Games of Chance

Beth Katleman

What if a period room exposed a collector’s transgressions instead of burnishing his or her reputation? Raid the Icebox Now with Beth Katleman: Games of Chance channels the inner life of an antiquarian with a checkered past. In Pendleton House, the RISD Museum’s decorative arts wing, Beth Katleman has created a lavish porcelain room devoted to Charles Pendleton, whose scandals include an “indiscretion with a female” that caused his expulsion from Yale. The room evokes both high rococo art and low 1950’s kitsch, and contains nearly 10,000 elements cast in porcelain from Katleman's collection of tchotchkes and figurines. Reflecting Pendleton’s dual nature, Games of Chance freely blends fact and fiction and highlights the contrast between public and private personas.

In the presentation that follows, the Antiquarian Research Society (ARS) invites you on an exclusive tour of Pendleton House, unveiling a secret room that had been hidden for well over a century. Could this room finally shed light on one of the most mysterious and misunderstood geniuses of the antiquarian world?

The special Patrons Circle Tour can be accessed below, through the website of the Antiquarian Research Society (ARS).


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The Pleasures of Ownership

Charles Pendleton & the Treasures of the Pendleton Collection

Featuring an Exclusive Preview of the Games of Chance Room


The story of a secretive antiquarian & the remarkable discovery
that holds the key to his mysterious past...



CLICK to explore the Games of Chance room:




From the ARSchives:


Discovered blueprint of the Games of Chance room:

(CLICK to enlarge)




Charles Pendleton's Manhattan residence:

(CLICK to enlarge)







About ARS



Welcome to the Antiquarian Research Society (ARS). Chartered in 1994,
ARS quickly established itself as the world’s leading heritage organization for the
study of 19th century antiquarians from the east side of Providence, Rhode Island.
Through the efforts of founders Timothy Blythe Piggott and Madeline Ball Woodie,
 ARS has become a leading light in the regional antiquarian studies field.
Mr. Piggott and Ms. Woodie are the foremost citizen experts on pioneering
collector Mr. Charles L. Pendleton, and in addition to their prodigious research,
they continue to lead and inspire this rapidly growing organization to this day.





"Preserving the Legacy of the World’s Foremost
19th Century Antiquarians from
the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island"





Timothy Blythe Piggott,
founding Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Timothy Blythe Piggott is a third generation Croquet Master, as well as
the founder of a gentleman's only league of croquet players known as
Cro-quet Monsieur. He is widely credited with elevating the sport
from the familiar nine wickets game, through the popular Golf Croquet,
to the modern sport with six wickets.




Madelyn Ball Woodie,
founding Co-Chairman and Chief Operating Officer

Madelyn Ball Woodie is an administrative assistant at a particular local
academic institution. In addition to earning several of the highest
honors available to office managers at the college level, included
the coveted Rose Mary Woods Award for Administrative Excellence,
she is descended from a long line of antiquarians—lovers of objects des arts.








The annual meeting of the Antiquarian Research Society will be held on:

April 19, 2020

RISD Museum
224 Benefit Street, Providence, Rhode Island










Bone up on your favorite Providence antiquarians by volunteering or interning at ARS.
Whether you are a student, a recent graduate or a history buff with skills and time to share,
hands-on experience in the ARSchives is rewarding and has been known to lead to careers
in the eastern Providence antiquarian research field for a lucky few.











Become an ARSangel and help preserve the ARS legacy for future generations.
All memberships also include a subscription to ARSchives Magazine,
free or discounted tickets to events, newsletter and calendar, and more.

Click the button below to join today. Or email us at:


Join Today







~ General Memberships ~

ARSangel: $50

Benefits include:

  • Unlimited free admission for one person to all ARS sites,
    Library and of course, the ARSchives.

  • Member publications, including a subscription to ARSchives Magazine
    (three issues per year), the Passport to Historic 19th Century East Providence,
    members’ newsletter and calendar of events, and monthly e-newsletter
  • Free or discounted admission to ARS events
  • Access to the members-only portal of the ARS website
  • 10% discount on purchases from the ARS website
  • 10% discount on ARS tours
  • Tax-Deductible Amount: $50




~ Premium Memberships ~



Masters of the Mortise & Tenon: $125

Benefits include:

  • All of the above, PLUS a DVD from the award-winning series,
    Titans of the Tongue & Groove 


Ball & Claw Council: $250

Benefits include:

  • All of the above, PLUS the complete boxed set, Titans of the Tongue & Groove


Timmy’s Circle: $500

Benefits include:

  • All of the above, PLUS a deluxe ash croquet ball personally
    autographed by Timothy Blithe Piggott

Maddie’s Circle: $1,000

Benefits include:

  • All of the above, PLUS a private shorthand lesson with Madelyn Ball Woodie


Pendleton Circle: $2,500 & above

Benefits include:

  • All of the above, PLUS a chance to meet personally with ARS founders
    Madelyn Ball Woodie & Timothy Blythe Piggott to have all your antiquarian questions answered.

  • A framed autographed photo with Madelyn Ball Woodie & Timothy Blithe Piggott







Cite this article as

Chicago Style

MLA Style

This chapter accompanies the exhibition, Raid the Icebox Now with Beth Katleman: Games of Chance, on view at the RISD Museum November 8, 2019 - October 4, 2020. Authored by Beth Katleman. Production lead by Jeremy Radtke. Creative direction by Carolyn Gennari. Curatorial support by Elizabeth A. Williams. Designed by Brendan Campbell. Additional design support by Carson Evans. Motion graphics by Kit Son Lee. Additional production support by Erik Gould, Jeremy Radtke, Carson Evans, and Rocio Delaloye. Performances by Jed Hancock-Brainerd and Casey Seymour Kim. Script authored by Beth Katleman, Carolyn Gennari, Jed Hancock-Brainerd and Casey Seymour Kim. 




Special Thanks:

Beth Katleman would like to thank Elizabeth A. Williams for her unwavering support throughout this process. Abundant gratitude to all the amazing collaborators on this project, Carolyn Gennari, Jeremy Radtke, Jed Hancock-Brainerd and Casey Seymour Kim as well as Erik Gould, Brendan Campbell, Carson Evans, Kit Son Lee and Derek Schusterbauer for their production and design support. The exhibition would not have been possible without the expert contributions of her studio team, Michelle Wen and Hank Ehrenfried. Thank you to Joseph Leduc, Laura Ostrander, Michael Owen, Kris Samuelson, Stephen Wing, and to everyone on the RISD Museum staff who went out of their way to make this project happen. Many thanks to Rebecca Siemering and the Handicraft Club for their time and generosity. Thanks also to Jane Athanas, William Cullum, Karl Kipfmueller, Nancy Manter, Susan Mastrangelo, Daniel Myers, Nancy Nicholson, Traci Parks, and Susan York. And finally, a big kiss to her children, Sam and Natasha, for their patience and support over the past two years.

360° Video by Andy Romer


Featured Collection Objects: 

Beth Katleman, American, b. 1959

Games of Chance
, 2019


Courtesy of Beth Katleman

Charles Pendleton House