Up here, seemingly at the top of Vermont, the color-dappled wooded hillsides stretch out forever †but there is that distraction caused by the trove of antique gems set out inside a ski lodge each fall by an intrepid group of dealers who are more like a family than a loose affiliation of merchants.
The Bromley Mountain Antiques Show celebrated 30 years of togetherness with a two-day event on October 6 and 7. The fourth of five antiques shows conducted in Vermont during the Columbus Day Weekend presented just 30 country dealers featuring antiques in a country setting inside the ski resort’s base lodge. Managed by Jim and Elizabeth Dunn, well-known in their own right on the antiques show circuit as the owners of Bittersweet Antiques, the show was active from 8 am on Saturday, as early buyers trooped in for a catered preview, right up until its close on Sunday afternoon.
“It was a great show,” said Elizabeth Dunn. “One of our dealers made a sale at five minutes to 4 on Sunday. That’s when Jim Muldur [Liberty Hill Antiques, Reading, Vt.] sold his second workbench. In fact, there were many who said their shows were made on Sunday. Attendance was up quite a bit, although I cannot say whether that’s due to Columbus Day weekend. We were thrilled when one of our dealers said it was their best Bromley show ever.”
Dunn’s proud-parentlike comment is evidence of the managers’ emphasis on presenting a show that is not only well balanced in quality and price points of merchandise, but also strives to keep exhibitor turnover low. “It’s important that we present not only a cross section of levels, but also for us to bring in dealers who are a good fit,” said Dunn.
“Bromley was one of the best shows for us during several years of antiques weeks in Vermont,” said Karen Olson, who, with husband Daniel, has been buying and selling American antiques for 36 years. Two notable sales for the Newburgh, N.Y., couple included a Connecticut Eighteenth Century cherry Chippendale slant front desk and an Eighteenth Century Mohawk Valley, N.Y., door-over-door wall cupboard in original red. Among small items sold were seven baskets, highlighted by a large Taconic gathering basket and a three-tiered wall hanging loom basket. “We also sold all of the decorated stoneware that we brought to the show,” said Karen Olson.
“Bromley is such a wonderful show,” enthused Bev Norwood, Norwoods’ Spirit of America, Timonium, Md., “The setting is lovely, our fellow dealers are superb and the buyers are always enthusiastic. When it comes to show promoters, Jim and Elizabeth Dunn are incredible. The Dunns do all that they can, and more, to make Bromley the ‘gem’ that it is.”
Norwood said she and her husband, Doug, did well during the Saturday morning rush and were delighted with their sales on Sunday as well. “We sold a marvelous early Vermont sampler with fine composition, strong provenance and in crisp condition,” said Norwood. She added that the sampler, wrought by Sally Kimball of Cabot, Vt., will stay in the Green Mountain state. “Vermonters in the know seek fine documented folk art and schoolgirl works from the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century,” she said.
“We also parted with a striking circa 1830 theorem on paper and another fine theorem on velvet, a trio of portrait miniatures of young females, six painted smalls, two diminutive wallpapered boxes known as ‘minikins’ and an enchanting still life on canvas.”
Show veterans John and Nancy Stahura of Mill Brook Antiques, Reading, Vt., made quick work of selling a simple Vermont cupboard, circa 1800s, in the opening hour of the show. In early original paint, the cupboard had just recently come out of a house in Windsor, Vt., according to Nancy Stahura. Other booth highlights included a Philadelphia hat box lined with an 1839 newspaper and decorated with imagery of buildings and flowers, and a rare carved red knot or robin snipe, circa 1850‷5, from Long Island attributed to the Henry Birch school.
Mary and Bob Fraser, who sold the Bromley show to the Dunns several years ago, also reported an excellent outing, selling a mix of furniture and smalls. “Once again, we sold a very special sampler, an ancestry register from the Dickey family of Maine,” said Mary Fraser. Three knife trays offered by the Taftsville, Vt., dealers are heading off to the state of Washington, each purchased by a different collector traveling among a group visiting Vermont on this weekend. “It was the domino effect,” said Fraser. “Each knife tray was different and reflected the personality of the collector.”
Greenwich, N.J., dealers Bob Lutz and Ellen Katona said, “The Bromley Show was quite successful for us. We sold nearly all of our furniture and many good smalls. Our furniture sales were a corner cupboard, bench, dressing table, wall shelf, another wall shelf, rope bed.”
Shaker and Mission specialist Richard Vandall of American Decorative Arts, Canaan, N.H., offered a Limbert oval table, circa 1910′0, a pair of Courtland arm chairs from about the same period and an unmarked Gustav Stickley low footstool #302. Also featured in the space were 32 Stevengraphs, woven silk pictorial art, offered by Wayne Adams, including a rare “The First Over” example. Adams added that anyone wishing to learn more about Stevengraphs and other woven Victorian silk can contact him via email, email@example.com.
“What a glorious weekend!” said Ted and Carole Hayward, a Keene, N.H., couple who sell as The Yankee Smuggler. “We hoped and expected to sell well as we continued to ‘downsize’ and reduce inventory since we moved to a condo. We did very well and want to thank management for their efforts from beginning to end. There are no other show promoters who take care of their dealers like Elizabeth and Jim Dunn. We sold several pieces of furniture, early lighting and special painted smalls to longtime customers.”
Tiley’s Antiques of East Middlebury, Vt., sold a salmon Philadelphia chest, circa 1830, early on Saturday. On display was a fireplace mantel out of Pennsylvania or New Jersey, circa 1840, with an unusual beehive decoration in front and a Vermont wing chair with restored feet from the same period. Nearby, Michael and Linda Tate wrote up a slip for a set of ten architectural windows from a New England house. The Sanbornton, N.H., dealers were also showing an Eighteenth Century New England blanket chest in old Spanish brown paint and a whimsical leather footstool in the form of a pig by Abercrombie & Fitch from the late Nineteenth Century.
The Bromley Mountain “family” will reunite again next year. For information, 802-885-3705 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.