Published: March 13, 2018
Review and Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
TOLLAND, CONN. – The 52nd annual Tolland Antiques Show livened up Connecticut’s usually “quiet corner” on March 4 with a small but choice show specializing in early Americana. Held at the Tolland Middle School, and benefiting the Tolland Historical Society, the show featured 45 dealers representing every New England state, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Despite a nor’easter that had blown through two days before the show, there were no dealer cancellations and the floor was evenly busy in both of the two rooms where the show was held.
The first room closest to the front door was the cafeteria, which held a dozen dealers. One of the first booths inside the door was that of Hollis Brodrick, Portsmouth, N.H., who does several shows every year. Afterward, he said he had done well at the show, and always looked forward to being there. This was the first time Carol Buda and Matt King, Marshfield, Mass., participated in the Tolland show and they brought a good variety of smalls. Their booth was busy when we stopped by and they were having a good show.
Regina McGrory of The Ole Crows, East Falmouth, Mass., brought a sweet group of four pieces of miniature furniture – a chest on chest, two desks on frame and a slant lid desk, that she’d found in an estate in Vernon, Conn. They were priced separately, and she expected to sell them before the end of the day.
A highlight in the booth of Richard Kenney, Dover, N.H., was a strikingly figured tiger-maple drop leaf table. Kenney said he sold a nice cupboard preshow and was having a great time. A four-fold Chinese screen against the back of his booth nicely complemented the American antiques he brought and was one of just a few pieces of Asian furniture in the show.
Framed works on paper priced to sell was what Richard Greene, Providence, R.I., brought and he said he was having a great show. His booth was frequently busy with prospective buyers.
Sandy Doig at Karen Alexander Antiques, Somers, Conn. said they had a lot of sales during set up and that dealers were optimistic. He was pleased with the turnout. He pointed out a pair of handwrought iron gate toppers that had been made into bookends. Found at a North Carolina estate, he said the craftsmanship was exceptional.
Tucked in a cabinet in the booth of Joseph Collins, Cobalt, Conn., was a small Noah’s Ark with several pairs of animals. When Sundays were observed as a “day of rest,” toys could not be played with, but Noah’s Arks were allowed because they were considered instructive through their biblical connection.
This was the best Tolland show in the seven years, according to Michael Rouillard, Quiet Corner Antiques, Sterling, Conn. The dealer had sold samplers, Nantucket baskets and early iron and lighting. A small prancing horse weathervane was one of the standout pieces in the booth.
A fantastic grain-painted stool was in the booth of Barbara Ardizone. She said she got it from Joan Brownstein and it was one of her favorites. The hooked rug with house and landscape decoration was another of her favorites, which she acquired from Lucinda Seward. She said she had a great show.
Lynn Oppenheimer of Ivy Hill Primitives, Langhorne, Penn., made a few sales within minutes of the show opening. Sharon Platt American Antiques, Portsmouth, N.H., brought a lot of decorative household implements and the dealer’s booth was popular with showgoers.
The first booth in the gymnasium belonged to Patina Art + Antiques, Roxbury, Conn. Glenn Allard said they were having a good show. When asked to point out her favorite item, his partner, Lisa Demauro, said she had already sold her favorites. One of just a few dealers to bring architectural elements to the show, the fan light at the back of their booth made a dramatic statement but, as Allard pointed out, it is harder to sell them than it used to be. Both remarked that attendees seemed really happy to be there.
A two-drawer blanket chest with original grain paint decoration, hinges and pulls was one of the highlights in the booth of Kensington, Conn., dealer Derik Pulito. The show was one of several he does in the spring and he said he had a good show, with a large, constant flow of prospective buyers throughout the day. After the show, he observed that the buying crowd seemed to have doubled from the previous year.
The only booth lined with rugs was that of Windsor, Conn., dealer, Tom Landers of Palisades Trading Co. A whimsical standout was a pair of turkey pillows, which he said had been fashioned from a hooked rug. Speaking later, Landers said he had a very good show. Not only had he sold several small rugs and trappings and set up appointments to show room-size rugs, he was also able to set up appointments for cleaning and repair. He said the historical society always puts on a quality show.
This was the first year Marilyn and Ron Saland, Scarsdale, N.Y., had exhibited at the Tolland show. They sold a Federal two-drawer stand, a Nineteenth Century wire decorative basket, a tin fish-form aspic mold, a small Currier folio lithograph of a pacer and a Nineteenth Century lantern slide of the Civil War.
Martha Boynton of Martha & Pam Boynton Antiques, Townsend, Mass., said Tolland “is always a good little show.” She sold a Bellamy eagle, a burl bowl and some baskets before the day was half over. Chester Cwilichoski, Ansonia, Conn., brought several fun things, most prominently a whimsical painted wood carnival clown-form figure to identify who was tall enough to ride the ride. A 15-year veteran of the Tolland show, Susan Wirth, Union, Conn., had a nice variety of painted and household implements.
When Antiques & The Arts Weekly spoke to Rona Andrews, Wellesley, Mass., the best piece she sold so far that day was a beautiful Coffin family ship painting. Her booth had a great variety of decorative smalls and she was optimistic, given the enthusiasm of the crowd. Greg Hamilton, Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., was one of the only dealers to bring Native American pieces and he had several good baskets and pots on offer.
