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French Island Elegance

by Michael Connors

The French-speaking islands of Martinique, Guadaloupe, Marie-Galante, and Saint Martin come alive as never before in the pages of Michael Connors’ French Island Elegance, a lavishly illustrated look at one of the most intriguing and beautiful parts of the world.

Bruce Buck’s sumptuous photographs give readers a privileged glimpse inside a world rarely seen by most visitors – the palatial, elegantly furnished homes of the islands’ affluent sugar, cotton, and tobacco barons, both historical and contemporary.

An authoritative text sheds light on the area’s rich social, architectural, and interior design history-a vital past that still influences French Island taste and cultural life to this day.

To purchase a signed copy of French Island Elegance please contact us.

About the Author Back Purchase

French Island Elegance – Antiques & Fine Art Magazine

Michael Connors

Much has been written about the French West Indian islands; about their botany, zoology, and their social and economic histories, but to date, little or no consideration has been given to the architecture and decorative furnishings of the islands discovered by Christopher Columbus in the late fifteenth century and colonized by the French in the seventeenth century. Since French culture and fashion dominated European taste from the Renaissance well into the nineteenth century, an examination of the unique French West Indian decorative arts is overdue. The subject, however, presents several challenges. To begin with, there is little documentation of furniture origin; the climate has taken its toll on French island furniture, as did the nineteenth-century slave rebellions, when entire plantations were burned to the ground. Yet despite the depredations of time and history, hundreds of pieces still remain in private collections on the islands, and growing conservation awareness is contributing to the restoration of significant buildings.Case in point: when the Bernard Hayot Group acquired L’Habitation Clement in 1986 as part of their purchase of a century-old rum distillery, they decided to restore this eighteenth-century example of the art of building on Martinique. It is now the first French islands house open to the general public.

afa_03Discovered by Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493, he named the islands Las Indias Occidentales, the West Indies, thinking he had arrived at the Indies, the archipelago off the coast of Asia. Since the islands contained no gold and the indigenous Carib inhabitants proved warlike and troublesome, Spain had little interest in colonizing them. France’s successful conquest of the islands began in the seventeenth century as a result of the French government’s new colonization policy. They made their first claim on the island of Saint Christopher (now Saint Kitts). In the 1630s French expeditions resulted in the colonization of Guadaloupe and Martinique. By 1636 they had possassion of Saint Batholomew and St. Martin, which they later shared with the Dutch. In 1650, Grenada fell to the French and they laid claim to Saint Lucia. In the same year they took possession of Saint Croix. By the 1680s they had secured a portion of Guiana and the island of Tobago. And by the close of the century Spain confirmed France’s claim to Saint Dominique, as Haiti was called until its independence in 1804.

afa_04Many of the early French settlers were of noble birth and as encouragement had their passage paid for by the Compagnie des Isles d’Amèrique, established to administer the French colonies. The company also offered aid to tradesmen such as carpenters and woodworkers needed in the new settlements; they had only to bring their tools. But most abandoned their craft once they discovered the financial advantages of working with sugarcane and coffee. These two commodities were French staples and it was the cultivation of sugarcane in particular, for which the islands’ climate was perfect, that made the colonists rich and enabled them to live in the grand manner.To be si riche comme un Crèole (as rich as a West Indian) was a popular phrase in Paris during the height of the colonial period in the eighteenth century. The use of slave labor contributed to the sugarcane planters’ huge profits. By the end of the eighteenth Century, Africans outnumbered Europeans on all the French Islands.

afa_05Three factors influenced colonial architecture: the inhospitable climate, the plentiful supply of hardwoods, and colonists desire to emulate the French tradition in architecture and lifestyle.The varied French styles that exist in the islands today emerged over the course of the seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries and were developed further throughout the remainder of the eighteenth and into the nineteenth century. More than any other European colonists the French islands’ colonists succeeded in marrying the forms and styles of the mother country to the climate and materials of the islands.

afa_06The French colonists, determined to live as opulently as possible in their island homes, made their plantation homes the symbol of their wealth and standing. The largehabitations typically included the maison de maître (“great house”), the out buildings, the sugar mill, the refinery, the stables, and the slave quarters (rue cases-nègres). The great homes were almost always situated on knolls or hills to take advantage of tropical trade winds, and had large rooms with high ceilings. The ground floor rooms typically had a series of double “French doors”, with louvered shutters and cove ceilings, known on the islands as “tray ceilings because of their resemlance to inverted tea trays. Seldom were glass windows or doors used.

fr_arm_01Early colonists imported their furniture from home, but the European softwoods quickly succumbed to the ravages of the tropical elements and insects. This created opportunities for local craftsmen to make replacements. Using the imported furniture as models, the island cabinetmakers gave them their own interpretations and embellished them with their own decorative motifs, in the process creating a unique French colonial furniture style.

