Published: March 19, 2007
A stately and elegant affair, the Chester County Antiques Show embodies all the maturity one would expect from a show celebrating its 25th anniversary. Aimed at seasoned collectors with discerning wallets, yet enticing young collectors, the show has hit upon a winning formula and looks to have many more good years ahead.
A benefit for the Chester County Historical Society, the show performed solidly March 2‴ at the QVC Studio Park, enhanced with a variety of special events. Friday’s early buying preview and party was abuzz with energy as visitors mingled in cocktail attire, noshing on a variety of appetizers and scoping out the booths, where red tags began to appear as the evening wore on. Saturday’s Young Collectors event, planned by the chic and efficient Angela Hudson of Sotheby’s, attracted a crowd of 100 enthusiasts.
Show manager Wesley Sessa said the gate was up and early estimates put the weekend’s tally at more than 2,000.
“We had a very nice attendance, including 600-plus people at the preview party&⁉ think it was a positive show,” he said, noting that with the tumultuous events on the stock market days before, buyers could have been reticent but, “People did seem to buy what they wanted to buy.”
Show veteran Pottles & Pannikins, Windsor, Conn., had many good sales, including a fireplace surround with two door panels, several choice pieces of ironware and some lighting.
“For me it went very well, we sold a number of pieces that made the difference,” Marvin Eliot said after the show. “Overall it was a very good show; we usually do well there.”
A pair of lighting sconces dating to the Eighteenth Century was in the firm’s booth for the first time as they had been recently acquired. Round sconces are more commonly seen, so this pair was highly desirable in its rare oval form.
Proving that be-backers really do come back sometimes, Eliot said one of the firm’s regular customers looked at the sconces carefully Saturday and Sunday and then around 4 pm Sunday, called him on his cellphone at the show to ask if he still had them. He did and she bought them.
Being a Pennsylvania-based show, it seemed only fitting that Pennsylvania furniture would take center stage and, indeed, excellent examples could be found in booths throughout the show with many finding new homes that weekend.
Gary Ludlow Antiques, Lyndhurst, Ohio, showed a Hepplewhite walnut chest of eastern Pennsylvania origin, circa 1790‱810, for $5,950. Patricia Clegg Antiques of East Berlin, Penn., had on view a paint decorated jelly cupboard, Berks County, Penn., circa 1860, at $4,100. Newsom & Berdan Antiques, Thomasville, Penn., and Hallowell, Maine, featured a two-piece cherry inlaid corner cupboard with broken arch top and carved rosettes, circa 1820″0s, for $22,500.
Clegg’s booth was an eclectic mix with several fine game boards attractively displayed on the walls set among fine furniture. A gouache on woven paper of a Virginia turkey cock, early Nineteenth Century, and some needlework samplers attracted attention.
Decoys also took up roosting spots on several wall shelves in her booth, including a bluebill drake in original paint by Henry Grant, Barnegat Bay, N.J.; a yellowlegs by Rhodes Truex, Atlantic City, N.J.; and a black bellied plover by a member of the Verity family, Seaford, Long Island, circa 1900. Several of the decoys came from the collection of Dr Jack Conover.
Ludlow had several Hepplewhite pieces in his booth besides the chest, including a mahogany card table and a cherry card table. A Chippendale maple and birch chest from New England, 1770‱779, was displayed along with a bentwood bride’s box.
Short Hills, N.J.-based SAJE Americana’s specialty is Federal period furniture and accessories, and plenty of fine examples were on hand at the show, ensuring that buyers need not go home empty-handed.
The dealers sold a fine set of brass andirons, standing 26 inches tall, with willow and urn engraving, and a set of six tiger maple side chairs, circa 1840, with carving on the splat and carved ears on the top, said Alice Shapiro. Other sales included many smalls, two good mirrors and a tiger maple one-drawer stand.
Stephen Shapiro praised the show’s hardworking volunteer committee and said the classical music playing during the show was a nice touch. “Any antiques show should have Vivaldi,” he said.
