Published: October 31, 2007
A picture-perfect fall weekend accompanied the October 6‷ ADA Historic Deerfield Antiques Show, which came together this year just as its founders envisioned it. Mist rose from the valley’s fertile fields, framing a tableau vivant of Deerfield Academy students and their parents engaged in fall pursuits. Time travelers wandered along Historic Deerfield’s enfilade of period homes and collectors hungrily combed the ADA show’s 49 booths, eager to swap news and share notes with 52 experts from the Antiques Dealers Association of America.
Ongoing marketing and promotion efforts have helped make the sublimely sited ADA Historic Deerfield Antiques Show the great destination event of the season. Success was confirmed by this year’s attendance figures: up 30 percent versus a year ago, which was up 15 percent over the year before. Under the direction of show chairman Karen DiSaia, the ADA Historic Deerfield Antiques Show gets better each year. Even the signage was ideal, thanks to ADA members George Spiecker and Gary Ludlow.
“The ADA Historic Deerfield Antiques Show is becoming better known. We really have established an identity as the premier fall show in New England,” said Marc Belanger, Historic Deerfield’s associate director of marketing. Two events in particular contributed to the gate.
First, ADA formed a partnership with local PBS television affiliate WGBY in Springfield, Mass. ADA dealers participated in a September 9 appraisal day to raise money for the station, which in turn promoted the antiques show to its viewers, many of them fans of Antiques Roadshow, whose broadcast is partly underwritten by Historic Deerfield.
Second, Historic Deerfield welcomed a collectors’ group from Texas. The visit was planned by a longtime Deerfield friend. The itinerary included trips to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., and the Bennington Museum of Art in Vermont. The Texas group expressed a lively interest formal furniture, silver and, not surprisingly, Western American Indian art, shown for the first time in this setting by New York dealer Marcy Burns, who sold an important basket. Arthur Liverant coincidentally made contact with a lost client from Texas, who 24 years earlier purchased a curly maple chest of drawers advertised by the Colchester, Conn., firm in The Magazine Antiques.
“We hope to continue the partnership with WGBY and encourage other collector groups from around the country to visit the show,” said Belanger.
“The Dallas Museum has set the tone for Nineteenth Century American silver, perhaps one reason why the Texas collectors were so interested in what we sell,” said new exhibitor Spencer Gordon, a silver specialist from Southampton, Mass. Spencer Marks did a brisk trade in New England Arts and Crafts silver, offered for the first time at the show, thanks to an expanded dateline of 1930 for silver wares.
Historic Deerfield president Phil Zea and his wife, Betsy, made a careful study of Connecticut River Valley objects on the floor and also greeted patrons. Among the museum’s purchases were an 1816 Northampton, Mass., sampler by Temperance Clark, acquired from Philadelphia sampler specialist Amy Finkel, and a pair of blue satin ladies shoes with an early New Hampshire history, bought from Portsmouth dealer Hollis Brodrick.
Interest in what used to be called “Pilgrim Century” furniture is alive and well at this annual showcase for late Seventeenth and early Eighteenth Century American arts.
Ohio dealer Sam Forsythe offered a circa 1680 Windsor, Conn., carved box.
Stephen-Douglas Antiques highlighted a circa 1700′0 Deerfield area two-drawer blanket chest, ex collection of John Robinson, $22,500. An important Bible box was among the Vermont dealers’ many sales.
Massachusetts dealer Paul de Coste paired a circa 1690 chest from Cambridge, Mass., with molded drawers and stiles, $14,950, with a labeled, 1816 Cary’s celestial globe.
Brooklyn, N.Y., dealer S. Scott Powers showed a mid-Eighteenth Century New York State ash burl scoop with an iron handle and a primitive mirror of circa 1780 with charmingly scrolled trim pieces.
A big hutch table and a rare, circa 1670‸0 Essex County, Mass., joined chest, its two-panel front embellished with applied moldings, was an early sale at Nathan Liverant and Son, where a Connecticut Valley Chippendale tall case clock surviving with near perfect surface was $40,000 and an E.S. Field portrait of a flute playing gentleman was $42,500.
“I really love figural andirons,” said Sagamore, Mass., dealer Brian Cullity, who featured a ten-year collection of the iron sculptures, all Eighteenth Century examples, for $11,500. Two Revolutionary War wallets embossed with figures of Liberty and a masted ship were $12,500 and $6,700.
The show offers many informal lessons in connoisseurship. Christopher T. Rebollo Antiques displayed a muscular, circa 1790 Philadelphia mahogany bow front chest of drawers upside down so admirers could examine its pristine underside.