afa_08There is little written documentation about interior furnishings of the colonial years. Since cabinetmakers did not label, brand , or date their pieces, their only legacy is their small body of remaining furniture. It is clear that the majority of the colonial island cabinetmakers were of Africa heritage; either slaves or their descendants (gens de couleur, free colored). Obtained from Africa’s Gold Coast and from Whydah on the Slave Coast, the slaves brought with them their exceptional skills in basket weaving, thatching, pottery, and woodwork. On the French islands, local furniture soon became an amalgamation of different styles: French; the “down island” furniture made on the other islands; and the local craftsmen’s intuitive sense of design and use of African decorative imagery. Mahogany, so plentiful on the islands, was the furniture makers’ wood of choice, with locust and courbaril also being used. Particularly in the nineteenth century, French West Indian furniture represents a vernacular style, distinguished by a variety of traditional African motifs, which include zoomorphic forms. These motifs are a definitive source of identity for island furniture.

In the late eighteenth century, French West Indies furniture followed simple neoclassical lines. By the turn of the nineteenth century, neoclassical furniture was being relegated to the slave quarters to make way for the newer taste in Empire style, which dominated until the twentieth century, and accounts for much of the furniture still in evidence from the past. Although it is usually impossible to know if a particular piece of furniture was created by a local craftsman, an itinerant French island craftsman, or by an artisan from another European colonial island who had seen or been commissioned to copy a French piece, there is overwhelming evidence to support the theory that woodworkers and cabinetmakers from the French islands traveled from island to island, spreading their own interpretations of European designs.

afa_08One furniture form that survives in quantity is the four-poster bedstead. The French island bedsteads are distinguished by their large size (mostly due to the inexsaustible supply of tropical timber), tall posts with intricate turning and/or carving, solid headboards, often with foliate carvings, and the overall height of the bedrails. The most distinguishing feature of French West Indian beds during the colonial period are the posts. Without exception, all four posts were turned and carved from the same type of wood, usually mahogany or courbaril. The headboards on these beds are usually solid, tall, plain boards or a series of boards. The bedrails are always high above the ground to facilitate air flow, so that the mattress is at the level of the windows, and, therefore, in a position to take advantage of the tropical breezes.

afa_07Another popular furniture form was the French islandmèridienne, often referred to as fauteuil rècamier. The name,rècamier, is derived from the painting by French artist Jacques Louis David of Madame Rècamier, which portrays her reclining on this type of couch. It is one of the few French West Indian seating furniture forms that was sometimes found upholstered in a traditional manner. Called a “Grecian couch” in contemporary descriptions, the design was based on Greek and Roman models. The earliest examples of upholstery made in the islands were cushions, mattresses, or pillows, stuffed with either coconut husks, cotton, feathers, or a combination of these materials. The tropical heat, humidity, and insects, combined with the inability to “breathe,” caused them to decay quickly. What might have been considered a fashionable piece was soon unpopular for practical reasons, and French island craftsmen quickly returned to the use of more efficient caned furniture. Most of the French island mèridiennes were crafted of mahogany or courbaril; they were hand caned and were typically made in pairs: a right- and left-hand couch.

By the late 1850s the era of sugar prosperity was over and the abolition of slavery led to smaller island homes and less elaborate furniture. On Martinique the twentieth century was ushered in with the eruption of Mount Pelèe, which killed thirty thousand people and destroyed the city of Saint Pierre, the center of culture and wealth for the French islands.

pr_style_02The gradual exodus of the plantocracy hastened the decline in cabinetmaking until the few shops remaining survived on repair work and caning, requiring little skill. Although the French island furniture making tradition may have disappeared, in the past ten years interest in the unique French island forms has been on the rise. The work of the colonial furniture craftsman remains a tribute to their versatility, skill, and genius for innovative design and execution.

French Island Elegance

17Letters From the Global Province

Global Province


French Island Elegance

French Island Elegance

1By Michael Connors


Caribbean Elegance

by Michael Connors

In Caribbean Elegance (hardcover, 176 pages), Michael Connors presents a comprehensive guide to the development of West Indian furniture and its makers during the colonial era.

With some of the most beautiful tropical islands on earth as a backdrop, Bruce Buck’s dazzling photographs reveal the homes of the sugar barons who made their fortunes there.

The elegant lifestyle, magnificent homes, and varied furniture and decor of the French, Dutch, Spanish, English, and Danish islands of the Caribbean from the late 18th century to the early 20th century are revealed as never before in this sumptuous volume.

To purchase a signed copy of Caribbean Elegance please contact us.

About the Author Back Purchase

Island Style

19By Leonard Gill

Memphis Flyer


Caribbean Elegance

38By Martha Stewart,

Martha Stewart Blog


Cuban Elegance

22By Michael Moretti

Cigar Aficionado


Cuban Elegance – Antiques & Fine Art Magazine

ca_cu_el_00Since Christopher Columbus landed there after a short stint in the Bahamas circa 1492, the biggest island of the West Indies has developed a rich culture and history steeped in European tradition and native commodities. Records of Cuban history are hard to come by and eyewitness accounts to that time are even harder to find, but a story can be told through the architectural and domestic relics left behind. Michael Connors conveys this in his book Cuban Elegance.

