Published: October 19, 2010
There were times during the breakfast preview for the Bromley Mountain Antiques Show when merchandise going out the door of the ski area’s base lodge was creating a traffic jam for eager hopefuls trying to latch onto some of it. “Beep-beep,” warned Gordon L. Wyckoff of Raccoon Creek as he (walking backwards) and partner George Allen maneuvered a country piece through the crowd. To Jim Dunn, who with his wife, Elizabeth, took over the management of this show a decade ago, the mob scene was a “nice problem to have.”
The popular show, now in its 33rd year, wears its all-country aesthetic as a badge of honor †and on this bright, crisp morning on October 2, with the soggy weather of the previous two days quickly fading from memory, the melee of shoppers colliding with great antiques validated the category.
The Bromley Mountain Antiques Show sprawls and winds throughout the ski lodge with about 30 dealers. An early preview breakfast at 8 am †dealers get breakfast, too, upstairs an hour earlier †lays out hearty fare and coffee for show attendees. There is no “map” of exhibitors, but that does not hinder most shoppers who with muscle memory elbow their way to their favorite dealer when the doors open.
Much of the feeding frenzy centered around a booth shared by Stephen Cirillo (Paisley Pineapple Antiques, Abington, Conn.) and Dave Proctor, Brookfield, N.H., who were scribbling sales slips as fast as they could between answering questions. Just minutes after the crowd steamed inside they had sold a candlestand, a document box, a hanging cupboard, a rush seated chair and a candle box. On offer were a circa 1830‵0 hanging wall shelf with scrolled sides and two-board back in early surface, a circa 1770‹0 lowboy on a highboy base that had been found in a Connecticut barn and a circa 1850 New York School painting titled “In the Park.” Also getting notice was a rare set of three-arm candle sconces from the Nineteenth Century in a unique triangular form, a large wooden bowl in black paint and an early Nineteenth Century corner cupboard.
Ellen Katona and Bob Lutz of Greenwich, N.J., themselves antiques show promoters, set up a homey tableau centered around a three-quarter size bedstead from Pennsylvania, circa 1820, which sold early. A glazed door corner cupboard from Pennsylvania or New York, circa 1800, that had been scraped to original painted surface, a nice ruddy salmon. A mortised bench in original blue paint was from Pennsylvania and dated circa 1850.
Adjacent to this display, Robin Fernsell and Carol Brown had set up under the aegis of Dog & Pony Show a mini exhibition of horse and dog portraits, such as a Nineteenth Century English School painting of “Two Grooms and a Racehorse” and George Armfield’s (1817‱896) portrait of a terrier and spaniel in a stable interior. The Walpole, N.H., dealers was also selling horse print pillows for $50 each and horse brasses for $5 each.
Ted and Carole Hayward of Yankee Smuggler, Keene, N.H., had many desirable smalls, including a miniature Federal mantel of small chamber size, its old green and yellow paint perfect for decorating or creating vignettes such as one populated by Father Christmas, a sleigh with Santa and a girl bundled in white and holly. There was also a nice miniature firkin in original blue paint.
Next to the Haywards, Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., showed a Grenfell mat out of a Middlebury, Vt., collection depicting an Eskimo in the foreground and another figure and a dog sled team in the background. A Nineteenth Century unpainted Punch doorstop from an English collection, a wassail bowl of lignum vitae, circa 1660s, and a silver tea set out of a Washington, D.C., collection were additional booth highlights.
New Paltz, N.Y., dealer Pam Regan, Nutting House Antiques, had an early dapple hobby horse in blue gray paint sitting on a hooked geometric table rug, which in turn covered a foldable sawbuck table. “Old Nig,” a folky hooked rug depicting a horse, dated to 1881 and featured chenille shirring. It had come from the James Crawford Farm, Malcolm County, Mich., was professionally mounted and measured 31 by 48 inches. The dealer also showed an exuberant and fanciful abstract floral folk art hooked rug from the turn of the century that was also professionally mounted and measured 63 by 37 inches.
It was all work and no play in the booth of Kenneth Reid Antiques, Andover, N.H., whose collection is dominated by early machines that made life a little easier for farmers. A homemade corn sheller, circa 1870, and a Nineteenth Century leather stretching tool were some examples. One of the most unusual items Reid brought to the show were a couple of burlap sacks filled with sugar cones. The sacks had been found at a New York auction many years ago and the cones, still wrapped in blue paper, were from an inventory of a country store that closed in 1948.
A staple of the Bromley show †in fact, they are its progenitors †are Mary and Bob Fraser from Chester, Vt. An Eighteenth Century sawbuck table with original red base, an early elliptical chopping bowl on a splayed leg base filled with papier mache Easter eggs from the turn of the century were some of the highlights here, along with a covered tub with rosehead nails and buttonhole lap, a lapped well bucket with grooved handle and warm brown patina and a froggy-back sculpture, great for any garden. “It’s just a wonderful size,” said Mary, referring to a mammy rocker in early paint. Over it was draped Great Grandmother Emery’s basket quilt, circa 1870s.
Hunting and fishing were on Jean Tudhope’s mind as she selected items for this show. Her business, Back Door Antiques, East Middlebury, Vt., assembled bookshelves stuffed with books on hunting and fishing, with such titles as Pheasant Hunting, Duck Shooting, Ruffled Grouse and Small Game and Varmint Rifles. Three ice tip-ups in the form of fishing boys, six duck decoys, including a hen goldeneye by Doug Field, a Vermont carver, 1980, a wonderful folk art painted bowl and a neat child’s sled with decorated bellyboard were on view.
The Tates Antiques, Sanbornton, N.H., is the business of Mike and Linda Tate. They captured the feeling of fall in Vermont perfectly with a corner dry sink, artfully filled with ripe apples, but more importantly showing off its all original red paint surface. The early Nineteenth Century piece from New York or Pennsylvania was quickly purchased.
Mission and Shaker furniture enthusiasts know where to find Richard Vandall, American Decorative Arts, Canaan, N.H. †along the “runway” from the two main areas on the lodge’s first level. He had two Mission pieces, a settee and a chair, as well as a couple of Mount Lebanon rockers, one a shawl back and the other in red fabric, He even had a pair of Shaker earmuffs displayed in a museum-like frame. Early sales at preview for Vandall included a large jardinière, a chair, six birds and an Arts and Crafts blanket.
For information, 802-885-3705 or email antiques@Vermont.net.
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