Published: July 30, 2002
By R. Scudder Smith
PORTLAND, MAINE — The large green and white sign, an old one, that hung over the reception table at the Maine Antiques Show read, “Taste of Maine.”
And it was quite an offering. Inventories ranged from a block-front secretary to a child’s chair in wonderful yellow paint and decoration, and from an oversized piece of New England stoneware to a cup plate. There were treats on every aisle, and many of the people at the show were taking advantage of the situation, as witnessed by a showing of red sold tags.
“The show ran very smoothly this year and our gate was up,” Bette Zwicker, co-chair of the show said. She indicated that the second day of the show was busy, more so that last year, and that there were a great many retail sales on Friday. “I saw lots of formal furniture leave the show on Friday and many of the dealers related that it had been good for them,” Bette added. This year The Racket & Fitness Center required the committee to put down a carpet to protect the floors, and it was a definite improvement as well. This was the third year at this facility and “we want to stay as it is so convenient to the highways, is air-conditioned, and generally comfortable,” she said.
The show opened at 10 am on Thursday, July 18, and Jeff Good, a dealer in hooked rugs from Canterbury, N.H., was the first through the doors. He was followed closely by dealers Charles and Barbara Adams and Ted and Carole Hayward.
The show has a fine mix of talented dealers, the booths are attractive and inviting, and it is just the right size. And best of all, visitors find things to buy, making everyone happy. Dealers and showgoers alike are already looking forward to the 74th outing of this event.
One of the pieces that became the talk of the show was a bonnet-top blockfront secretary in the booth of Kenneth E. Tuttle Antiques of Gardiner, Maine. This Boston piece of furniture in mahogany, circa 1780, had a fitted interior with carved fans, three flame finials, and ball and claw feet. “I was not going to bring the secretary to the show, but thought better of it and made a trip back home to get it,” Nathan Tuttle said, “and I am glad I did.” The piece, with a price tag of $850,000, sold opening day to a private collector. “I really didn’t think it would sell at the show,” Nathan said, “but there was lots of interest in it and away it went.” Where the piece is going, and the name of the buyer, to date remain a mystery. “I was asked not to give that information,” Nathan said, upholding his end of the bargain.
Also offered from the Tuttle booth were a Rhode Island highboy in maple, circa 1740-50; a pair of Boston card tables in mahogany, circa 1790-1800; a Rhode Island slant front desk in maple, circa 1760-80; and a tiger maple work table that was also sold.
Steven J. Rowe, who has opened a summer shop in Blue Hill, Maine, showed a painted and decorated sofa, circa 1920, with white upholstery, along with a set of cottage furniture that appeared to be in near perfect condition. The set comprised a bed, dresser with mirror, commode, two chairs with cane seats and an end table. It was painted light green with blue floral decoration. After the summer months, the Rowes will be back at their shop in Newton, N.H.
A one-piece step back cupboard with old blue painted surface, bracket base, New York State, circa 1820-30, was in the middle against the back wall in the booth of Michael Newsom and Betty Berdan Newsom of Hallowell, Maine. On the top shelf was a Nineteenth Century tinware coffeepot with rare red decoration, and to the right a hooked rug depicting a horse with stars and checkerboard border hung over a Sheraton card table from the Portsmouth area. The table, in cherrywood and figured maple with ebony inlay, had a blocked oval front panel and dated circa 1800-1810. A miniature chair, yellow with painted decoration, was a little gem displayed on a blanket chest.
The Shirley Chambers/Pat Stauble combination was split this time out, each in her own booth. Shirley, from Westford Center, Mass., offered a yellow painted table with tapered legs and tombstone shaped top, and a 94-inch-long set of apothecary drawers, old green/gray paint, hung on the back wall. She showed one of the largest wooden bowls in the show, the outside in red painted surface.
