Published: June 14, 2011
Under the new management of Peter Chillingworth, the Brandywine River Museum Antiques Show carried on a four-decade-long tradition of offering fine antiques during the Memorial Day weekend. Longtime show manager Bob Armacost, who passed away earlier this year and had run this show for more than 20 years, was memorialized in a tribute in the show’s catalog this year.
The show, which opened with a preview May 27 and ran May 28″0, looked the same as ever: an elegant, stately affair befitting its location. Rich in Americana and fine furniture, with a healthy inventory of Pennsylvania pieces to choose from, the show offered many pleasing things for consideration among a nice variety of tastes.
Fine furniture was aptly showcased at Heller-Washam Antiques, Portland, Maine, which offered a fine Chippendale walnut drop leaf table either from Norwich, Conn., or the Salem, Mass., area, circa 1765, with a pleasing scrolled apron, and a quintessential Massachusetts form in a Chippendale walnut wing chair from Boston/Charlestown, circa 1775.
Among English furniture, a James I overmantel, 1624, was a standout in the booth of Fiske & Freeman, Ipswich, Mass. Exhibiting superior craftsmanship, the piece featured elaborate carving on its remaining two panels (there were originally three), with carved scrolls ending in mythical beasts, fine figures and two caryatids.
The dealers also offered a two-part press cupboard, English, West Country, circa 1680, with musical carving with flowers inside the roundels and retaining its original bottom and back. Various Nineteenth Century Dutch Delft covered vases profusely decorated with flowers and scrolls were displayed on the cupboard and other pieces.
Proving that bigger is not necessarily better, a nice chip carved spoon rack, circa 1775, was a rare find and eye candy in booth of Mark and Marjorie Allen, New Hampton, N.H. The small piece, probably originating in Pennsylvania, measured but 151/8 inches tall.
The dealers also showed a step back cupboard, circa 1790, Center County, Penn., on delicately flared French feet with two doors over six lights on the top and the base having three drawers over two doors.
Keeping watch over his master’s booth, a very realistic reclining spaniel in cast zinc was set up at Joseph J. Lodge, Lederach, Penn. Probably Fiske or Mott, the circa 1885 spaniel even had a brass collar. A fine horse and sulky vane with oversized wheels in original condition, circa 1885, was also a standout here. A highlight among flat art was a fine and unusually large landscape by Fern I. Coppedge titled “Winter Shadows.”
Harold Cole Antiques and Bettina Krainin Antiques, Woodbury, Conn., sharing a booth, offered a pleasing mix of Americana, highlighted by a Windsor armchair whose seat was painted in a hooked rug motif.
Priscilla Boyd Angelos, Fort Washington, Penn., featured a Regency envelope card table in a mahogany and mahogany veneer, English, circa 1810‴0, in a rare form with four folding leaves above tapered legs and looking to retain its original brasses and casters. A Chippendale gentleman’s chest in mixed woods of Pennsylvania origin, circa 1775‸0, with fluted quarter columns, also was a standout.
A terrific chrome yellow painted tall clock, New England, possibly Maine, circa 1810′0, with wooden works was a gem at Ed Weissman Antiquarian. The 82-inch clock was not originally painted, retaining a mahogany finish, but the chrome paint probably is circa 1870.
Fine paintings Weissman showed included a still life with books, candlestick and a snuffer by Claude (Claudine) Raquet Hirst and a small oil on board, “Footbridge,” by Albert Bierstadt, while a Hoshiarpur ivory inlaid keepsake cabinet, early Nineteenth Century, Northern India, was also prominently displayed.
Roger D. Winter, Solebury, Penn., always has nice furniture pieces, and this year was no exception, with several fine tables in his booth. Highlights were a rare octagonal lady’s work table in mahogany with an inlaid top and front on turned legs, a demilune console table in mahogany with tambour doors and a fine French farm table in cherry with breadboard ends and two drawers above square tapered legs.
Also showcasing fine furniture was Brill’s Antiques, Newport News, Va., with a three-part mahogany banquet table, late Chippendale to early Hepplewhite period, English, circa 1775‸0, and R.M. Worth Antiques, Chadds Ford, Penn., which offered a mahogany Federal Sheraton two-part secretary desk with two glazed doors over a drawer opening to contrasting maple drawers and open compartments. Worth also offered a rare and unusual Federal eglomise mirror from New England, circa 1820,with arched top and a painted scene of the kind of designs popular on Chinese Export porcelain of the period.
Plenty of other choice items other than case furniture were on hand for eagle-eyed buyers, such as in the booth of Tucker Frey, Woodbury, Conn., which showed a carved eagle from coastal New England mid-Nineteenth Century and a painting of a ship, The James T. Morse , by William P. Stubbs.
The Hanebergs Antiques, East Lyme, Conn., featured a brace back continuous arm Windsor chair branded “E. Tracy” in old yellow paint, circa 1800, along with a pilot house eagle with fine carving, Artistic Carving Company, Boston, circa 1950.
As always an eclectic but perfectly complementary booth was offered at The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, Timonium, Md., which showed a dovetailed candle box with paint decorated tulip on lid and cartouches on sides; a finely detailed Nineteenth Century needlework of a church with towering steeple white picket fence, birds overhead, from a longtime Pennsylvania collection, and a sheet iron Nineteenth Century weathervane of a rooster on a blacksmith-made stand; a similar example is illustrated in Iron at Winterthur .
While full-sized furniture was abundant, a few dealers showcased smaller pieces made for children, such as Davis O’Reilly, Northport, Ala., which featured a rare child’s lounge, circa 1895, probably Heywood Wakefield, and Hanes & Ruskin, Old Lyme, Conn., who displayed a child’s camelback sofa, 36 inches wide, that was found in an early home in Rutland, Vt., and probably originated in that area, circa 1840.
In a booth full of gleaming and fine metalware at Michael Whitman, Fort Washington, Penn., stood a sublime and rare pair of cast and engraved French/German candlesticks, circa 1580, 12½ inches tall.
In keeping with the “unofficial” start of summer, Aileen Minor, Centreville, Md., featured a pair of rustic pattern cast iron chairs, Nineteenth Century, with naturalistic design of entwined oak branches and leaves with snakes on end supports, which is rare to find in chairs. Also seen here was a zodiac cast iron tilt top garden table, 29 inches tall, with astrological symbols on the open work around the top. This item was referred to as a conservatory in iron foundry catalogs in the Nineteenth Century.
The show will return next Memorial Day weekend, as always.
For more information, 610-388-8318 or www.brandywinemuseum.org .
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