Yarmouth Port, Mass., dealers Courcier & Wilkins showed two country roundabout chairs side by side, the better to study their contrasting surfaces, turnings, and carved splats and stretchers.
New Hampshire’s Dunlap family of cabinetmakers made several appearances in the booth of Peter Eaton. Having sold two candlestands and a Queen Anne tall case clock early in the show, the Newbury, Mass., dealer emphasized a Dunlap school chest-on-chest for $28,000.
In old red paint, a high chest of drawers attributed to Major John Dunlap, probably Bedford, N.H., circa 1785‱792, was $175,000 at John Keith Russell Antiques of South Salem, N.Y. The ADA president, who left his Shaker inventory at home this time, sold furniture, paintings, lighting and redware.
A New Hampshire flattop highboy in Spanish brown paint was $75,000 at Pam & Martha Boynton Antiques.
Kirt Crump arrayed shelf clocks in every size and shape from end to end of his large, corner booth. One, a fret-top example by William Fitz of Portsmouth, N.H., was $35,000.
“We had our best ADA show ever,” said Pennsylvania dealer Skip Chalfant. Having made a concerted effort to bring New England furniture, he sold a Connecticut cherrywood chest, a New England table, andirons, a lantern clock and three paintings.
Jeffrey Tillou’s powerhouse presentation centered on a circa 1756 Connecticut River Valley matching fan-carved cherrywood highboy and lowboy, $385,000.
Artemis Gallery, a specialist in American Federal furniture, enjoyed a banner year, selling a sideboard and a pair of portraits from a display featuring three Boston pieces: a small box sofa possibly by Isaac Vose, a rare child’s recamier and a miniature chest of drawers, $2,600, signed John Treadwell and dated 1844.
Possibly from Albany, N.Y., a handsome eglomise mirror, $55,000, with an elaborate gilt finial stood out at Samuel Herrup Antiques. At the opposite end of the spectrum were two fine examples of country furniture, both in yellow paint: a three-tier New England dressing table at the Sheffield, Mass., dealers stand, and a tiered dressing table with attached mirror, at Jewett-Berdan Antiques of Newcastle, Maine.
George and Debbie Spiecker had a bang-up show, writing up a labeled Newburyport, Mass., bow front chest, a tiger maple tavern table, a card table, an eagle weathervane, a burl bowl, folk sculpture and mocha ware. Before he packed out on Sunday, George Spiecker also sold a chest-on-chest.
Ohio dealers Gary and Martha Ludlow opened the weekend with the sale of a Vermont Hepplewhite four-drawer chest with solid figured maple sides and tops and veneered fronts.
“We’ve been selling textiles, a great bunch of them, a painting and lighting,” said Grace Snyder, who spread a wool blanket embroidered with an eagle and basket of flowers over a primitive rope bed.
Old Saybrook, Conn., dealers Stephen and Carol Huber wrote up samplers and silk embroideries from Mount Vernon, N.Y., Canterbury, N.H., and Saugus, Mass., in the opening minutes of the show.
A specialist in early textiles and primitive furniture, Merrimacport, Mass., dealer Colette Donovan built her booth around a primitive maple settee covered in an early wholecloth quilt.
Jan Whitlock, who recently moved her shop to Malvern, Penn., across from Van Tassel-Baumann Antiques and near H.L. Chalfant Antiques, showcased the well-known and twice published “Schoolhouse Village” quilt, a marvel of design that pictures a town bisected by train tracks. Dated 1891, the pictorial textile came out of York, Penn., years ago.
Other memorable examples of American folk art included a Lancaster County, Penn., tavern sign, $75,000, at Olde Hope Antiques. It came from the Temperance Inn in Fairfield, Penn., and was retailed by Joe Kindig Jr in 1934.
Portrait miniatures adorned the walls at Scott Bassoff/Sandy Jacobs and at Elle Shushan. “I sold like a wild lady. It couldn’t have been more fun,” said Shushan, a Philadelphia dealer.
Dillsburg, Penn., dealer Jeff Bridgman waved the flag, a very rare circa 1818′0 example with 21 embroidered stars, priced $125,000. Bridgman says it is one of the three earliest flags he has ever owned.
Three pilot house eagles and a molded copper eagle weathervane perched center stage at Greg A. Kramer Antiques, Robesonia, Penn.
“This show is building on itself,” said ADA president John Keith Russell. “For the third consecutive year, it has been at the same time in the same place.” For diehard antiquers, Columbus Day weekend and the ADA Historic Deerfield Antiques Show are one and the same.
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