Published: November 6, 2007
“Trendy?” queried colonial Americana dealer Don Buckley in large letters that ran across his advertisement for The Fall Hartford Antiques Show. “Please!” was his response.
Buckley, along with his wife Gloria, doing business as Buckley and Buckley Antiques in Salisbury, Conn., have long been diehard supporters of this show and the keen observations made in the award-winning copywriter and art director turned antiques dealer’s advertisement, rang true again this year.
Hartford, as Buckley and a host of others will relate, is a show where collections are formed and friendships are forged.
A handsome Fall Hartford Antiques Show opened to an appreciative crowd on Saturday, October 21, proving once again that it is anything but trendy. The fact of the matter is, another stalwart showing was presented at Hartford. This show has long been referred to as an “incomparable source of period American antiques,” and rightly so as Hartford concentrates on a tried and true diet consisting of a steadfast assortment of merchandise, American in nature and always dating prior to 1840.
An enthusiastic crowd made its way onto the floor as the show opened, disappearing into booths, only to surface again and dart up and down the aisles in search of treasures. Show manager Linda Turner reported that the gate “was just about the same as last year,” and commented that many of the dealers reported “terrific shows.” Touting “Made in Connecticut” as an appealing and flavorful local theme, dealers were encouraged to feature Connecticut-made antiques in their displays. The response from buyers was positive.
“Everything in the booth was made in Connecticut,” stated Arthur Liverant, gesturing at the attractive assortment of furniture and accessories that comprised his stand. Items included a Queen Anne cherry flat-top highboy from the Wethersfield School, circa 1770‱790, with a sunburst carved top drawer and a nice mellow patina, $42,500. A circa 1780 Chippendale cherry chest with a serpentine-shaped top from eastern Connecticut was another of the featured items, as was a Norwich Chippendale butternut slant front desk with an unusual carved spade foot, and a cherry tall chest, circa 1780, from the upper Connecticut River Valley that had descended in the Stark family.
Among the Connecticut-wrought accessories in the booth was a portrait of Captain Stephen Clay of Middletown executed by William Jenny, $25,000, and a memorial watercolor for Colchester native James Stark by his daughter Ruth, 1812, that retained the original eglomise frame, $36,500.
A nice pair of fanback Windsors with “E Tracey” brands under the seats were reasonably priced in Liverant’s booth, as was an attractive Queen Anne banister back armchair thought to have been made in the Wallingford area.
Douglas Constant reported good sales, with a Chippendale fan-carved bonnet-top cherry chest-on-chest finding a buyer soon after the show opened to the public. Retaining the original finials and resting on a bracket base, the circa 1775 case piece had appealing compact proportions.
A walnut Queen Anne side chair was attracting a good deal of attention in the booth. The circa 1760 chair, with a broad yoke-form crest rail, vasiform splat and cabriole legs, was thought to be of New York City origin, although differing opinions were expressed by several people looking it over. Also of note from the booth was a nice Boston mahogany Queen Anne dining table, circa 1750, and an attractive Federal inlaid mahogany bow front card table with reeded legs and tassel feet.
Stephen and Carol Huber always present a good selection of Connecticut needlework pictures; a large family record of Glastonbury’s Post family highlighted the Hartford assortment. The signed and dated piece, 1827, was exceptionally well executed with intricate trees and floral motifs outlining the work, $42,000.
A small sampler by Sarah Alling of New Haven, 1836, was available from the Hubers, as was an 1833 silk on linen example by Prudence Young of Chatham, Conn.
New to the show this year was Deposit, N.Y., dealer Axtell Antiques who brought along the strong assortment of country primitives that the dealer has been known to carry for decades. One of the items from the booth quickly became the “talk of the show,” a large carved American eagle attributed to Philadelphia maker William Rush, $125,000. An attractive bright yellow dressing table of New York State origin was at the forefront of the booth that Axtell shared with Vlasak Antiques of Binghamton., N.Y. The dealer pointed out the fact that the decoration on the piece resembled decorations normally found on toleware from the region. A blue painted cupboard of diminutive size with a single paneled door and open upper shelves was also offered. The piece, with an unusual molded top extending out from the top of the cupboard, had been discovered in Brattleboro, Vt., and was stickered at $35,000.
“We saw a lot of paintings going out of the show through the front doors,” stated Turner. Paintings seen around the floor included an oil by Lyme Art Association member Bertram George Bruestle titled “Connecticut Summer Landscape” that was displayed in the booth of David and Donna Kmetz, Douglas, Mass. The dealers also featured an appealing Impressionistic scene of a young girl picking flowers by Frank Townsend Hutchens titled “Wildflowers.” The artist was active in the Silvermine Artists Guild and a Norwalk resident.
Falmouth, Mass., dealers Hilary and Paulette Nolan set up a sumptuous looking display highlighted by a circa 1735‱740 walnut Queen Anne knee-hole desk that retained the original brasses. With a provenance going back to Dr Edward Holyoke (1728‱829), the rare piece had descended through two families, passing from generation to generation, $38,000.
Presumably once adorning a building, Nolan also offered a huge spread-winged eagle with wonderful patinated surface with a wingspan of close to four feet. Accessories included a rare pair of stick-up black duck decoys, circa 1920, carved by Gordon Mann of Accord, Mass. Priced at $12,000 and displaying the carving characteristics of Joseph Lincoln, the birds are the only known examples, according to the dealer.
The Fall Hartford show experienced an unusually large number of dealers dropping from the show this year. A host of dealers, 16 to be exact, without counting one deceased, decided not to return for one reason or another. Many of those dealers were noticeably absent, including three that occupied front booths and have been mainstays of Hartford for decades: Peter Eaton, Joan Brownstein and Harold Cole. According to Turner, dealers did not return for a variety of reasons ranging from illness, to having relocated, for personal reasons, and due to a lack of business that they had conducted at the show in past years.
All in all, The Fall Hartford Antiques Show resembled the fall season and the unseasonably temperate weather that was experienced on that late October weekend; it was warm, colorful and enjoyable. For information, 207-767-3967 or www.forbesandturner.com .
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