Antiques & Design Show Of Nantucket Presents Elegant, Varied Offerings

NANTUCKET, MASS. — The annual antiques show on Nantucket enjoyed its 36th year August 1–5 beneath a tent outside town at the two-centuries-old Bartlett’s Farm — an island landmark. This year, the show known formerly as the August Antiques Show, managed by the Antiques Council, rechristened itself the Antiques & Design Show of Nantucket to acknowledge greater designer participation. The beneficiary of the show is the Nantucket Historical Association, which operates the Whaling Museum and 19 historic properties on the island.

Hard by the front entrance to the show was Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, White Plains, N.Y., who was having a fine show. As the booth backed onto the entrance, Paul Vandekar filled an entire wall with botanic prints and woolies of sailing ships. First rate antique Chinese Export and European ceramics were for sale. It was not all serious, however. Vandekar had a grand selection of high quality and highly humorous plates by Milanese designer Piero Fornasetti offset by a pair of vintage Murano egg-shaped glass lamps by Vetri.

Dublin, N.H., rug dealer Peter Pap’s booth was the subject of much interest on the morning after the opening gala, but, as he pointed out, “Oriental rugs are not an impulse buy.” Nevertheless, he made some excellent sales during the show and a week after the show was working with Nantucket clients on their primary residences off island.

Dazzling stars and stripes attracted buyers to Jeff Bridgman’s booth where they were greeted by a 34-foot-long Civil War period US Navy commissioning pennant with 13 stars that was entirely hand sewn. Bridgman also showed a 48-star salesman’s sample parade flag, circa 1912–1930, which was an abstract sampling and a juxtaposition of patterns. It had come from the collection of J. Richard Pierce.

Nina Hellman’s rich trove included nautical charts, historic Nantucket photographs and ephemera, scrimshaw and whaling material. The painting “Weaving Hit or Miss, Nantucket, 1894,” was signed and dated by island artist Walter Folger. Hellman also showed the Nineteenth Century “Sconset Boathouse” by Wendell Macy, a descendant of the first settler of Nantucket, Thomas Macy. Another Macy descendent and lifelong island resident, Aletha Macy, created the group of six ivory whales mounted on a mahogany board.

Shoppers crowded into the booth of Solebury, Penn., dealer Charles L. Washburne to take home examples of the exquisite English majolica that he sells. Sales were brisk, and he took time with clients to describe the objects of desire and their history.

Fredericksburg, Va., dealers Fletcher & Copenhaver went home happy. They offered three significant collections, work by French artist and muralist Alix Aymé, 40 drawings by the Russian-born New York WPA artist Moses Soyer and Simka Simkhovich, also Russian-born and a WPA artist.

Phyllis Carlson Stevenson and Timothy Stevenson of Manchester, Vt., filled two spacious display cases with three shelves, each overflowing with sterling napkin rings, with a few coin silver examples. They were an instant hit. The booth walls were hung with drawings and a selection of cartoons by Barbara Shermund.

Sold stickers proliferated in the booth of Woodbury, Conn., dealer Gary Sergeant, who was meeting returning clients. Sergeant showed a Connecticut maple highboy with a bonnet top that he described as “needing no apologies.” A George III chinoiserie lacquered black butler’s secretary bookcase and a pair of George III chairs were of interest, as was a George II walnut bachelor’s chest from about 1730.

The fine and the funky burst forth from the corner booth of the Los Angeles dealers Diana Douglas and Michael J. Ogle’s American Garage. The husband and wife had an 11-drawer apothecary chest in blue paint from the 1830s that was covered with an assembled set of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century white finials. They also had a sheet iron horse-form weathervane, a late Nineteenth Century cast iron three-dimensional fish monger’s trade sign, and a charming copper and bronze sheet metal weathervane with the wind ruffling the tail feathers of the rooster and a small gosling that came from the former home of the Fleischmann’s yeast family.