The book begins its history with the landing of Columbus in the fifteenth century and the start of European influence. Connors’s study delves into Cuba’s role as a way station for Mexican gold being shipped back to Spain and examines the cultivation of the country’s tobacco and sugar industries that made the then Spanish empire extremely wealthy and the envy of the European powers.

The book’s timeline spans five centuries in 176 pages including 185 color photographs by Bruce Buck. Each photo portrays lavish pieces of art and furniture whose details show the influence of various cultures on the island, including Spanish, Arabic, French, English, Dutch and African.

A reader follows along as Connors, a professor at New York University with a PhD. in decorative arts, explores the events of the time through the spectrum of different works, from tables to cathedrals, produced by the various inhabitants.

Published by Harry N. Abrams Inc., Cuban Elegance is sold in hardcover and retails for $40. Go towww.abramsbooks.com for more information.


 Havana Modern: Twentieth-Century Architecture and Interiors

Architects + Artisans

“In the first half of the 20th century, Havana served as a huge stage set for some of the great architectural styles. Most of their buildings still stand, as author Michael Connors shows us in a new book from Rizzoli called Havana Modern. Its 256 pages of lush photography by Nestor Marti, and an insider’s guide to some of the most beautiful buildings on the planet. Havana’s 20th-century buildings stand today as potent symbols of architecture from other eras. And if they’re not perfectly preserved at the moment, then they’re certainly researched and recorded well in Havana Modern.”

Editor at Large

“A revealing collection of astonishingly fresh and undiscovered midcentury architecture and interiors in Havana, Havana Modern guides readers through an unprecedented tour of Havana, presenting stunning and architecturally important private homes and buildings that have been meticulously preserved, previously unphotographed and mostly inaccessible to visitors. This book represents the modern movement in Cuban architecture, from Art Nouveau and Art Deco to the flowering of high Modernism just before the Revolution, spanning from the early 1900s to 1965.”

Architectural Digest

“Post-independence, pre-revolutionary Havana was a glamorous, cosmopolitan place, attracting jet-setters from around the globe… a major building boom, chronicled in lively detail in Havana Modern… Havana-based photographer Néstor Martí has supplied the book’s stunning images… As Martí’s photos show, the legacy of this era is in many cases well preserved—if often just by neglect, a situation that has caused other important structures to deteriorate. Havana Modern serves as an important record of this period, and the photos that follow are just a brief glimpse of a rich cultural heritage.”

NBC News

“This beautifully photographed book of Havana’s most iconic homes and structures will make you feel like you have been on a tour of the island. Striking photos of Cuba’s Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture in public and private spaces – including some which have never been photographed – are included.”

Miami Herald

Havana Modern amply illustrates that, whatever the Revolution’s pretensions, virtually nothing of significance was built in Havana after 1959. All the beauty in its buildings came before. ‘No one has been able to bring to life the architecture and design of Cuba and the Caribbean the way Michael has been able to in this book and in his previous books,’ said Mitchell Kaplan, who runs the Books & Books stores and is something of a literary institution in Miami.”

 The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors

Outstanding book on the architecture of Cuba

Fantastic photography, very well researched, with outstanding quality printing on very high quality paper. A masterful job by all involved and a beautiful piece of work!

– Richard Wagner
The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)

Dear Michael,

I just bought your recent book “The Splendors of Cuba”.  You have no idea how much I’ve enjoyed both the gorgeous pictures and its captions…

By the way, I am Cuban but left the island when I was a small child and your book allowed me to re-discover my own roots through the various architectural styles.  The experience has been simply amazing!

I look forward to seeing your future publications.  More importantly, I will always go back and glance through the pages of your book to experience the timeless and hidden beauty that you have been able to capture for us to admire!  Many thanks!



Cuba – a picture of beauty,

I bought this book as a gift for someone born in Cuba, yet it was easy to be pulled in by the beauty of the pictures. A wonderful book. As well written as it is portrayed in pictures. Lovely! Oh, and it was a big hit as a gift!

– By Stuart Fletcher “Cree’s Dad” (Savannah, GA)
The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)

Amazing portrait of Cuba’s many faces,

A successful piece of art presenting Cuba’s fascinating culture. The author created such a vivid picture of all the different areas on the island, it’s difficult not to fall in love with this country and it’s rich history. The book takes you on a journey through some of the most amazing villas ever seen… Having the opportunity to get such detailed insight to Cuban homes and culture is very rare and a privilege. Thanks to the author for sharing this magnificent view of Cuba and its architecture and history! In addition, the book is very well organized, photographs are exceptional and the research behind all text is impressive.

This book does more than simply entertain and have the label of a coffee table book – it leaves you mentally richer.

A desirable edition for every private library.

