WOODSTOCK, VT. — “The show went very well, and many of our dealers had extra-good shows,” Greg Hamilton, president of the Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association, said. He mentioned that the gate for 39th annual VADA Antiques Show, conducted July 27–28, maintained the same level as last year, with just over 800 people attending, and antiques across the board were selling, from Oriental rugs and paintings to furniture and weathervanes.
The show, also known as Antiques and Art in Woodstock, is staged at the Union Arena Community Center on the campus of Woodstock High School. Here, the 57 dealers fit comfortably into one large area, offering a very nice mix of antiques. Some the visitors to the show were quite vocal about the show’s appearance, especially one man who said, “I have been coming to the shows for years, followed it around from different locations, and this year tops them all.” He added, “That opinion is not swayed by the fact that I did some nice buying this time.”
The show did have a good mix, with the right amount of painted and country things in contrast to some formal brown furniture and polished accessories. The show was not top-heavy with one area of collecting, which helped keep some of the visitors there for several hours and more. The fresh blueberry and apple pies were also a very good reason to hang around for a late lunch.
VADA is one of those shows where dealers seem more relaxed and take time to notice people when they enter the booth. They are always ready to strike up a conversation. As for the visitors, there does not seem to be any great rush to get to the show as the doors open, for there was not a huge line, but an hour into the show people had arrived and the floor was busy.
Hours could be spent in front of a large dart board that hung in the booth of Holden Antiques, Sherman, Conn., and Naples, Fla. This circa 1930 piece had a Rainshine golf game on one side, baseball game on the reverse, and was graphic and colorful. It hung near an early Twentieth Century inn sign for the Cherokee Plantation, cast iron, Southern origin, depicting a kneeling Indian doing some planting. Another sign, probably from a farm, dated from the late Eighteenth Century with aged surface, in the form of a cow.
A large maple workbench, reconditioned so that it would fit into any place in the house, complete with a couple of working vises, was in the booth of Liberty Hill Antiques of Reading, Vt. Also against the back wall was a six-drawer chest in butternut that featured an extra-deep drawer on the bottom.
Kocian DePasqua American Antiques, Woodbury, Conn., had a nice selection of country furniture, including a circa 1840 Pennsylvania hutch table with scrubbed pine top and red wash bottom. The top consisted of four boards. Across the way, The Red Horse from Bridgewater, Vt., had an attractive booth set off by two windows built into narrow walls at the front, each with a cast iron window box filled with colorful flowers. Inside the “house” were some things for the outside, including a fine English sundial, 55 inches high, circa 1790, and a pair of iron sculptured urns that, due to the wide weaving, were probably designed to hold pots.
A dry sink in pumpkin pine was at the front of the booth of Fraser’s Antiques, Chester, Vt., holding four pieces of floral decorated stoneware. A laddered sign hung against the back wall, advertising on single boards “Strawberries,” “Sweet Corn,” “Cucumbers,” “Melons,” “Raspberries,” and Room For Rent.”
Bill Quinn’s booth was brightened by six hockey shirts — red, white and blue — once used at Andover, and a 10-foot-long Ten Pins bowling game, complete with the original pins, was mounted across the back of the booth with a sold tag attached. Known for having old trade signs, the Alna, Maine, dealer showed two long ones, probably from a roadside stand, offering “Crab Mat Rolls” and “Dream Dogs.”
A variety of nautical objects was offered from the booth of Captain’s Quarters, Amherst, Mass., including a sailor’s valentine, double, with a tiny seahorse mounted in the middle of a heart in the center of the left side. Dealer Justin Cobb noted that “I have come across a number of very good nautical paintings, including ‘Rescue At Sea,’ an oil on canvas by Warren Sheppard shown on the back wall.” A large American eagle weathervane was mounted on a block of wood, and a nice selection of eight Nantucket baskets hung on a rack.
As always, Tommy M. Thompson of Pembroke, N.H., had a wide variety of things, including a sign from Bailey’s offering hotdogs, ice cones, sodas and specials. Four horse pull toys filled one shelf, ranging in size from about 10 inches high to 4 inches high, and a pig-shaped cutting board was among the things that would fit right into the kitchen.
Meryl Weiss of American Classics, Inc, Canaan, N.H., easily won the “Biggest Rug” contest with a braided example that was too big to hang on the back wall, but was draped over the top with little more than half showing. It was striking and measured 9 feet 11 inches by 10 feet 1 inch. It was the perfect backdrop for a colorful orange and yellow game wheel on stand, shown on a bright blue painted, drop leaf table. A pair of large shutters in green, with a matching louver overhead, dominated one of the side walls.
