A STORIED PAST

by KASEY GOEDEKER / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

In the heart of the Dallas Design District lies a relatively new antiques store that houses some of the oldest relics around.

Rockwell Antiques has positioned itself as an innovator and industry leader while maintaining its familial feel. Rockwell Antiques has been making waves in the antiques world and developing a name for itself here in Dallas since it officially opened in 2018. It has won several awards from various national and international accreditations. Most notably, it was named the Best Fine Art and Antiques Dealer in the Southwest United States by Lux Magazine in London in 2017 and again in 2018. Mary and Nevan O’Shaughnessy, the husband and wife team who own Rockwell Antiques, give credit to their unique website and listings for the bulk of the press. These listings not only show beautiful, high-quality images, but they also offer a unique description of the item, including details on any proven provenance.

Prior to owning the award-winning store in Dallas, the couple lived in Ireland, where Nevan O’Shaughnessy’s journey into antiques started at a young age. From attending auctions with his mother to helping restore pieces while on breaks from his boarding school (from which the name “Rockwell” was derived), O’Shaughnessy’s childhood was immersed in culture and history though antiques. “I love how each item tells a story,” he says.

By happenstance, on a break from college before he went to law school, O’Shaughnessy worked for a painting contractor whose wife happened to be a high-end antiques restorer. Once he was making money as a lawyer, O’Shaughnessy finally was able to invest in an antiques collection of his own, much of which is now the store’s inventory. By 2012 he was a well-known collector and had store owners coming to him for his opinion on certain pieces. He finally had the realization that he should start his own store, which was realized a few years later after he and his wife moved to Dallas.

The antiques market is slow in Dallas; O’Shaughnessy sells many of his items online. However, the market is trending upward, here and around the world. Millennials are the driving force of this trend because they desire classic pieces that can withstand the test of time. It’s also becoming a trend to pair antiques with more modern elements in the home, so more and more interior decorators and designers are styling for and picking out antiques as well. Even with the slow market, O’Shaughnessy is positive. “There is no better time to source antiques in Dallas!” he says.

From antiques to vintage pieces, Rockwell Antiques has it all, but the largest part of the collection, and O’Shaughnessy’s greatest interest, lies with 18th- and 19th-century antiques. The store is constantly bringing in new pieces to display and sell. At the time of writing, one of the newest arrivals is also the oldest piece in the store, and it is one that O’Shaughnessy is particularly excited about: a Ming dynasty horse and carriage figurine set, which came from a tomb. The set also happens to be the most expensive, at approximately $42,000. This particular collectible came to the store with authenticated papers, but some items don’t make it that easy!

O’Shaughnessy does a lot of sleuthing to discover the provenance of each of the items he sells. “If something has a specific provenance, it could change the price dramatically, but only if it can be proven,” he says. The excitement in O’Shaughnessy’s voice as he talks about different items in the store is obvious. He wants to show you everything and tell its story—and he knows them all! Much like O’Shaughnessy himself, every antique in the store had an interesting life prior to its arrival in Dallas and, now that it’s here, there’s a lot to look forward to.

Kasey Goedeker is a Dallas-based freelance writer, social media expert and fashion blogger. For more information visit runninginheelsblog.com or hello@ runninginheelsblog.com.