– Josephine L. (Chicago, IL)
The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)


This book provides a great insight into the hidden beauties of Cuba. The author is interested and knowledgable of the area and it shows in his writing. This is definitely another masterpiece in the line of books produced by Michael Connors. He takes the time to engage the reader with beautiful pictures along with outstanding facts. The book flows from cover to cover and is a definite must buy. I cannot wait to visit the places mentioned in this book for our next vacation.

The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)

Beautiful Cuba

Lately there has been a growing interest in publishing books detailing the splendor of Cuba’s architectural heritage. This new publication is nothing short from being a visual feast. The book is thick and full of large fully colored photos revealing the different eras of Cuban architectural heritage. The photos are accompanied by a thorough and engaging text that explains each era and its specific features. Thus, placing the beautiful buildings illustrated into their social and historical contexts. This book succeeds both as a beautifully illustrated reference as well as a stunning coffee-table book, highly recommended.

– Lilly Ford (Los Angeles , CA USA)
The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)

Dr. Connors does it again!

The Splendor of Cuba is best seen first-hand of course, but this book of photographs and text is the next best thing. Connors’ continuing research reveals another chapter in this ancient nation just 90 miles away.

– By John W Krogman (Albquerque, NM United States)
The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)

Great Overview,

I just finished reading this book and found it to be a terrific overview of the historical architecture in Cuba. The text may have been a little light, but for someone such as myself who only wants to know the basics, it was perfect – and the abundance of rich photography more than made up for it. This will definitely have a permanent home on my coffee table.

– By Mia Morelli
The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)

The Splendor of Cuba,

Beautifull to me, that born in Cuba and left in 1961 is a memorial refreshed thank for this wonderful worked.

– Ana J Mossad
The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)

Great gift for any Cuban native,

Already have gifted The Splendor of Cuba to two friends one birthday and another on a special occasion. Both times book was an instant hit to the point that guests want to “borrow” it right away. Also received complimentary calls and emails with true expressions of joy. Almost never did I get this sort of sincere instant thank you with a gift. This booked was loved by all. Will certainly purchase again for future gifts for all my Cuban friends.

– By Ricardo “rlc” (Miami, FL USA)
The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)

Photographic/historical data gem,

Beautiful photographs, skillfully and artfully taken, of façades and interiors of private residences and public buildings throughout the island of Cuba. This book contains accurate historical data, and informational facts throughout, helping the reader get a more insightful knowledge and understanding of the colonial period of architecture in Cuba.

– Lilisito
The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors (Amazon.com)

British West Indies Style

Connors Delights Again,

Once again Michael Connors has found a way to inspire longings for the Caribbean with British West Indies Style: Antigua, Jamaica, Barbados, and Beyond.

Connors’ scholarly and knowledgeable text accompanied by sumptuous photography by Brent Winebrenner will be a valued addition to the everyone’s collection and coffee table, not just those who are familiar with the Caribbean and its environs.

I have the book and I highly recommend it. It will make you want to visit the British West Indies as well as the Caribbean at large.

– By Gene Wilkins “Gene” (Tennessee)
British West Indies Style (Amazon.com)


This is just what I was looking for — an excellent, colorful selection of colonial British West Indian furniture (memories of my childhood) with a well researched text to accompany it. Terrific photography. I think anyone interested (attention cultural anthropologists) in the lifestyle of wealthy British colonists during this period of time and their mixed-race heirs who subsequently inherited their homes and fortunes would enjoy this extended pictorial narrative.

– By Dital “Diltal” (Los Angeles, CA USA)
British West Indies Style (Amazon.com)

Caribbean Houses

Style and warm sea breezes

A leisurely stroll through the manor houses of the colonial period. Brief historical sketches of the islands, and well photographed interior shots of these treasures. Exterior photographs show the exotic surroundings. Some architectural commentary, but no floor plans or measured drawings of the rooms. The book, however is a delightful visual read that entices the reader to come and visit this grand area of the West Indies.

– By Percy Lovetonsil
Caribbean Houses (Amazon.com)

Beautiful book is also good architectural history,

Yep, I’ll be jumping on the bandwagon with this one. This is a beautiful book that not only dazzles the eyes with exceptional photography, but teaches us a bit of Caribbean colonial history as well.

The chapters are arranged, rather uniquely, by colonial background and its corresponding style. The Spanish, English, Dutch, French, etc… all had different historical roles in the region, and all left stylistic elements on the domestic structures they influenced.

The interior and exterior photography here is stunning, and the related text for each site is rich with both architectural and historical contexts. There are no floor plans, elevations, or other architectural devices, but this is a book that works as well as a reference work for an architectural historian as it does a coffee table browse.

– By Jon L. Albee “Faulkner Wannabe” (Houston, TX)
Caribbean Houses (Amazon.com)

Excellent and Beautiful,

A gorgeous book and up to date photography of wonderful architecture, interior design and history. If you love the West Indies Style, with both french, british, spanish and african influences you will drool over this book. You get a feel for the real carribean and not the “resort’ carribean. If you go to the Carribean for culture as well as nice beach vacations, you will appreciate this book. If you like to stay at the hotel pool, this is not for you. It is a fine representation of the finer side of the rich carribean experience, minus the kitsch and cruises.

