Published: February 19, 2019
Photos and Review by Marty Steiner
ATLANTA, GA. – Atlanta, like most major cities, has both its particular taste in antiques and collectibles as well as an acknowledged major show. For many years, there were two shows vying for both dealers and customers. The High Museum of Art eventually discontinued their annual event, leaving the January 24-26 Cathedral Show at the Episcopal Cathedral of St Philip as the show in this major city of the south.
Sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women as a fundraiser for an annual designated beneficiary, this year’s event, the 48th, was to support Wilderness Works City Camps. This group conducts weekend camps for the children of families whose schedules make it difficult for them to be available when their children are out of school.
The show utilizes every nook and cranny of public space in the largest Episcopal Parish in the country. But that still limits the show to only 27 invited dealers.
Many of the attendees are primarily interested in Continental and English antiques, which is reflected in the material offered by these dealers. An emphasis on decorator items and accessories brings higher proportion of these items rather than case goods. Especially noticed are animals in many artistic forms.
Linda Ketterling, the perennial majolica dealer at this show, brought smiles to her customers’ faces as they selected that “gotta have it” example. Traffic and sales were brisk. Linda Ketterling Fine Majolica of Toledo, Ohio, has been part of the Cathedral show for years, and she knows her customers likes. The booth sometimes seems a combination zoo and animal rescue shelter, as many of the majolica creations include creatures of some sort. For example, an intently staring cat’s head formed the lid of an Austrian tobacco jar that drew much comment.
Connie O’Reilly of Northport, Ala., Davis O’Reilly Antiques, shows her personal love of animals with a rich offering of both Black Forest carved examples and a number of Jennings Brothers, Bridgeport, Conn., metal castings and various animal sculptures.
While many of us think of Black Forest items as intricately carved black bears from Germany on dark oak, Connie’s offerings show us the full range of creatures, with many of the finest on lighter woods from Switzerland. An entire education can be gleaned from Connie and many of the Cathedral Show dealers.
Jennings Brothers metal castings are identified with a “JB” and a number, which is the design number. Beginning in 1890 and producing Nouveau designs through the Arts & Crafts era of the early 1900s, they produced bookends, doorstops and stand-alone statuary. Many pieces were silver-plated or silver-washed.
The assortment of andirons and fire dogs offered by Chapel Hill, N.C., Embellish Antiques could probably make an entire feature article on their own. Proprietor Akin Kolawole previously operated his shop on Boston’s Charles Street before moving south. His shop focuses on midcentury items, with an emphasis on fireplace accoutrements and lighting. A number of garden accessories were also offered, including a graduated assortment of English brass watering cans.
Based in Harrison Township, Mich., American Eagle Antiques should have put up a hitching post outside their booth with the rich variety of equestrian items that the dealer offered. The most subtle and rare was an Irish solid mahogany dropleaf dining table with unusual horse hoof feet. Suitable brass accoutrements included a table lamp with an English traditional style riding hat or helmet as the shade. A brass desk set, which appeared to be by the same unmarked maker, included all manner of equestrian equipment, such as riding crops and feed and water buckets, all topped with a beagle cap.
Hometown dealer The Lamp Shoppe offered much more than lamps, and even owner Stephen Cobb’s lamps included collectibles. Notable was a pair of matching vintage world globes converted into table lamps. A life-size marble statue of a maiden gazing into the distance drew much attention.
Barometer Fair, Sarasota, Fla., has been a regular exhibitor at the Cathedral. John Forster presents scientific instruments in addition to his primary focus on barometers. While most are older, wood-cased models, there also were pocket units and Twentieth Century nostalgia units. Entirely unrelated to Barometer Fair’s world of scientific instruments was a selection of vintage corkscrews, or cork pullers. No gentleman would have been caught without one – perhaps a stag horn handled “quick pull” with nickel caps or rosewood handle with a dusting brush.
Antiques show attendees expect to find a dealer with maps, various graphic images and illustrations, but Josephine McDonough presented a few jaw-dropping flyers and posters from early notable Atlanta neighborhood real estate developers. Never seen before, they commanded strong tag prices. McDonough Fine Art also offered a number of very early Georgia and Atlanta maps and illustrations.
Almost every antiques show or sale has an Oriental rug dealer. Lexington, K.Y., based Dana Kelly has found a way to draw in browsers that are not looking for rugs and at the same time has found a use for rugs that are damaged beyond repair and decorative use. Dana has repurposed salvageable portions of collectible rugs into mats to be placed under cat or dog bowls. Cat head- or dog bone-shaped, they may be the newest pet style trend. The Cathedral Show included two other rug dealers who expanded their inventory by including antique furniture or other accessories.
Like the Oriental rug dealer, there is always at least one vintage linen dealer. A very animated and knowledgeable Lois Lamb has brought Vintage Linens by Lois, North Charleston, S.C., to the Cathedral show for more than ten years. Many of her items sell, especially christening gowns, bridal veils and formal napkin sets.
Atlanta seen from the air appears to be a vast green forest with glass towers growing towards the sky. Gardening and landscape are an essential activity, and a wide variety of vintage and antique garden accessories are also seen at this show. In fact, the show also includes a homes tour and flower festival, which actively involves a number of garden clubs in competition.
Barley Twist Antiques brought two garden statuary pieces from their home base in La Porte, Ind. A finely detailed concrete garden eagle seemed to be taking off from a sphere and nearby a carved concrete mother otter lay resting with her kit. Both came from Brighton, England, and date from the early 1900s.
Barley also offered lacquered papier-mâché items, including two oriental scene pen boxes. The mâché craft dates back to Georgian England around 1710 and developed as a very labor intensive small and cottage industry by Victorian times. Many of the most collectible examples emulate the oriental lacquer boxes.
Atlanta’s Boxwoods Garden presented both domestic and imported vintage garden planters and focal items. Among these were lighting, planters and even a clock. More formal vintage planters in brass were shown by Thomas M. Fortner Antiques, Memphis, Tenn.
In addition to the dealers described, there also were both vintage silver and jewelry dealers in the show.
As the Cathedral Show approaches its half century mark housed in an inspirational structure, both the invited dealers and local collectors look forward to the 2020 edition scheduled for January 23-25, with an opening reception on January 22. For more information, www.cathedralantiques.org or 404-365-1107.
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