Immediately noticeable in the booth of Michael Weinberg, West Pelham Antiques, Pelham, Mass., were several samplers. He said he had a good show, selling two good samplers, one just as the show was closing. He thought the crowd was good, with other items seeing lots of interest. He also commended the show committee on a great job.
Exhibiting at the show for the first time were Phyllis Sommer of Pumpkin Patch Antiques, Searsport, Maine, and her partner, Dennis Raleigh, Wiscasset, Maine. Sommer was pleased to have a ten-drawer early Nineteenth Century apothecary cabinet with graduated drawers and beading. She placed it in the center of her booth, where it was getting a lot of attention.
Commenting after the show, Sommer said she found the crowd to be informed and interested as well as careful in their selections. She was very pleased that people continued to come to the show even late in the day. Raleigh said they were very pleased with the show on both the buying and selling ends. By the time the show closed, they had sold a Rhode Island Windsor side chair, a Japanese Tanzu, a pair of watercolors in the great blue painted frames, a leaping stag and many other smalls.
One of the most dynamic quilts in the show was a Lone Star example in shades of red and pink that prominently hung in the back of the booth of Bayberry Antiques, Rockland, Mass. Dealer Laura McCarthy said she got it out of a house on the North Shore of Massachusetts and was one of two quilts from the house she brought to the show. McCarthy said the quilt had wonderful dense quilting and appeared to have never been used nor washed. Speaking after the show, McCarthy said the quilt had sold, as well as a couple of pieces of furniture and numerous smalls. She had an enjoyable show with knowledgeable and enthusiastic customers.
Tom and Bev Longacre of Thomas R. Longacre Antiques, Marlborough, N.H., were also having a good show. One of the highlights of their booth was a circa 1700-30 four-slat ladderback armchair in original surface, full height and original iron support rods. They had multiple sales throughout the day, including a folk carved owl, a very early demilune table in original paint, two hooked rugs, including one of a village scene on a snowy day in Vermont, and several smalls, among others.
A circa 1900 hooked rug with a deer and several baskets were prominently featured in Sheila Robbins’ booth. The Framingham, Mass., dealer said Tolland attracts a knowledgeable crowd, many of whom have been collecting for years. She sold to a collector who had come all the way from New Jersey. David and Donna Kmetz,. Douglas, Mass., filled their booth with small attractive landscape paintings, which provided a nice complement to the rest of the show and seemed popular with prospective buyers.
Few dealers brought books to sell, but David Thompson of David Thompson Antiques & Art, South Dennis, Mass., was one exception. He said they do books shows and have found Tolland buyers to be particularly receptive to books on specific collecting categories. One of the standout pieces in his booth was a shadowbox diorama with two ships from a Cape Cod estate and a lighthouse door stop, perhaps unsurprising given his location on Cape Cod.
Ken and Robin Pike, Nashua, N.H., had a rare pair of tramp art planters, painted in black and red. They were very happy with the show and their sales and were able to buy a few things as well. After the show, Robin commented that they felt the crowd was strong and more willing to purchase than sometimes, and that the hospitality was great, as always.
A classical chest was the centerpiece in the booth of Wenham Cross Antiques, Topsfield, Mass. Emily and Irma Lampert said it was all birch and from Vermont. It was one of just a few large pieces of furniture still on the floor and unsold by late morning. Daniel & Karen Olson, Newburgh, N.Y., who do between 15 and 18 shows a year, said Tolland had been a good show for them. Red tags could be seen in their booth and both were keen to talk to showgoers, both young and old.
Stephen Corrigan and Douglas Jackman of Stephen-Douglas Antiques, Rockingham, Vt., brought a great selection of things. A pair of profile portraits caught this reporter’s eye and Jackman explained that they were attributed to Jacob Mantel, in rare bust-length format. They were from an old New York State collection, were in the same frame, and were similar to ones in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller folk art collection at Colonial Williamsburg. Clearly depicting two gentlemen who were related, he hoped to keep them together.
Colette Donovan, Merrimacport, Mass., sold much of her booth in the first few hours of the show and had to rearrange things. She showed off an unusual wall-mounted coffee grinder with heart-shaped cutout top. Wayne Hilt, Haddam Neck, Conn., brought a small but choice group of pewter – his specialty – as well as lots of other decorative objects, including a small uniform jacket and accessories.
Several individual daguerreotypes and other early photos were on offer from Brian Bartizek, Willimantic, Conn., and he was one of just a few dealers who brought early documents and manuscripts. Randi Ona, Wayne, N.J., offered an assembled stack of seven graduated painted Shaker pantry boxes. She said the show had a great group of dealers and her sales included a Hannah Davis box and an early fragment mirror.
Commenting after the show, cub reporter Connor Ring said that the show had been “a lot of fun,” and that he “learned a lot.” While he was not willing to disclose a favorite item, he liked the game boards he discovered in several booths. He also gave a hearty thumbs-up to the slice of pizza that was available for purchase in the cafeteria. Many of the dealers were happy to point out things they thought he might like and were enthusiastic about seeing a young face among the crowd.
This year’s show had slightly fewer dealers than in past years, but show director MaryPat Soucy said enthusiasm among the dealers had been strong and there was long line of attendees waiting for the show to open. More than 600 people came through the gate, which Soucy said was an increase over last year and she was very pleased with the attendance. She commended the group of 20 volunteers who were on hand to help and who made it a community effort.
For additional information, www.tollandhistorical.org.
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