– By Glenda
Caribbean Houses (Amazon.com)

Super! A Great book,

Cuba is so far away. I’m totally ignorant of Cuba other than Fidel Castro. So this book is trully enlightening eventhough its slant is mainly about Cuban furniture. The photos are clear and beautiful and the text erudite. Much research was done and it shows. It’s a book worth buying if you are into history/interior design/antique. Even if you’re not, it’s a good read.

– By Oliver Tang
Caribbean Houses (Amazon.com)

Caribbean Houses,

I have all of Michael Connors Caribbean Books. This one is fabulous! The historical accounts, photographs and attention to detail are superb. Some years ago I met the very interesting Michael Connors in NYC at his antique store; he was receptive to intelligent inquiry, yet impatient with the mundane, and rightly so.

– By Discover “Clarann Stocker” (WI USA)
Caribbean Houses (Amazon.com)

Caribean Houses: History, Style and Architecture,

Coming back from a dream Caribean cruise I found a book review about the History, Style and Architecture of Caribean Houses. Architecture and Design are my favourite subjects and also the favourite subjects of my friend who came with me on this trip. It is meant to be his birthday present in June. I have to be very disciplined not to give it to him now. But gee, I can’t wait to see his face when I will give it to him!

– Marianne (London UK)
Caribbean Houses (Amazon.com)

Dr. Connors reopens again a magical world,

As with “Cuban Elegance” and “French Islands”, Dr. Michael Connors has done an exhaustive job in writing on these houses, some of them abandoned and ignored by their own countries for years. Aside from the text abundant details and the exquisite photos, the fact remains that he has become, undoubtedly, the primary source for a field US art historians have never payed any attention to. Dr. Connors’ opus is invaluable to Caribbean art and antiques collectors.

– By Joseph John “The Cat” (France)
Caribbean Houses (Amazon.com)

Preserving the Past for the Future,

They came across the Atlantic for the silver and gold, the exotic hardwoods, the cotton and tobacco, the salt deposits and fish, the lively slave trade and the vast riches from growing sugar cane; the Spaniards, the Dutch, the English, the French, the Danes, all jockeying for position among the 30-plus islands in the Caribbean, starting in the late sixteenth century. With their new wealth, they built vast plantations with “great houses,” also called “palacios” (Spanish) and “landhuizen” (Dutch), grand homes that represented amalgamations of styles from their mother countries, designs that were adapted to utilize local building materials and protect their inhabitants from all manners of catastrophes in the new environment – the wicked hurricanes, the relentless sun and heat, the fires and the slave rebellions. But time and history marched forward, and today, most of these colonial-era mansions stand in tatters. Writes Michael Connors in the preface to his latest book, “Caribbean Houses: History, Style, and Architecture,” “Their fall from grace has been gradual, as evidenced by a visitor to the islands in the late nineteenth century who wrote: ‘Most of the mansions of the planters exhibit fast-increasing signs of poverty, neglect, and decay; and upon more than two-thirds of the estates the great house stands deserted and empty, sometimes falling into ruin, a melancholy monument of former luxury and life, when four-in-hands were frequent upon the roads and there were sounds of revelry in the hospitable halls.” Few precious relics survived, and it is to document them that Connors set out to do in a study that the scholar calls “the first comprehensive account of the development of historically significant architecture in the West Indies.” The lavish result, all illustrated with gorgeous photographs, does a wonderful job of describing the history, the people, and the forces that defined this bygone era, and helps to preserve for all time their legacy.

– By Leslie B. Knowlton (New York, NY USA)
Caribbean Houses (Amazon.com)

Connors Reaches a New Level

With Caribbean Houses: History, Style, and Architecture, Michael Connors displays great breadth as a scholar. While all his former books concern colonial Caribbean decorative arts, Caribbean Houses reveals Dr. Connors’ more than adequate knowledge of the era’s architecture as well. His prose is as evocative and compelling as usual, and the book’s photographic illustrations can only be described as lavish. This book is a must have for anyone even remotely interested in the history of West Indian architecture.

– By Gene Wilkin “Gene” (Tennessee)
Caribbean Houses (Amazon.com)

French Island Elegance:

Lovely book,

Michael Conners does a good job and the photographs by Bruce Buck are stunning. This is a book on the interiors of the Great Houses of the French Caribbean.

– By Heliconia “La maison Fleurie tropical botanica” (Southeast Florida)
French Island Elegance (Amazon.com)

Elegance and a history lesson,

Beautiful photos of private collections of French Carribbean furniture supplemented by a history lesson on the settlement and economic growth of the Carribbean Islands. History explains how politics and trade among the European nations influenced the birth and evolution of this furniture style.

– By Chinafreak (HN)
French Island Elegance (Amazon.com)

French Island Elegance,

Beautiful book, a fireside friend, lots of lavish pictures and interesting stories, this book is genuine stress therapy in itself, I first came across it in a genuine French fabric store for more than double Amazon’s price, glad I waited and I’m delighted to own it.