Patricia Stauble of Wiscasset, Maine, in the adjoining booth, had an interesting wall hung with a hooked rug depicting two deer and a red rose border, as well as several portraits and ship paintings. The ship Viola, a fishing schooner out of Plymouth, oil on canvas, was painted by A. Nelson, and the Brigantine J. Williams of Windsor, Nova Scotia, gouache on board, circa 1875, was unsigned. This ship was built in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.
Pam Boynton of Groton, Mass., was greeting fellow dealers before the show opened with a chorus of “Good Morning, Good Morning, I Danced The Whole Night Through.” (It was very fortunate that the general public was not privy to this performance, or attendance might have taken a real dip.) In any case, Pam was sharing her booth with daughter Martha of Townsend, Mass., and offered a stunning six-board chest with cutout ends, green sponge decoration, of Vermont origin. A large half model was painted black with gold striping, and a Grenfell mat in excellent condition, depicting four flying duck, was on the back wall.
Colleen Kinloch of Laurel, Md., had a few sold signs around her booth shortly after the show opened, including one on a hanging ship’s cradle, circa 1880, in old green paint. It was on the floor, having been made into a table, with a piece of glass on top. A Chippendale tavern table with stretcher base, dry red surface, one-board top with breadboard ends, was on Maine origin and dated circa 1780-1820. Other furniture included a red painted step back cupboard, Canadian, circa 1860, with beaded detail.
Cape Elizabeth, Maine, dealers Joy and Palmer Shannon had a Federal style settee in mahogany, circa 1900; a New England tall chest, circa 1760, period brasses; and a Chippendale carved armchair, circa 1876.
“This table is really impressive, however I wish it had a real grunge surface,” Russ Goldberger said of his nine-foot, six-inch pine harvest table of New England origin. This New England piece had a finished surface, dated circa 1860, and would seat eight to ten people with no crowding. The legs were relatively delicate for the length of the table. Russ and Karen of Rye, N.H., also showed an American patriotic sailor’s woodwork from Belfast, Maine, depicting an eagle holding a shield over a pair of crossed flags. It dated from the Nineteenth Century and measured 28 by 27 inches. A painted fire bucket, leather with red and green decoration on brown ground, was from New England, dated 1820, and once belonged to C.W. Brown.
Ten weathervanes and a case filled with Delft dominated the booth of Norma Chick, Autumn Pond, Woodbury, Conn. Four horses, including an example by J. Fiske & Co., New York, a prancing horse with a worn gilt patina, last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, joined an eagle, a couple of banners, and two roosters, the smallest one selling as the show opened. In the middle of the booth was a set of six yellow painted chairs with decoration, rush seats, one armchair and five sides, circa 1830.
Federal furniture in the booth of New England Antiques, Bath, Maine, included an inlaid mahogany card table with line inlay edge, crossbanded cuffs, New England, Eighteenth Century, and a candlestand with spade feet in cherrywood, circa 1810, Maine origin.
Thomas M. Thompson of Northfield, N.H., had a collection of signs, including a set of three in yellow with black lettering offering homes and apartments for rent, a pair of small cast-iron urns, a demilune table in old green paint, and a red painted bench for two with extra wide arms to accommodate a number of summer drinks. This bench found an early buyer and was last seen heading for the parking lot in Tommy’s arms.
A New England gate leg table with one drawer, original turned pull, Rhode Island and dating from the Eighteenth Century, was at the front of the booth of Marie Plummer and John Philbrick of North Berwick, Maine. A card table with subtle inlay, classic D-shape, probably Newburyport, Mass., Eighteenth Century, was among the other pieces of furniture offered, and a large portrait of a gentleman with book, American School, also dated from the Eighteenth Century.
David C. Morey of Tenants Harbor, Maine, filled his corner booth with a good number of pieces of furniture including a rare William and Mary chair table with 44-inch round top, vase ring turned legs, New England, circa 1750-60, in the original Spanish brown paint. Also offered were a New England splayed leg tap table with one board top, breadboard ends, circa 1760, and a four-drawer Chippendale chest with molded top resting on a bracket base. It was probably from Newburyport, Mass., circa 1780-90.
