. I remember Mindy making pancakes over a fire for breakfast. It is a memory I hold dear. God speed, Mindy!