– By Maxwell G. Cox (Maitland, Australia)
French Island Elegance (Amazon.com)

Another Winner,

Having read Dr. Connors’ previous books, Caribbean Elegance and Cuban Elegance, I looked forward to French Island Elegance. I was not dissapointed.

Once again Dr.Connors has provided us with a well-researched and easily readable narrative accompanied by Bruce Buck’s sumptuous photographs. The two of them have developed into a winning team.

French Island Elegance will not only look great on anyone’s coffee table, but is a wonderful resource on a subject that heretofore has had none.

– By A reader (Memphis, TN USA)
French Island Elegance (Amazon.com)

Tables Turned,

Sure this could be seen as another stylish table topper where we imagine ourselves sipping bellinis while overlooking fishermen–but what’s rare in French Island Elegance when compared to the other three inch thick coasters, is that the author and photographer really did their homework. This is not an embellishment. It’s not an ambiance bound between covers either. Connors discusses the rare qualities of Martinique, Guadaloupe, Marie-Galante, and Saint Martin in their own histories of sugar plantations and tobacco dynasties. He examines, quite aesthetically, how the cross section of economic and social histories compose a unique archicture and style not yet lost to the modern world–no, it’s not just a pretty book for the coffee table after all.

– By Visctoria E. Plasse (New York NY USA)
French Island Elegance (Amazon.com)

Cuban Elegance

Cuban Elegance,

Cuban Elegance is one of those rare books that combines gorgeous photography with knowledgeable scholarship about the architecture, furniture and decorative arts it features. So often, books that are big on style are fluff to read, and books that are written by academics are heavy going and not fun to look at. As someone who writes in this field, I appreciate when people get it right. Michael Connors and Bruce Buck nailed it on this one — the images throughout the book are as beautiful as the one on the cover, and the text is informative, readable and engaging. They have made it possible for people to have a glimpse of an incredible world that so few get to see — 500 years of Cuban history and culture as expressed in buildings and their furnishings. Five stars. As folks in the antiques business say, this one’s a keeper.

– By G. Montgomery (Massachusetts, USA)
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)

Just beautiful,

What can I say, I just love these books that show history, people, how they lived at the time, and how different life was back then. I was not able to enjoy a lot of what we had back then, but it’s good memories.

– By Gloria Milian
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)

Well done book!,

As a Cuban I highly approve of this book. Also as someone who was there during that time, it was wonderful going through the book and reminiscing.

– By Flor Santalo
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)

Excellent Book,

This book was a very pleasant surprise. The writing was interesting and the pictures superb. The book gives you a good understanding of great periods of wealth and abundance that affected this island paradise. The furnishings show the affluence of these generations and creation of Cuban furniture made with beautiful native hardwoods.

It’s sad to see how such a gorgeous country with such a rich history and economic possibilities, became what it is today. Today these buildings are delapidated and crumbling. Its people are needy. A far cry from what it once was, before its downfall started taking place on January 1, 1959.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly. It’s worth reading such a well crafted book.

– By Annie
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)

Gorgeous book,

Going through this book I’m amazed Connors/Buck were able to capture the most beautiful pictures of the Cuba I once left.
As the tears flowed I knew I was home once again.
Thanks for bringing this gift to us readers.

– By Doris Hingst “Hingstgirl” (Georgia, USA)
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)

Elegant nostalgia…,

This is a beautiful book with gorgeous photos of Cuban architecture and furniture of the Cuba I left behind many, many years ago. I gave it to all of my siblings for Christmas and it was an instant hit! Its ovely pictures bring both smiles and tears. A must for those of us who want to keep a collection of what once was our life in Cuba before our exile.

– By Cubagal “CRC” (Illinois)
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)

Cuban Elegance,

Cuban Elegance is a great book, has wonderful photography and dipicts the elegant decore of Cuba and its architecture as well.

– By Luis M. Gallinat
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)


This is is such a beautiful book. The pictures are beautiful, the text regarding each one is very clear. It has a good flow and may i dare say it is a sexy book? If there is such a thing. I would recommend everyone and anyone to get it. Wheather you’re cuban or not.

It helps point out all the beaty that once used to be as well as the one left now amidst all the decay and abandonement currently affecting the island country. I loved it.

– By Michael Rodriguez (NY)
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)

The Best of Cuba in a book,

I recently bought this book and despite that I had never being in Cuba before this is better than the real thing. Cuba was one the biggest economies in the region and such growth gave the possibility to create one of the most selected elites in the Caribbean islands. That prestige and class is all what you can find in this book full of excellent pictures. The reading of the book is pleasant, accurate and, full of details. I was amaze by the work around Cuban furniture which reflects the passion of the author in the topic. It’s worth 5 out 5 starts with any doubts.