Bette Zwicker of Bristol, Maine, split her time between being the duties of being co-chairman of the show and one of the exhibitors. Her booth offered a chair table with scrubbed top, old red base, and a collection of stone fruit that included grapes, peaches, a banana and oranges. In keeping with Maine, a hooked rug showed a coastal scene, complete with house, lighthouse and an American flag.
There were a number of yellow painted and decorated dressing tables at the show and two of them were in the booth of Thomas J. Jewett of Searsport, Maine. One of them was of good size, two tiers of drawers and backsplash, while the other was of small size with one long drawer. A set of four plank seat chairs had gold stenciled decoration, and a metal ship weathervane, small size, flew a sold tag right after the opening of the show.
Paul and Karen Wendhiser of Ellington, Conn., had an exceptional dressing table with floral decoration, circa 1820-30, with the signature of the maker, E.P. Hoyt, under each drawer. They also offered a trade sign in the form of a shield, gold lettering on black ground, with the name F.F. Innis. A selection of English furniture was shown by K.C. Clark Antiques, Salem, Mass., including an oak joined trestle table on shoe feet, two-board top with breadboard ends, circa 1730-50, and an oval William and Mary lowboy with central drawer, circa 1720.
A pair of Masonic globes, carved and painted wood depicting heaven and earth, was in the booth of Odd Fellows Antiques of Mt Vernon, Maine. Also offered was a smoke grained small chest on bracket feet, and a flower shirred rug on linen foundation, Twentieth Century. SAJE Americana of Short Hills, N.J., has a nice pair of hitching posts with delicate horse heads and fancy posts, old blue painted surface, along with a painted New England work table with three drawers, dovetail construction, tapered legs, with salmon over the original mustard surface. An oil on canvas portrait of Mary Powell, a sidewheeler, 1911, hung on the back wall of the booth and was signed lower left by Anderson, and lower right by Mart Powel.
Harold E. Cole/Bettina Krainin, Woodbury, Conn., offered a harvest table, New England, with two leaves, one board top, old red surface, and a Windsor arrow back bench, unpainted. A small dog weathervane with fine surface attracted lots of attention. An Eighteenth Century American sawbuck table with a three-board scrubbed top, 12 feet long, was in the booth of Robert Foley of Gray, Maine. Sold signs were attached to a large clock face with hands, and a two-drawer work table with turned legs on casters.
Jon Magoun Antiques of South Paris, Maine, had a large moose looking out 57 inches from his back wall, an animal with a 62-inch antler spread. Hanging nearby was a nest of four large rectangular shaped baskets, with handles at the ends, all in perfect condition, and among his carvings was a deer measuring three feet tall, mounted on a rock. A New England blue painted blanket cupboard, mid 1800s, with two doors, was shown in the booth of Gloria Lonergan of Mendham, N.J. She also had a nice Windsor side chair in salmon paint with splayed legs, and an Eighteenth Century corner cupboard in pine, original hardware, rose head nails, small size with three open shaped shelves in the top portion.
Paul and Cheryl Scott of Hillsborough, N.H., offered a set of four Windsor side chairs in white paint, and a miniature chest of drawers with porcelain knobs, also in the original paint. An American Classical sideboard with brass pulls, circa 1830, was from the North Shore, Mass., and an American Chippendale slant lid desk in maple, with good fitted interior, dated circa 1780. A zinc eagle with up-lifted wings, white surface with yellow and black accents, was in a corner cupboard with a sold sign attached.
C. Neville Lewis, owner of The Barometer Shop, Cuching, Maine, had a large inventory of instruments including several examples of wheel barometers, all of English origin. One of very rare form was by John Corti of London, circa 1810; a second by I. Moulton, Norwich, circa 1825; a third by Domco Gatty, London, circa 1790; and one by L. Gianna Salop, circa 1810.
