Published: April 13, 2004
Fine American and English antiques, silver and porcelain ruled the day at the eighth annual Antiques in Alexandria show over the weekend of March 4-7. Eighteenth Century French pieces added an international flair to this prestigous show, as did Russian icons and Orientalia seen in other displays.
Sixty dealers occupied the Flippin Fieldhouse of the beautiful Episcopal High School; the booths were strategically arranged for easy navigating. The booths descended fashionably from the entrance to the ground floor of the enormous building where three rows of interior booths resulted in an intimate central courtyard where the “Decorating With Antiques” exhibition and various fundraising events took place.
The dealers came to historic Old Town Alexandria from Maine to Florida and as far west as California. Many of the big names were there, including W. Graham Arader III of Philadelphia, with his “Fish Hawk/Osprey” aquatint engraving with original color from the Audubon Birds of America 1827-1838 series ($95,000). Woodbury, Conn., dealer Wayne Pratt was showing off his usual sumptuous array of fine chests on chests and bonnet-top highboys. Kyser Hollingsworth of Washington, D.C,, featured a rare George III satinwood cylinder secretary, resplendent with geometric and floral inlay that once was in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Mich. This showstopper was priced at $125,000.
There were a few booths featuring breathtaking pieces of silver; Rick Scott of San Francisco had an eclectic display of antique boxes of all shapes, materials, origins and sizes. John Forester of Sarasota, Fla., trading as the Barometer Fair, had nothing but barometers while across the way Time and Strike of McLean, Va., featured several clocks that were merrily chiming on the hour. The graceful, moving swan located in the arch of a Nineteenth Century English longcase clock was attracting attention at Time and Strike. Priced at $15,750, it was signed by John Elliott Ashford.
The circuit began with Janice E. Strauss American Antiques of South Salem, N.Y. She created a room setting with a 1750 Massachusetts one-drawer pine blanket chest. Above it hung a colorful crib quilt in the wild goose chase pattern. Next door, Spencer Marks of East Walpole, Mass., offered a sparkling, rare quartet of matching ornamented English sterling candlesticks.
Busch and Fielding traveled from St Joseph, Mo., to show off a Biedermaier mahogany and oak commode with inset columns, made in Berlin in the early 1800s and priced at $7,500.
The rugs at Lawrence Forlano of Franconia, N.H. were described as being “antique, semiantique” with a 9- by 11-foot Serapi, circa 1870, priced at $32,000.
Sandra Mitchell of Winston-Salem, N.C., calls her business Ancient Frills. “I specialize in fine linens and textiles,” she said; a stunning bed crown with covers hanging from it was French fin de siècle, priced at $1,550.
Alfred Bullard, Inc, from Philadelphia’s Antique Row on Pine Street said that he features “Eighteenth Century English furniture of the best kind and quality.” His round French dining table accented with gilding on its massive legs sold the second day of the show. A highlight was the three-tiered set of Brighton Pavillion hanging corner shelves in the Chinese manner, gleaming with both gilding and red japanning. Bullard was asking $9,500 for this piece.
Francis J. Purcell from Philadelphia’s Society Hill took time out to survey the scene on Saturday afternoon, saying, “This year I have an eclectic mix of American, English, French and Russian objects. There is a Baltimore painted table by the Brothers Findlay and a fireplace mantel attributed to Robert James Adam. I love doing this show; there are so many wonderful, knowledgeable people from Washington and Virginia who always come here.”
Mary Helen McCoy traveled from Mountain Brook, Ala., to display a presentation of fine French furniture. Among the highlights was a French transitional Louis XVI marble-top table with robust carvings topped with a pair of lamps and a pair of cassoulettes made from bronze and marble.
The array of icons at Treasures of Imperial Russia, of Newport Beach, Calif., added to the diversity of the show. Two outstanding Seventeenth Century objects were the Virgin of Korsun at $6,500 and the Archangel Michael for $4,500.
Antiques in Alexandria speaks for itself after several years of carefully honing dealers and the cultivation of an appropriate clientele to appreciate the quality of the beautiful objects presented.
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