Saturday, April 14, 2012

I Love the Antique Road Show - What Famous Person set a cocktail down here?

Another family story is about a library table cut down to coffee table height.

Could Anna Pavlova have stood next to this table at a cocktail party?

My sister moved this coffee table to her house, after Uncle Ben was admitted to healthcare at the end of his life.  Before Uncle Ben moved to New Mexico and brought it with him, it had belonged to Uncle Bob, who purchased it from a friend, Elizabeth Vickers who owned a high end antiques shop. 

Family stories have it that it originally belonged to Pavlova's dance partner, Laurent Novikoff and that Elizabeth bought it from a friend of his after his death in New York.  We have no idea if this provenance could be proved since there are no written records.  The table was originally a library table that was cut down to make a coffee table and we don't think the legs are original to the piece.  Regardless of its origins, isn't it handsome?  
Photo via The Vintique Object
Detail of carving

Pavlova and Novikoff were pretty handsome as well.
Laurent Novikoff (1888-1956) graduated from Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet School in 1906. He danced alternatively between Diaghilev (1909 and 1919-1921) and Pavlova's company (1911-1914 and 1921-1928). Novikoff was ballet master at the Chicago Opera from 1919-1933, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1941-1945.

Perhaps I will make a Pavlova sometime this week in honor of our possible connection to the famous ballerina.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.[2]
The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. (source, Wikipedia)
Want to make one too?  Here is a recipe...

Reminder:  I am looking for stories and photos of your family treasures (i.e. not necessarily valuable but precious to you none the less.)  Please email your story with photo to


  1. I just had an incredible memory flash--can't believe I didn't think of this yesterday when we were talking about the table. Of course I remember that the table was said to have belonged to "Pavolva's partner" but didn't know the name. In reading the name you researched I suddenly remembered having taken ballet lessons from a very old man on Tacoma called Maestro Novikoff who was supposedly Pavlova's partner. Have no idea how he could have come to be teaching clumsy little girls in Washington state in the last year or two of his life. But he was terrifying. He used a heavy walking stick with which he would whack the back of our legs if our turn-out wasn't correct. Amazing coincidence or was he an imposter????

  2. Two Novikoff's in our family history. Maestro Ivan Novikoff was that terrifying old man who opened and ran a number of ballet school's in the Seattle area.


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