Published: October 22, 2019
Review and Photos by Greg Smith
LUDLOW, VT. – Opening up third in the lineup of Vermont Antiques Week shows with a Friday night preview into a one-day Saturday event, the Black River Antique Show is the no-frills buffet that visitors cannot get enough of. Spread out between the main gymnasium and an attached room at the Ludlow Community Center, this show is shopped by dealers and astute collectors who know that gems are apt to turn up at this 30-dealer show. Sure enough, many of the folks first in line at the opening were dealers looking to get their hands on the goods.
When asked what makes this show special, show manager Steve Sherhag noted the show’s longevity among its special traits. “I think it’s the length of time that the show has been going on, around 35 years now,” he said. He also pointed to the discovery aspect of this show. “A lot of those dealers don’t do but a couple of shows every year, and it has that feeling that you never know what’s going to turn up. There are a lot of shows where things don’t go under the radar.”
Another tradition to the show is the food, provided by the volunteers of an area Church who run the ticket sales and the bake sale portion.
From Pittsford, Vt., dealer John Bourne Antiques came with a number of decoys, including shore birds, a crow and a Lake Champlain black duck dated to 1925. Bourne also featured a store-front automaton in working order featuring a pig standing on its hind legs on grass.
Pennsylvania fraktur was on exhibit with Diane Farr. Included in her booth was a songbook bookplate by schoolmaster and fraktur artist Andreas Kolb (1749-1811) from February, 1786. It was made for Magdalena Schwerdle of Franconia Township, Montgomery County. The example was illustrated in Mary Jane Lederach Hershey’s 2003 book This Teaching I Present. Also included in the dealer’s booth was a nice selection of mocha, including a pint mocha mug, circa 1810-20, with dendritic decoration and with provenance to Jonathan Rickard, who wrote Mocha and Related Dipped Wares: 1770-1939.
Dealership Village Antiques from Syracuse, N.Y., came with a collection of toys. These included Halloween toys from Germany as well as a large collection of antique dolls and accessories of all shapes and sizes. The booth featured a number of folk-made dollhouses spilling over with miniature furniture. More dolls with spare clothing sets and even more furniture was laid out across the tables.
For those looking for country primitive style, a large winnower converted to a coffee table was sitting in the booth of Sandmark Antiques, Bethel, Vt. The dealer also had a paint-decorated dated 1823 domed top trunk with original hand forged handles and hardware.
A Remmey stoneware cake crock with floral cobalt decoration was found with John and Eileen Smart Antiques, Rutland, Vt. It was accompanied by painted dough bowls, a Vermont paint-decorated chest and an unusual sailor’s gambling box from the Nineteenth Century. The box featured an old crusty surface with a painted nautical star compass on top and a combination of standard five-pointed stars and six-pointed stars resembling the Star of David decorated on the side panels.
It was a first time at the show for Emily Brandenberg, Staunton, Va., who featured a number of American baskets in her display, including examples found in Hamilton, Ohio; Kentucky; New Hampshire; and South Carolina. Above them was a nice sponge-painted box, about a foot square and 5 inches high, that the dealer found in New Hampshire.
Lewes, Del., dealer Matt Greig was on hand with a selection of glass bottles. Among them was a dated 1809 English seal bottle. Others pieces in the dealer’s booth included a shorebird decoy, stoneware, folk art primitives, painted gameboards and a paint-decorated spiral wall-mounted barber pole.
American salt-glazed and cobalt-decorated stoneware was on tap with Montpelier, Vt., dealer George B. Johnson. Among them was a Brown & Bros, Huntington, Long Island, one-handle jug with a cobalt design to the front; a Christian Link, Stonetown, Berks County, Penn., small crock; and an Edwin H. Merrill, Akron, Ohio, covered two-handled jar.
Among the country primitives, dolls, theorems, redware, toys and other accessories in her booth, Thetford Center, Vt., dealer Susan Gault featured a folk art framed work titled “The Nutt Family Dinner Party.” Old lacework was laid down as a table cover for the meal where six diners and two waiters, including P. Cann Nutt, the Hon. And Madame E. Wall Nutt, Eva Almond Nutt and Auntie P. Nutt, among others, sat for dinner. Everyone was in formal attire with each respective member of the Nutt family featuring that nut for their head with drawn faces.
Sherhag, who has run this show now for two years, feels it is on the up and up. “We changed it last year and we changed it more this year and I like the way it’s headed. I think the quality has gone up and a lot of antiques come out of there.”
For additional information, www.vermontantiquesweek.com.
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