“We are into out garden look,” Gail Piatt of Contoocook, N.H., said, pointing out a pair of white painted wooden gates hanging on the wall, and a glass top cast-iron table, also white, surrounded by a set of four chairs with a slight Windsor look. In addition, a barber pole in red, white and blue was offered, as well as a nice pair of still life paintings. Nancy prince of Portland, Maine, had an early cornice board, graphic design, brown and cream paint, and a large model of a tugboat, complete with riggings, in red, yellow and blue.
Bunker Hill Antiques, Jefferson, Maine, offered a vinegar decorated dressing table, a set of four bow back Windsor side chairs in black, and a set of two pillowback plank-seat chairs with compotes of fruit stenciled on the splats. A swing leg dining table with beaded legs, scrubbed top, probably Massachusetts dry surface, circa 1760-90, was in the booth of Colette Donovan of Merrimacport, Mass., along with a barrel back chair, circa 1840, in a blue and white checked fabric.
Among the pieces of furniture in the booth of Paula Timmins McColgan, Hopkinton, N.H., were a painted maple and cherrywood tea table with beaded skirt and splay legs, mid Eighteenth Century, and a two-drawer blanket chest with turned feet and old red painted surface. A Newport, R.I. highboy stood in the booth of Portland Antiques, Portland, Maine, Queen Anne in maple with the original brasses. This piece descended in the Cornelius C. Moore family and dates circa 1740. Several boat models were displayed, including a gaff rigged pond model, 25 inches long, with iron and lead keel.
David Allan Ramsay of Cape Porpoise, Maine, had three carousel horses from an Art Deco amusement park carousel, New York Lake Erie area, at the front of his booth, along with three pairs of cast-iron figural andirons depicting dogs, cats and owls. A large white painted wooden finial was in the booth, and a red sold tag hung from a four-drawer chest in old red with open shelves on top.
Roy Mennell of The Bradford Trust, Harwich Port, Mass., said he liked the fact that he was the only all painting dealer in the show and this year went very well for him. “I save many of my Maine paintings for this show and about half the works we are offering this time fit that category,” he said. Among the works hung include a color study, early autumn, Maine, 1924, by Samuel Burtis Baker, an oil on canvas measuring 25 by 28 inches, and Rocky Shore, Maine, 1920s, an oil on canvas by Caleb Slade, 22 by 28 inches. A scene of Rockport, Maine, “New England Street,” is an oil on canvas, 16 by 28 inches, by Paul Strisik.
Ellen Katona and Bob Lutz of Greenwich, N.J., were having a good show, selling a South Jersey bed in white paint, turned posts, circa 1840-50, as well as a tapered leg stand, two pairs of andirons, a pair of red, white and blue painted oars, a blanket chest in red, a hanging cupboard, a dome-top box and a large ship’s rudder.
Looking out from the outside corner of Wiscasset dealer Priscilla Hutchinson’s corner booth was a large carved and painted eagle in pine, Massachusetts origin, Nineteenth Century, 47 inches wide and 26½ inches high. Among her pieces of furniture was a pie safe with six punched and painted tin panels.
“Next year’s show will be at the same time period, a date we are comfortable with as it is far enough removed from the New Hampshire shops,” Bette Zwicker said. She noted that there is a chance the show will return to its Friday-Saturday format and not follow the Thursday-Friday schedule of this year. “We moved off the weekend this year because of the construction planned for the Maine Turnpike,” she said, “as warning of delays because of construction would have kept many people away.” The dates for next year’s show will be announced following a meeting of the association.
One thing will change for certain next year. Bette Zwicker, who shared the chairmanship of the show this year with Pat Center, will be stepping down from that position. “I have been at it for four years and it is time for someone else,” she said, adding, “I will still be involved in some way as I can’t turn my back when there are things to be done.” Without question, she has enjoyed it all.
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