Stretching almost the length of the back wall in the booth of Jeff & Holly Noordsy of Cornwall, Vt., was a wooden trade sign for “Lakeview Paint Shop,” with white and yellow lettering on a black ground, and surrounded by a deep molding. Another sign, much, much smaller, offered “Dress Making,” and a shelf filled with stuffed animals included cats, penguins, birds, an elephant and a seal.
Brian Cullity of Sagamore, Mass., showed an English oak armchair dating from the Seventeenth Century, a selection of seven whale oil lamps, and a very nice swing handle New England gathering basket in mint condition. A collection of delft items depicted nautical scenes with boats, sea serpents and mythical fish. Mill Brook Antiques of Reading, Vt., offered an Eighteenth Century stretcher-base table with three-board top and rounded corners. A New England blanket box, with bootjack ends, retained the original red surface.
A cherry drop leaf table with drawer and cross stretchers was in the booth of Lana Smith, Louisville, Ky., along with a selection of smalls that included a small oil on canvas of a street scene depicting the German area of Rhode Island, circa 1860–1880, and a selection of carved wooden canes topped off with dog heads, a horse head and a human head.
A very large papier mache fish, looking as if he had just propelled himself out of the water with a twist of his tail, was shown by Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt. With a 6-inch red and white plug in his mouth, it appeared as if he was trying to shake himself free. He was displayed next to a green painted corner cupboard, open shelves on top and one door in the bottom, and a case filled with silver included single pieces, such as a choice of ladles, and matched bundles of spoons and forks.
It is difficult to picture the house that the screen door offered by Missouri Plain Folk of Sikeston, Mo., came from, as it stood well over the back wall of the booth. Painted green, it was a handsome piece with an intricate design against which the screen was mounted. Several signs were against the walls, including a large one for a “Mess Hall,” and an oversized chicken, sheet iron, that must have advertised eggs years ago. A pair of cast iron columns framed one of the side walls, “two of the ten I bought from a plantation in Clarksdale, Miss.,” Tim Chambers said. He added that they were pre-Civil War era.
Several pieces of painted furniture were in the booth of Baker & Co., Brant Lake, N.Y., including an Eighteenth Century Pennsylvania dough box table with two-board top, red surface, and a Nineteenth Century green painted tabletop desk in pine. A large selection of cookie cutters were in various forms, including a moon, human figures both male and female, birds and a bear.
An interesting weathervane hung on the back wall of the booth of Ken & Susan Scott Antiques, Malone, N.Y., a deer in sheet metal with a cluster of antlers. It was mounted on a bar that was curled at both ends, and over the years various lengths of metal were added to give strength to the figure. It was impressive in size, measuring close to 4 feet in length. Other objects included a barber pole in red and white stripes, with a ball on each end, and a child’s rocking chair with a carved horse head in front of the seat. An “Express” wagon was in very good condition, with green striping and pale yellow wooden wheels.
Centered in the booth of Hanes & Ruskin, Old Lyme, Conn., was a oversized trestle table, 7 feet long and of spruce, that would easily seat eight people, along with an oval-top Queen Anne tea table in figured maple, New England, circa 1730–1760. A small American still life from the Nineteenth Century was done in the manner of Severin Roesen, an oil on canvas in a period frame.
American Decorative Arts, Canaan, N.H., showed an early Mount Lebanon Shaker rocker, number 6, as well as a case filled with numerous Shaker sewing pieces. “Shaker Society, Home Made Candies, Sabbathday Lake, Poland Spring, Maine” was printed on the lid of a candy book, void of any sweets. Additional Shaker was available from Howard Graff of Colt Barn Antiques, Townshend, Vt., with a set of six side chairs, circa 1850, marked New Lebanon.
A large apothecary with two rows of drawers was in the booth of Stephen-Douglas Antiques, Rockingham, Vt. “It is a real heavy piece of furniture,” Doug Jackman said, adding, “when Stephen and I move it around the shop, we have to take out the drawers.” The booth was crowded with many objects, such as a pair of hat boxes, one with a carriage drawn by a team of horses, painted tole in various forms, a checkerboard in the form of a closed book and a collection of baskets, some displayed in a large basket that measured just over 3 feet long.
It was business as usual for Henry T. Callan Fine Antiques, East Sandwich, Mass., with the walls lined with samplers above tables laden with Canton, Imari, Staffordshire, early blown glass and other breakables. One of the samplers was made by Mary Prentiss of Hopkinton, Mass., dated 1822, and another was by Hannah Horner, born 1833, a Quaker sampler from Bucks County, Penn. Both featured the alphabet within a floral border.
