The 22nd annual Bedford Spring Antiques Show, a popular fundraiser for St Matthew’s Church, was conducted at the Rippowam Cisqua School on March 31 and April 1, featuring 30 exhibitors offering antiques and vintage treasures in categories such as fine art, silver, American and Continental furniture, porcelain and decorative arts.
A gala preview party drew a large, enthusiastic crowd on March 30, with young confirmands from the congregation passing out fun finger food while adult volunteers made sure champagne and wine glasses stayed full. Show chair Missy Renwick and show manager Michael Jackson again directed the energetic efforts of parish volunteers who put on an elegant affair that was very well attended. Show patrons Sam Tatnall and Chuck Windsor, both Bedford, N.Y., residents, conferred during the preview, with Tatnall stating, “The vendors brought more quality merchandise to this show than I’ve seen in ten years.
South Salem, N.Y., dealer C.M. Leonard, who was showing an eclectic mix of items at the front of the show’s larger gymnasium like a pair of French cast iron snake urns and contemporary photography by Robert Mapplethorpe, commented that one of the nicest innovations at this year’s show was the larger booth spaces and higher walls, which enhanced the dealer displays.
“Bedford Decorates” was again the theme of this year’s show; however, a change in schedule resulted in a no-show by scheduled celebrity guest Martha Stewart and the book signing that had been set for Saturday.
Helen and Hamilton Meserve, Newagen, Maine, dealers who are known in the trade as Running Battle Antiques, were the beneficiaries of Stewart’s absence †as they were able to take over the extra booth space that had been slated for Stewart’s book signing to display their merchandise. As a result, they were able to showcase some of their trademark marine art in a setting separate from their main booth, with its focus on furniture. In the “annex” was a China Trade late Nineteenth Century painting of the bark May Queen, an oil on canvas in a period frame measuring 17 by 23 inches, and one by China Trade artist Pun Woo (active 1860‱890) of the Governor Robie, which had come from the Searsport, Maine, estate of the ship’s captain, Amos Nichols. The oil on canvas in a period gilded frame measured 24 by 34 inches.
Contacted after the show, Helen Meserve said, “We were happy to be back in Bedford, where we have many customers and friends. The preview party was well-attended, and we even sold an unusual pair of tall wooden Chinese candlesticks that night. Saturday was quiet, probably due to the great weather and the fact that public schools in the area were on vacation. But Sunday picked up, and there was a real surge after church. We sold a lovely collection of rare English pearlware †ten pieces †to a couple who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. It was a fun sale, as the husband surprised his wife with what she had picked out on Saturday.”
“We have a different and strong display,” stated Fred DiMaio of East Dennis Antiques, who with co-owner Tom Buto made good on that promise with at least three important selections on offer by the East Dennis, Mass., dealer at the show. One was a parlor set, circa 1850, by one of New York’s most important furniture makers, Alexander Roux (1813‱886). Crafted in a rare Victorian sub-style called Elizabethan revival, the five pieces comprised a settee, two arm chairs and two side chairs, each piece hand carved with hunting scenes and re-covered in a fabric similar to what would have been used in the era. Second was a rare set of 12 †eight were shown †bentwood dining chairs by Thonet, circa 1900 that were labeled and branded “Thonet” on the bottom.
A further gem in the booth was a mahogany and mahogany veneer on pine card table, circa 1830, attributed to Anthony Quervelle. DiMaio pointed out that the 30-by-40-by-20-inch table compared identically to an example pictured in a September 1964 article in The Magazine Antiques.
“Our most interesting sale was the set of 12 labeled Thonet side chairs,” said DiMaio after the show. “They sold at the preview party to a couple who was looking for exactly that, a set of 12 bentwood chairs. This is quite a happy coincidence. There was much attention paid to the chairs by other showgoers and dealers alike, so I guess that they were well appreciated.
“We also sold a very fine sterling silver cream pitcher, two etched glass finger bowls, a doorstop in the form of a French bulldog †we’ve had lots of doorstops, but never this particular design before †and an assortment of prints.”
American flag specialist Jeff Bridgman, new to the show last year and returning with “a fantastic flag I just found,” reported excellent results. “I had a very good show,” said Bridgman of Dillsburg, Penn. “I sold six flags, a running horse weathervane of unusually large size and quality, and five political kerchiefs. I will definitely return to next year’s event.” His most recent find was a Civil War period flag, circa 1861‶3, with 34 stars arrayed in an unusual form of a medallion double wreath with three stars at each corner. Entirely hand sewn, the flag had been mounted behind UV glass with a supporting background.
Returning newcomers from 2006, James Gallagher and Ruth Zager specialize in antiques for the hearth and home. In addition top their usual wealth of fireplace equipment, the dealers were showing a New England hall tree of rosewood and walnut, circa 1830, which featured a lidded trinket box and a shell-shaped cast iron shelf for umbrellas. Early in the show there were sold stickers on fireplace equipment and sets of tools and andirons.
Silver dealer Spencer Marks, East Walpole, Mass., returned with a gleaming booth of antique silver. In a showcase the dealer presented the Bowers/Taft family Aesthetic Movement sterling silver and mixed metal tête-à-tête tea service by Whiting, circa 1887. The three-piece setting was textured and delicate, and graceful, too, was a gravy boat and monogrammed ladle by Peter Smed, New York, 1934.
“The Bedford show went quite well for us,” said Mark Gordon. “We sold wonderful silver, including a set of four English Georgian candlesticks by the important silversmith Andrew Fogelberg and a Danish modern coffee and tea service by Georg Jensen in the Cosmos pattern with a water pitcher en suite. We also sold claret jugs, wine coasters and fine pieces of flatware. There was interest in all types of silver from the Eighteenth through Twentieth Centuries.”
Fine art dealer Fletcher/Copenhaver of Fredericksburg, Va., was still decompressing from a very successful Charleston International Antiques Show where co-owners Joel Fletcher and John Copenhaver did well with works by Charleston artist Margaret May Dashiel and Zoum Walter, an artist associated with the Bloomsbury group. Of three Walter works left from their original inventory of seven, one was prominently on view in the center of their booth.
Also featured was a new collection of paintings by Helene Riviere, a Twentieth Century French artist from Toulouse, who at a young age was drawn to depicting animals †nesting hens was a favorite subject †and won the Rosa Bonheur prize in 1938 for her talent as an animalier.
“Our most notable sales were a drawing by Andre Derain and a terrific watercolor of a circus scene by Roger Bertin, which we were showing for the first time,” said Fletcher.
Present with their usual cozy display of English country furniture, folk art and samplers were Judy and Ben Watson, King-Thomasson, Asheville, N.C. “We had a good show,” said Judy King Watson. “We sold a japanned chest of drawers, a plate rack and several interesting smalls.”
One of two estate jewelry dealers at the show, Brad Reh of Southampton, N.Y., came with a dazzling assortment, including an emerald ring of 2.5 carats with an untreated natural stone and a Nineteenth Century emerald bracelet of 18K gold and silver.
Biuk Fardin, owner of Fardin’s Antique Rugs, Fairfield, Conn., centered her selection of Oriental rugs around a Sultanabad rug, circa 1880, made in Persia with a Varamin design of interlocking florals and measuring 11 by 15 feet.
For information, visit www.stmatthewsbedford.org or call 914-234-9636.