– By Frank Scott “A Travel Aficionado” ( NY)
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)


Cuban Elegance is an astonishing work. That Michael Connors and Bruce Buck were able to navigate the bureaucracies to get to Cuba and to the subjects of the book; astonishing that with an admitted paucity of research material they were able to craft a book that reveals the wealth of historic artifacts in Cuba.

Connors’ concise, comprehensive and well-researched narrative along with Bruce Buck’s beautiful images bring to light the stylistic and historical influences of three centuries of Cuba’s heritage.

Kudos to both gentleman for what must have been an arduous task. The fruits of their labors is a book that should be an elegant addition to a great many libraries.

– By A Reader (Memphis, TN USA)
Cuban Elegance (Amazon.com)

Caribbean Elegance:

Another gem by Connors,

A book that will do any coffee table proud. Bruce Buck’s photographs are stunning and show interiors of some of the older, larger houses of the Caribbean.

– By Heliconia “La maison Fleurie Tropical Botanic (Southeast FL)
Caribbean Elegance (Amazon.com)

Very Pleased,

I was happy to find this book. It is something that I needed for my businesss.

– By Jill A. morris
Caribbean Elegance (Amazon.com)

Glad to Have This Book,

Not so long ago I saw Caribbean Elegance at a friend’s house. My friend was gracious enough to lend it to me to read. After reading it, I felt I should have my own copy, so I ordered a copy from amazon.com.

Not only is Dr. Connors’ narrative comprehensively informative and enjoyable, but Bruce Buck’s photographs are absolutely beautiful.

Together they have introduced me to a heretofore, to me at least, world of fascinating furniture and decorative arts. Kudos to Dr. Connors and Mr. Buck.

I look forward to acquiring the rest of their work.

– By A reader (Mississippi)
Caribbean Elegance (Amazon.com)


I have owned this book for over a year and always thought it was an excellent book but wasn’t inspired to write a review until just recently, when I received a new book I purchased called “Caribbean Style”. This book, “Caribbean Elegance”, is everything that the other book is not. I love this book! The photography is incredible, encompasing everything from the smallest furniture detail or accessory, to entire historical exteriors & interiors, and exquisite scenery!

The text gives a detailed history of the settlers and islands, really giving you an understanding of how the various styles of West Indies architecture and furnishings came into being. It also distingushes the furnishings by their various European influences, such as Spanish, English or Dutch, among others. As an interior designer I found this book fascinating and educational. But even for someone who just has a love of the islands, the photography alone is worth the price of the book.

– By C. Remsen (Southeast California)
Caribbean Elegance (Amazon.com)

Magical Realism,

Reading this book is like being invited to an elegant house party in the Caribbean. You then enter a world of magical realism, in which you sit in the veranda of an 18th century “Great House” with beautiful ocean views, and your pick of antique “planters’ chairs,” with cool drinks waiting on a “cupping table.” You listen to tales of planters and merchants, of sugar cane fields and slaves turned artisans. The material culture of the Caribbean is presented here, seen through the lens of historical events, the experiences of the wealthy and those who served them. You learn wonderful details about the subtle differences of styles on the Spanish, Dutch, English, French and Danish islands. The photographs are beautiful and range from vistas to architecture to furniture and their details. It is also a very scholarly work, of interest to anyone who loves antiques, craftsmanship, history and the Caribbean.
This book is truly an experience you can come back to again and again, and discover something new (or old…).

– By Ellen Gagen (Eureka, California)
Caribbean Elegance (Amazon.com)

Tasteful Richness of Design!,

Caribbean Elegance, how the title is only the tip of what lies between the cover as it is such a wonderful book to always have at hands reach for small mind vacations after a long day of work! The author has done a fantastic job of educating one about the Caribbean islands’ history as well as the furniture. It is the only book that lives on my coffee table, and every person that visits is sure to pick it up and become mesmerized by the writing and captivated by the photographs! It is impossible to not fall madly in love with this amazing find of a book! It is so easy to read be it that the author is obviously passionate about his work, as he leaves the reader feeling the island warmth from his detailed writings of Caribbean history. The photographs are so well placed, and beautiful! What a tasteful, well written, and charming book! Well done!! One must be careful though, as you will be sure to want your house filled with Caribbean antiques as I am now doing!

– By C.C. Harrington (Houston)
Caribbean Elegance (Amazon.com)

Opulent Opus,

As a writer, I was impressed by the quality of the prose, and as a researcher, I appreciated the wealth of information Connors has managed to succinctly convey to give readers a good understanding of the history and other forces shaping this stunning style of furniture. To top off the intellectual feast, we get delicious and evocative photographs which make us feel we are actually there in these beautiful homes on the gorgeous islands of the Caribbean.

