By Leah Fallon
Does the art on your wall have a story to tell? William Teringo, owner of Preservation of Dated Materials and Prints (PDMP), believes it should. His collection of historical prints has been called a haven for history buffs.
Walking into the stone house on 105 Loudoun St. SW in Leesburg, you get the feeling that history lives beyond its doors. Moving from room to room is like stepping into the past through different historical eras.
PDMP is more than an art gallery; it’s a museum, with Teringo as its art docent.
Teringo has prints from around the world, including originals of John James Audubon, notable for his studies and documentation of American birds and mammals printed in the mid 19th century. He has historical scenes from Japan, a depiction of George and Martha Washington’s wedding, and political cartoons from the early 1700s. Other works illustrate American cities, such as Charleston, New York City and Baltimore, in the 1800s.
What makes his gallery special is not only the authenticity of the pictures, but the stories they have to tell. Teringo does his research and is enthusiastic to share his findings with customers. Before photography, prints were used to record and share visual presentations of the world and told the story of society and culture of the time. Sharing these stories is what motivates Teringo to search out more prints, and sell them to people who would enjoy their story.
He says that having an original work of art should be more than what is in the picture. “I want people to have a storyline to go with it.”
Teringo never intended to run an art gallery. But in 2009, when he found himself semi-retired as president and owner of Product Development of Manufacturing and Packaging, a contract manufacturing company which also went by PDMP, he was looking for something to fill his time and excite his mind.
A collection of art fell in his lap and he ended up with more than 500 Audubon prints from the 1830s and ’40s. Because he was interested in history, friends from his coffee club thought he might be interested in purchasing the collection. His original idea was to sell them to high-end antique dealers, but he soon realized he could do better selling them in his own office, without even changing the name PDMP. In 2010, Product Development of Manufacturing and Packaging took on an additional name of Preservation of Dated Materials and Prints.
He found the Audubon prints interesting because of their detail and the coloring. He knows that all were hand-painted because color printing did not begin until the 1860s. And even now, a digital camera would have a hard time capturing the natural paint colors that Audubon used, Teringo said.
Another interesting piece the gallery boasts is a large, two-sided framed missal page from a Roman Catholic mass, written in Latin in 1768. Through his research Teringo was able to include a rough translation.
Teringo says that being a history enthusiast, it’s easy to get caught up in the research of each print. His newfound career gives him a special satisfaction he never had in his profession as a contractor. He advises, “When you retire, you should try something different from your career.”
Every work in the PDMP gallery is an original authentic antique print from private collections, with no digital replicas. Teringo is a self-taught framer and has 450-framed prints in his gallery and more than 11,000 unframed prints waiting for a home.
“I wanted people to have an opportunity to have an original work of art in their home,” he said.
Learn more about the gallery’s offerings at pdmpantiqueprints.com.