Published: October 21, 2003
In Westchester County, Hurricane Isabel left in her wake a weekend of spectacular early autumn weather, just in time for the Caramoor Fall Antiques Show, which previewed Friday, September 19, and continued through Sunday, September 21.
Set within Caramoor’s Venetian Theatre and adjacent tent, the annual affair brought together 44 well-known dealers to benefit the Caramoor Garden Guild and its restoration projects. Cara-moor, listed on both the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places, is the former estate of Lucie and Walter Rosen that is now home to an international music festival. The house museum, open to the public since 1970, features 20 rooms displaying the Rosens’ collections. Among the gardens are a Spanish courtyard, a sunken garden, a butterfly garden and a tapestry hedge.
This year the show was chaired by Elaine Altman of the Garden Guild, and was managed once again by Susie McMillan, specialist in charity antiques shows. The show journal featured exhibit-related articles, such as “Taking Care of Garden Antiques,” by Tracey Young; “Determining Value” by David Lindquist; and “The Allure of the Antique Box,” “Passion for Posters” and “Antiques of the Sea,” by Jennifer Leavitt-Wipf.
Caramoor features strong furniture dealers, as well as a wide representation from specialist dealers in ceramics, silver, paintings, works on paper, copper and brass, and Oriental carpets.
Olivier Fleury of Malvern, Penn., brought a wide selection of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century French case pieces, including a beautifully carved circa 1760-80 provençal walnut wedding armoire and a circa 1820-30 walnut Louis Philippe commode topped with gray marble. Hanging above a 1740-60 chestnut buffet was an oil landscape by Henri Mouren (1844-1925).
Also bringing French furniture was Caramoor regular Xavier Bachelier of Ile de France, Marbledale, Conn. Bachelier is known for unique French period kitchen furniture and pantry objects, such as a butcher table marked “Dassonville Jules Constructeur,” a mid-Nineteenth Century painted buffet and a monumental two-piece French cherry buffet from the Loire Valley.
Frederick Di Maio of East Dennis Antiques, East Dennis, Mass., and New York City, was enjoying his first Caramoor appearance, while also showing at Wilton the same weekend. For Caramoor, the dealer packed a circa 1870 Renaissance revival cheval mirror in solid figured maple, as well as a contemporaneous figured maple library table, also in the popular late Nineteenth Century Renaissance revival style. Dating from the same decade was a mahogany nightstand with marble top, so finely crafted that the rear side featured the same quality of paneling as the other three sides.
Another featured piece at East Dennis was an 1880-95 mahogany desk with inlaid mother-of-pearl, brass, pewter and copper in stylized foliate and floral forms. Di Maio explained that Frederick Vanderbilt’s New York office was furnished with mahogany furniture with mother-of-pearl inlay. Although Di Maio’s desk is unattributed, both Herts and Herter Brothers used mother-of-pearl inlay in mahogany case pieces.
Quimper pottery was well represented by Fermette Antiques of Downers Grove, Ill. The dealers specialize in Porquier Beau Quimper, which they describe as “the finest pieces…painted as if on canvas.” Not only are these pieces visually impressive, but they are also the most rare form of Quimper that can be bought, as it is very difficult to locate. Two notable pieces that were featured included a circa 1880 wall clock and a mounted mirror of the same date.
Victorian majolica specialist Linda Ketterling of Toledo, Ohio, brought her usual stunning display of examples ranging from jardinières to plates and inkwells. This year, Ketterling featured a rare George Jones inkwell with Maltese finial, as well as an Adams & Bromley fish plate and a wall of other sea life-decorated wares.
Tracey Young and Dennis Kaylor of The Elemental Garden brought a monumental wrought iron gazebo from Wimbledon, England, that dated to 1890. Another rare garden ornament was an elaborately curved wirework garden bench from the mid-Nineteenth Century.
Garden-related furniture was also prominent at Brennan-Mouilleseaux of Rochester, N.Y. The dealers featured a circa 1930 faux-bois mailbox, as well as cast-iron furniture. Notable among that category was a cast-iron urn with griffin base (marked “Kramer Bros.”) and a set of four Edwardian cast-iron armchairs with classical swag and lyre ornamentation.
A circa 1895 French birdcage of wood and wire took up one whole wall at Linda and Howard Stein of Solebury, Penn. The dealers also brought a circa 1900 Heywood Brothers library table of wicker and quarter-sawn oak, as well as a pair of circa 1880 American steel Windsor chairs.
From Chapel Hill, N.C., Whitehall at the Villa was present with a George III mahogany and mahogany veneer bookcase that measured 95 inches high, as well as a French 1840 (Restoration) burl walnut marble-top commode. Hanging nearby was an 18- by 3-inch painting by Septimus Edwin Scott (1879-1936) titled “Work Horses in the Stream.” The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1903.
John Peden was watching over Dawn Hill Antiques while his wife Paulette was at the Armory show in New York. Painted Swedish furniture is a specialty of the New Preston, Conn., dealers, and the notable pieces on view at Caramoor included a late Eighteenth Century tea table in old green paint; a mid-Nineteenth Century cream-painted long-case clock from Mora, Sweden; a circa 1750 rococo table with red and blue paint, as well as a rococo side chair from circa 1760-80. At the center of the display was an Irish country “coop” dresser in green paint, dated to circa 1850 and housing a grand display of pink and green transfer ware.
Two antique jewelry dealers were new to this year’s show. Gloria Karp of Riverdale, N.Y.. and Lisa Stockhammer of Houston shared a booth, and each brought a distinctive collection of important jewelry. Among the cases was a 1729 English memorial ring of black enamel on gold. The ring depicted a miniature skull and was intended to be a reminder of death. So rare is this genre, Stockhammer reports that she only can find one example per year. Other English jewelry included a “Charles I” ring, a loyalist token of his reign after the king’s execution.
Also featured at Caramoor were works by American artist Oscar Daniel Soellner (1890-1952), who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and painted landscapes near his hometown Chicago. According to the dealers, “Soellner…was a great master of light and shadow. His poetic landscapes emphasize the abstract forms found in nature.”
Rose Court Asian Antiques of Chappaqua, N.Y., is a regular exhibitor at Caramoor, and this year dealer Karen Schlansky brought several Han dynasty male standing soldiers, dating to 206 BC-220 AD. Animal forms included a gray painted pottery horse (also Han dynasty). Bronze vessels were also on display; these included an archaic tripod ding (or ritual vessel) from the Warring States Period (403-221 BC) and two examples of the bronze hu (another ritual vessel). One dated to the Warring States Period, while the other dated to the Spring and Autumn Period (771-475 BC). Later pieces included Ming dynasty musician figures decorated with sancai glaze, circa 1368-1644.
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