Published: August 3, 2010
For the fourth year, Nan Gurley filled her large tents with antiques dealers on July 11 at the Castle in the Clouds estate overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. In addition to the big multidealer tents, there were a number of individual tents surrounding the big tops, all filled with the kinds of Americana for which Gurley’s shows are known.
Based in Maine, Gurley cultivates dealers with the kind of useful objects that were found as everyday household tools, furniture and accessories in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century homes in New England.
The room-setting booth of Ideal Antiques, New Market, N.H., in one of the big top tents featured a set of Shaker ladder back chairs that were set up around a primitive painted Hepplewhite table with a scrubbed pine top.
Also offered here were a large pine hutch with shoe feet, a braided rug and Eighteenth Century English earthenware dishes, blue feather edge, with some coin silver utensils, along with a carved wooden bowl. In the background was a painted chest of drawers, more braided rugs and small furniture.
Except for the dishes, most of the pieces were from New England, offered with reasonable prices, and are what customers have come to expect at a Nan Gurley show.
Jane and Ed Carr, Gorham, Maine, have been exhibiting at shows since the 1960s with country style, in fresh finishes and good accessories compatible with Americana and country. Their centerpiece was an early drop leaf table in native woods offered with plank seated, painted pine chairs. Accessories included several early hooked rugs, an elevated dough box in pine, a cottage pine chest of drawers and a schooner model, fully rigged, about a foot long.
Gurley selects dealers for the variety and quality that their collections offer her shows. For example, Robert Foley, Gray, Maine, was offering an oil on canvas of an early Nineteenth Century sailing ship in a large folio size, while David White, a dealer from North Yarmouth, Maine, also trades in nautical things. He had several early pond boats, as well as a couple of Hamplemans, dolls with hinged joints so that when pulled by a string, they appear to dance.
Natalie Werner collects all kinds of small things that appeal to her: dishes, dolls, tools and more. From Springfield, Mass., she was also showing some stoneware and woodenware, including a few firkins believed to be Shaker.
Probably the furthest traveled for this show was The Country Gentlemen, Ann Arbor, Mich. Partners Steven Stout and Robert Strauss featured early furniture found near their home base, but also in New England, as they shop in the Northeast as often as they can. Surrounding their hutch table was an early banister back chair in old green paint, a small blanket box in early red milk paint and a workstand.
Bjorn Borssen had a very different collection from his show here last year. His inventory then included a well-made chest-on-chest, while this year the focal point was a Nineteenth Century ship’s model. From Rochester, N.H., he was also offering fine smalls from America and England.
More variety was offered at Benting & Jarvis, Barrington, N.H., with its collection of very early antiques and some late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century decorator items. Mercury glass globes and candleholders, carved birds and old bone-handled flatware service pieces were mixed in with early frames, furniture and some earthenware.
Oriental rugs in good quantity were available from Tina and Bob Mortimer, Falmouth, Maine. English smalls and some from early American makers, including tea caddies, brass articles such as Eighteenth Century candleholders and even an early range finding compass, were displayed by Nancy Cummings, Swanzey Center, N.H.
A very early drop leaf table, probably 1750, was being shown by Candlewick Antiques, Milford, N.H. Dealer John Anderson noted the maker’s signature, Amos Eaton of New Ipswich, N.H., on the underside.
Nan Gurley and her husband Peter Mavris were exhibiting as well, with their affinity for early painted New England furniture apparent. Their exhibit included a grain painted Sheraton-era chest of drawers, several painted chairs in various styles, a grain painted table and smaller painted accessories.
Look for Nan and many of the dealers at her upcoming shows, which include Deerfield, N.H., on August 10; Short and Sweet at Frank Jones Center, Portsmouth, N.H., August 18; and a Canterbury, N.H., show September 26 at the old Shaker Museum. For details, www.nangurley.com or 207-625-3577.
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