Published: August 19, 2003
– “Antiques Week in New Hampshire is remarkable when you consider how it has held its own in this slow economic climate,” Nan Gurley said after sorting through the many show reports that had filtered down to her. And she can take credit for getting this entertaining and buying frenzy week off to a grand start.
Americana Celebration, staged at the Deerfield Fairgrounds, is a one-day show that draws first blood from those regulars and newcomers to Antiques Week. The early buyers line starts forming before daybreak and by 8 am an eager crowd has discarded the coffee cups and donut wrappers to prepare for the rush onto the grounds. The dealers, 139 strong, set up in four of the buildings and also about the spacious grounds. Those who are outside are generally under tent, as the weather has been quite damp in years past and the same was true for this year.
Nan Gurley and Peter Mavris, from a vantage spot just inside building one, offered a collection of objects including a sign advertising “America’s Favorite, F.P. Corsets,” framed reverse painting on glass; a farm table with white painted surface, 61/2 feet long; and a paint decorated server-cupboard attributed to Rup. The furniture offered from the booth of Pregent’s Antiques of Keene, N.H., ranged from a formal four-drawer mahogany chest on bracket base with inlay top, to a country wagon seat with the original splint seat.
Green seemed to be a favorite color for George and Sandy Goldring of Essex Junction, Vt. They showed a two-drawer blanket chest in apple green paint, crackled surface, found in the attic of a home in Montgomery, Vt., Eighteenth Century, and a tall one-door cupboard, Vermont origin, with early green surface.
A tall-case clock in mahogany, with Dobson Leeds on the dial and a painting of a young girl reading at the top of the dial, was shown in the booth of Ware House Antiques of Boylston, Mass. Also offered was a two-drawer blanket chest in pine, Chippendale style on bracket base, and two doll houses, one with more age and charm, complete with a railed porch and shutters.
Within minutes of the show’s opening a sold tag hung from a one door hanging cupboard in the booth of Blue Dog Antiques of Stafford Springs, Conn. The cupboard had glass in the door and an upside-down heart carving in the crest. A number of hooked rugs was shown, including one that spelled out “Good Luck.”
A Nova Scotia cupboard that was once a built-in, Nineteenth Century, scrubbed down to the original red wash, came east from Pecatonica, Ill., and was shown in the booth of Antiques at Hillwood Farm. Other painted pieces included a folding wall table from Maine, Nineteenth Century, in the original mustard paint and breadboard ends. A large penny rug had bright red circles a dark red ground.
Among the more formal pieces of furniture was a Hepplewhite game table with inlaid front, possibly Massachusetts or Maine, in the display of Mal-Res Antiques, Cincinnati, Ohio. Also shown was a set of four bow back Windsor side chairs with bamboo turnings.
The end booth in one of the buildings provided two walls for the display of hooked rugs by Michael McCue of Bryn Athyn, Penn. Among the ten examples shown, designs included sailboats, a basket of flowers, graphics and the date 1925. The Other Drummer from Toftonboro, N.H., sold a double desk early into the show, and a painted sled and Shaker baskets stirred interest from the visitors.
New England South of Roswell, Ga., had a very full booth, offering an American four-drawer chest with inlaid eagle from the Mid-Atlantic states, a pair of Sheraton fancy chairs with rush seats, yellow with floral decoration, and a large hooked rug showing an urn of flowers in fall colors.
Another sawbuck table was shown by Family Tree Antiques, Gorham, Maine, this one with a three-board top, traces of old gray paint, and a child’s wooden wheelbarrow, green painted with red wheel.
“Life is looking up,” a smiling Betty Zwicker said midway into the show, noting that, in addition to a number of small objects, she had sold a nice hutch table and a leather fire bucket from Maine with the name Osborne on it. The Bristol, Maine, dealer still had interesting things to offer including a large shadowbox with a four-masted schooner and a small dry sink, mustard paint over the original red.
Another hutch table was shown by Colleen Nordengren of Pepperell, Mass., a New England example with red surface dating from the early Nineteenth Century. From the Eighteenth Century was a slat back, ladder back armchair with sausage turnings, in old black paint and the original splint seat.
“The lady of the house loves this chair and she has gone to find the man of the house,” Ron Chambers of Higganum, Conn., said, pointing out his ladder back armchair with mushroom caps, circa 1700-1720, from either Massachusetts or Connecticut. He always has a selection of chairs, many banister backs with Spanish feet, along with a good selection of American pewter. “This show has been good for me every year, and this looks like another successful one,” he said while listing sales that included several pieces of pewter, a fire bucket with the original paint decoration and a sled made in East Hampton, Conn., labeled “Pride of the Hill.”
“A few of the dealers did not have very good shows, but for the most part they did well,” Nan Gurley reported several days after the show. She also mentioned that toward the end of the show she motors around the fairgrounds in her electric chair encouraging dealers to be in their booths to catch any last minute sales. “When I got back to my own booth there was a man waiting there to buy a rug,” she said, proving her point about end of the day sales was well taken.
Nan Gurley is now gearing up for her next show, September 4, in Sturbridge, Mass., with 100 dealers, all inside.
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