New York City’s Yew Tree House Antiques offered an early Nineteenth Century X-trestle table and a primitive Irish Windsor chair against a graphic display of a variety of boat builders’ curves. A dandy Noah’s Ark with Mr and Mrs Noah and more than 40 animals and a 70-inch Nineteenth Century carved and painted English fish oil merchant’s trade sign were of interest.

From Berkshire in England, William Cook brought dandy Cuban mahogany objects: a George III secretary bookcase that dated from about 1765 and a stunning 52-inch Regency, circa 1810, single board circular table with a tilt top. Cook also had a George III bracket clock, circa 1780, by John Fladgate of London that had chinoiserie decoration. Fossils of interest were also for sale.

Stonington, Conn., dealer Roberto Freitas had a splendid Eighteenth Century Boston Chippendale mahogany block front chest that had once belonged to Lucy Ann Davenport of Dorchester. Freitas had some fine paintings, including “Rockaway Beach” by William Trost Richards, Antonio Jacobsen’s 1903 portrait of the pilot boat New Jersey and “Obadiah’s Home” by Grandma Moses.

Compelling decorations included a 15-inch, 1791 Liverpool pitcher depicting Apollo and Artemis, a circa 1880 Maine carved and painted peacock and a late Nineteenth Century trade sign from the Amoskeag Steam Fire Engine Company of Manchester, N.H.

Freitas’ most entertaining object, however, was the French bulldog growler pull toy that sat on a Queen Anne chair.

Carved figures were prominent in Sylvia Antiques’ booth. They included an Indian maiden tobacconist figure, a fish monger, a pair of eagles, a barber’s pole and a large carved wood plaque of the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A Nantucket lightship basket was inscribed “Made on Nantucket South Shoals Lightship 50 Years Ago — Presented to Mary Bowitch [sic] Forbes by James H. Woods of Nantucket in 1930.” Mary Bowditch Forbes of Milton, Mass., summered in Dark Harbor, Maine, and Nantucket.

Furniture included a Southeastern Massachusetts Federal cherry sideboard with ivory inlay.

Leatherwood Antiques of Sandwich, Mass., showed a chest with dramatic compass inlay, a country bench paired with a decoy, game boards, sailors valentines and woolies. A rare map of Nantucket drawn by William Coffin for Obed Macy’s 1835 The History of Nantucket: Being a Compendius Account of the Island by the English….In Two Parts was framed in a box that contained the book. Coffin was the editor of the book.

The Cooley Gallery of Old Lyme, Conn., brought just the right paintings to Nantucket and made excellent sales. By the morning after the preview party, Jeff Cooley had sold three paintings by Dwight Tryon, a John Appleton Brown pastel and several smaller pictures. Other works attracted serious interest and second looks. They included a Mary Bradish Titcomb, Louis Paul Dessar’s “Moonrise, France,” Henry Farrer’s “Moonrise on the Coast” and a summery work by Emil Carlsen.

Ralph M. Chait Galleries of New York City returned to Nantucket for the fourth season. Chinese Export and armorial porcelain were a strong draw and included a pair of covered jugs, beakers, Kangxi jars from about 1662–1722, blanc de chine figures and an early Eighteenth Century wine cooler with Japanese Imari decoration.

London silver dealer Stephen Kalms was new this year and had such a successful show that he could not wrap it all up fast enough — one pleased Nantucket woman helped him pack up several candelabra, a tea set and other silver pieces that she bought.

Pride of place in the booth of Boston’s Vose Galleries went to “Mending Traps, Martinsville, Maine,” that Newell Convers Wyeth painted in the mid-1930s. Wyeth gave the picture to Rockland, Maine, physician Walter D. Hall in 1938 in payment or gratitude for treatment of an illness. Vose also showed Warren Sheppard’s “Sunrise on the Shore” and a Venetian canal scene by Caleb A. Slade, along with “Yacht Races” by Charles Hopkinson.

The Antiques & Design Show of Nantucket is managed by the Antiques Council. For information, For the Nantucket Historical Association, 508-228-1894 or

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