Derik Pulito of Kensington, Conn., was at the front of the show with an eye-catching landscape placed to draw people right into his booth. This large oil on canvas, laid down on artist board, measured 38 by 50 inches and depicted two cows at the water trough in a landscape. The work was by James McDougal Hart, born 1828, Scotland, and died in 1901 in Brooklyn. Hart was known for his landscapes. A New England open top cupboard was in the original red surface, and a New Hampshire Chippendale oval-top tea table had beaded square leg and old red on the base.
It was like playland in the booth of John Bourne, Pittsford, Vt., who showed a child’s seesaw, early Twentieth Century, in old red and green paint, and a whirligig biplane, yellow with red spotted prop, by folk carver Joe McFall. A fully rigged tugboat measured just under 2 feet long. And those seeking early pieces for the kitchen could have stopped by to see John & Eileen Smart, Rutland, Vt., who offered many wooden bowls with bottoms of various colors, and several stacks of painted pantry boxes.
“It has been a great show for us,” Michael Seward of Pittsford, Vt., said as he devoured a bowl of fresh fruit while pointing to the sold tickets on his two best pieces of furniture. One was a five-drawer chest in the original red surface, original brasses and scalloped base, the other a late Nineteenth Century sideboard or server that was made in Vermont, with handcarved decoration on the drawer fronts and cabinet doors. Together with is wife Lucinda, they had sold about ten pieces of jewelry, some Indian objects, a cranberry vase and an oval tiger maple tea table, and the show had only been open for three hours. An interesting piece not sold, at that point, was a game board consisting of many small squares, each with a dollar value, yellow on black with instructions around the edges reading “checks must clear all lines to win.”
Gloria M. Lonergan of Mendham, N.J., offered a nice set of six rod back New England side chairs, painted, signed and dating from the Nineteenth Century, and a sawbuck table in red, with scrubbed top with breadboard ends. A six-board chest caught the interest of two ladies and Pat Lonergan was quick to point out all the merits of the piece, including the original surface, tipping it on end to show the ball feet, the original till and even the original key that was attached to a large tag to prevent it from being misplaced. After a lot of head shaking, the ladies moved on and Pat went off to check out the luncheon counter. Within minutes of him leaving, Gloria sold the chest with little fanfare.
South Burlington, Vt., dealer Gardiner’s Antiques had a Vermont high country server in the original grain paint with faux marble top, circa 1835, and a hooked rug depicting a woman hanging out the wash on a clothes line, a most unusual subject. Catching people’s eye was a circa 1900 Studebaker Jr child’s toy wagon in green made by the South Bend Toy Co. of Indiana. It was in pristine condition and just came out of a private collection.
DBR Antiques, Doug Ramsay, of Hadley, Mass., had done some business with sales of a stag and north wind weathervanes, an apple cutting board, a sawbuck table in old red surface and a couple of doorstops, including one by Fish and a Hubley golfer. Several doorstops remained, including a tall lighthouse, a seated cat, dancers and bathing beauties.
Jean Tudhope of Back Door Antiques, East Middlebury, Vt., looked like a travel agent or planner with every bit of wall space taken by road signs, giving both the name of the town or community and distance, of just about every place in Vermont. The signs were all of wood, painted white with black lettering, and she was the owner of 287 of them. “The wood signs were replaced many years ago by metal ones and all the old ones ended up heading for a dump heap,” Jean said. She related that a man who worked for the state managed to come away with them and used them for flooring in the attic of his house. “When new people bought the house, and did some renovations, the signs became available and I bought every one of them,” she said. Sales of the signs were brisk at the show, with people finding a token of their hometowns.
Also attracting attention in her booth was Roberta, a baby stuffed bobcat, resting comfortably in an upholstered armchair. Jean noted that “when I bought this and brought it home, it took the best part of a half hour before my cat would go any place near Roberta.”
In a booth next to Back Door, Michael Weinberg of West Pelham Antiques, Pelham, Mass., had covered one of his walls with punch boards, those boards that were generally found in general stores or at birthday parties that were punched with slim metal pokers to retrieve tightly wound pieces of paper with prizes written on them. Thirty-four decorated the walls, and “I have lots more at home,” Michael said.
“We are very comfortable at this building and location, and many show visitors spent the weekend here taking in all the shops in town and just enjoying Woodstock,” Greg Hamilton said. For those reasons, plus a few more, the show will remain at the same location and in the same time period next year. Dates are Saturday and Sunday, July 26–27. “We hope to see them all again next year, and they can bring their friends,” he added.