– By Leslie B. Knowlton (NY. USA)
Caribbean Elegance (Amazon.com)

Articles by Michael Connors

1Living With Antiques: Antilles Grace

by Michael Connors

Antiques & The Magazine

May/June, 2019




1Caribbean Houses

by Michael Connors

Antiques & Fine Art

Autumn/Winter, 2009


French Island Eleganceafa_07

by Michael Connors,

Antiques & Fine Art

Autumn/Winter, 2006


Michael Connors has more than thirty years of experience in writing, consultation, appraisals, and teaching in fine and decorative arts fields. One of the world’s leading scholars in the study and documentation of Colonial-era architecture and furnishings of the Caribbean, he has worked tirelessly throughout his distinguished career to promote a broader understanding of these materials and ensure their preservation. Connors is responsible for and credited with bringing Colonial West Indian furniture forward as an independent collecting field. He remains humble and generous about the discovery, sharing his Caribbean research and sources with other scholars, collectors, and antique dealers.

Connors sold his New York City gallery after over twenty years of exclusive “to the trade” brick-and-mortar operations to transition his online business activity. Believing in the increasingly globalized world of technology that allows instant communication Connors continues to be a key resource to private collectors, designers, dealers, and museums looking for absolute integrity in European, American, and Colonial West Indian fine and decorative arts.  He is a consultant for an international list of architects and interior designers and is a frequent lecturer at museums, educational and retail institutions.

The author of numerous books about architecture and decorative arts of the Caribbean, Dr. Connors’ most recent book, CUBA: 101 Beautiful and Nostalgic Places to Visit, was released by Rizzoli International Publications in 2017. Rizzoli also published Havana Modern: 20th Century Architecture and Interiors, The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors, British West Indies Style: Antigua, Jamaica, Barbados and Beyond, and Caribbean Houses: History, Style, and Architecture. Harry N. Abrams published Caribbean EleganceCuban Elegance, French Island Elegance, and Flammarion in France published Maisons des Antilles. Eagull Publishing in Paris published Ode to St. Croix: An Illustrated Poem by the Reverend Henry J. Morton. Dr. Connors is also a frequent contributor to prominent trade journals, including The Magazine AntiquesArt & AntiquesAntiques & Fine Art Magazine, and Opus Habana. 

Connors resides in the Caribbean and is completing his first novel.

The Books


101 Beautiful & Nostalgic Places To Visit

by Michael Connors

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101 Luoghi da Scoprire e Amare

by Michael Connors

View the Book Coming Soon!  





Architecture And Interiors

by Michael Connors

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450 Years of Architecture and Interiors

by Michael Connors

View the Book Purchase  




Antigua, Jamaica, Barbados,
and Beyond

by Michael Connors

View the Book Purchase  





History, Style,
and Architecture

by Michael Connors

View the Book Purchase  





An Illustrated Poem by Revered Henry J. Morton

with introduction by Michael Connors





by Michael Connors

View the Book Purchase  





by Michael Connors

View the Book Purchase  





by Michael Connors

View the Book Purchase






by Michael Connors

View the Book Purchase






The Furniture of Ralph Turnbull

by Michael Connors

View the Book Contact MCI  




Caribbean Houses by Michael Connors

18By Peachy Deegan
Whom You Know

READ THIS: Caribbean Houses by Michael Connors

Michael Connors, PhD ’95, Arts and Humanities Studies

1Alumni Profiles

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development Read more...

The Enduring Passion of Michael Connors

Caribbean Style

41Coastal Living Magazine


Decorative Art

Welcome to the Michael Connors International Collection. Here potential buyers can find pieces currently available for sale. For more information or inquiries into purchasing, please contact info@michaelconnorsinternational.com

Featured Pieces

Colonial West Indian Cup Table


Price = $4,500

Early to Mid-1970s Mahogany Dining Table


Rare and important mahogany (swietenia mahagoni) dining table crafted in the early to mid- 1970s by St. Croix woodworker and cabinetmaker Fletcher Pence is available for purchase. Height: 29” Length: 74” Depth: 46”


Reproduction of Early Nineteenth-Century Jamaican Specimen Wood Table


Limited-edition reproduction of the early nineteenth-century Jamaican specimen wood table originally made by Ralph Turnbull in 1837.

There are 9 tables still available and are sold only to-the-trade.


Colonial West Indian Sideboard




Set of 4, French Folding Armchairs, Tunis.


c. 1930. Leather and Ash.




Comoda de Sacristia


A rare late 18th-early 19th-century Cuban mahogany sacristy chest (comoda de sacristia).


Colonial West Indian Bed from St.Croix


More Photos


Caribbean Mid 19th Century Courbaril Wardrobe


This wardrobe is featured in two of Michael Connors’ books: Caribbean Elegance and British West Indies Style. The acquisition of the wardrobe was written about in the biography of Lord Glenconner Lord of the Isle: The Extravagant Life and Times of Colin Tennant (Lord Glenconner) by Nicolas Courtney, 2012.


Antique Hand-Drawn Map of St. Croix Island

Available for Purchase

An important antique hand-drawn map of St. Croix Island by August Frederik Charles Neumann with island mahogany frame. This signed and dated (1913) map is 31 inches high by 72 inches wide.


Additional Items

For more information on any of our featured pieces please contact info@michaelconnorsinternational.com

Best Bids

28By Dana Micucci

Viking Studio