Published: April 24, 2012
The annual Bedford Spring Antiques Show, April 14 and 15 at the Rippowam-Cisqua School, changed its stripes for 2012. No, there were the usual tastefully assembled displays by about 30 antiques dealers, some new and some veterans of the show.
The theme and décor, however, were given over to the Modernistic sensibility of black on white, portrayed emblematically on the show’s program by a classic chair form rendered in zebra stripes and reinforced with black and white photography of zebras in their natural settings lining the hallway at the show’s entrance. All to support the message that antiques shows, following the law of natural selection, are evolving into less merchandise marts and more showcases of how to decorate with antiques in new ways.
Show manager Kathy Abbott and the enthusiastic volunteers of St Matthews Church, for which the event is the major annual fundraiser, had everything at the ready as residents from Bedford and beyond stepped through the doors to be handed a flute full of bubbling champagne at the preview party on April 13. Among them was Bedford’s most famous resident, national tastemaker Martha Stewart.
Dealers, too, were at the ready with pleasing displays of antiques, fine and decorative arts. And if the weekend’s attendance seemed a bit less than they had hoped for, as several commented afterward, the popular spring show could not be faulted for stinting on quality and variety.
For Cliff Leonard, veteran exhibitor here and owner of South Salem, N.Y.-based, C.M. Leonard Antiques, the main interest in his booth was an Aldo Tura backgammon table and chairs, which he sold. He noted, too, a great deal of interest in Black Forest bears and a terracotta owl. “The collection of Eighteenth Century English and Dutch delft also commanded a lot of attention,” he said. “The show was the best looking one yet. It is not a typical weekend school or church show, but a group of top dealers. The weather was just too nice and the traffic was slow.” He reported two sales after the show had ended and some follow-up emails from patrons, “so it is getting better each day,” he concluded.
First-time exhibitor David Neligan, an Essex, Mass., dealer with a classically oriented inventory, said he did fairly well, noting, “I sold an English chest on chest and an oak coffer, as well as a set of candlesticks and a painting.”
Linda Roberts of White Orchid Antiques, Media, Penn., showcased an elegant 1950s Antonia Pineda sterling silver and amethyst necklace and earrings, a classical Modernist design. Marked “Taxco 970,” the design featured convex silver arches and open backed amethyst tear drop pendants. She and her husband, Howard, also had a fun piece of furniture that got a lot of attention. Called a “veritable bar” and formerly property of the elegant Prince de Galles hotel in Paris, built in 1928 in Art Deco style, the piece was a clamshell portable bar on wheels that could be rolled into the guestroom.
The dealers said they had acquired the unique piece of French hotel history from a collector who had delighted in furnishing his home with items that had either been used as movie props or came with other celebrity provenance. One could only imagine which VIPs had once stood on the guest-side of the bar. Concurring that the attendance for the show was off, Linda Roberts said that the couple’s sales were primarily jewelry. “The bar generated a lot of interest, but it is still available,” she said.
The Robertses did not have a lock on interesting “furniture.” Susan and Hubert van Asch van Wyck, who own Black Swan Antiques of Washington Depot, Conn., and sell mainly English and European furniture and accessories, were exhibiting a great French Nineteenth Century miniature greenhouse on wheels, designed with glass-paned top panels that lifted for ventilation. The idea was to get one’s seedlings started, wheel them outdoors for sunlight during the day and wheel the cart back when the sun went down, explained the dealers.
When Martha Stewart came by the booth, conversation momentarily paused and the observation was posed, “Isn’t that neat?” “I already have one of those,” quipped Stewart, who one easily imagined had one of everything displayed at the show. “Where did you get it?” Stewart was asked. “Oh, at one of these fine antiques shows,” she replied. It was noted that the gentleman who accompanied her came back to the booth after she left and asked the dealer for the cart’s price.
For additional information, www.stmatthewsbedford.org or 914-234-9636.
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