Of the buyers, he quipped, “The people are interested, they’re interesting, they ask good questions&†it was a wonderful show, one of the shows we love doing.”
Van Tassel Baumann American Antiques, Malvern, Penn., offered a large inventory of needlework and early Pennsylvania furniture. Needlework sales dominated the weekend but there was strong interest in an unusually narrow Pennsylvania chest on frame by Isaac Thomas, who was better known for his tall case clocks.
Douglas Constant, Inc, Orient, Long Island, N.Y., may specialize in furniture but it tallied sales in almost every other category besides furniture. The dealer sold a large marine painting, a Pennsylvania musket with a curly maple stock, brass, many ceramics and two small oil paintings.
Edward J. Rayeur Antiques, Bethlehem, Penn., said the show was a great success in its third year as an exhibitor. Rayeur said he sold several pieces of country and formal furniture as well as decorative antiques and is already looking forward to the 2008 show.
Metalware dealer Michael J. Whitman Antiques of Fort Washington, Penn., sold a healthy mix of copper and brass, including a large fish kettle, a set of copper pots, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century brass candlesticks, copper tea kettles and other items.
Washington Square Gallery, Philadelphia, had an enviable position near the door from which the dealers observed “a steady stream of customers enter empty handed and leave with packages. Some of them were ours!”
The firm sold many botanical prints this year, perhaps due in part to its new book, The Art of The Garden, Collecting Antique Botanical Prints, being for sale in the booth also. Philadelphia-related historical prints and maps continued to be popular.
T.L. Dwyer Antiques, Barto, Penn., had ten sales, including a painted hutch, a decorated blanket chest and a New England writing arm Windsor chair.
William R. and Teresa F. Kurau, Lampeter, Penn., sold historical china, prints, glass and even a fine coverlet with an Eagle & Shield border design.
Antiques At Half Crown Farm, Pottstown, Penn., wrote a dozen or so receipts from items priced in the low hundreds to a Pennsylvania walnut chest on frame for $8,000. A Philadelphia drop leaf mahogany table also was among the key sales.
Offering an early taste of spring weather to come, The Thompson Studio, Berwyn, Penn., showed a variety of garden antiques, including Chinese stone seats introducing as part of its collection. Jane McClafferty, New Canaan, Conn., showcased the antique American furniture and English ceramics and brassware she is known for. She sold a primitive hutch table, accessories for more formal settings, and some early ceramics to a collector.
Holly Peters Oriental Rugs and Home, Chadds Ford, Penn., displays high-end merchandise, which often does not sell during the show but weeks after, as buyers need time to consider and see a carpet in their own house before committing. During the show, the company sold a samplerlike pictorial carpet, very fine weave, depicting a natural landscape. The Nineteenth Century piece measured about 12 by 18 inches and was in pristine condition.
Pennsylvania Art Conservatory was new to the show and pleased with the attendance by knowledgeable collectors, as well as the attention visitors paid to the firm’s offerings of both traditional and Impressionist paintings. Several premiere pieces sold, as did paintings in every size, period and style.
Joseph J. Lodge, Lederach, Penn., wrote receipts for a fine bull weathervane and a Caucasian Eagle Kazak rug, as well as a painted Windsor chair, several pieces of Pennsylvania tinware, decorated redware, a painted apothecary, a primitive watercolor and early brass candlesticks. Buyers came from all over, mostly up and down the Eastern seaboard, but one who left with a smile †and a purchase †hailed from Michigan.
The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, Timonium, Md., was quite pleased with its results at the show. Sales included four samplers, two theorems, three folk art paintings, five wallpapered bandboxes, four paint decorated smalls, an early child’s chair, three portrait miniatures and two pairs of silhouettes.
In planning for the show, Bev and Doug Norwood tucked away four Chester County samplers; three wrought by sisters from West Whiteland and one by a young girl from Newlin Township. “It is gratifying to note that the samplers will remain in the area since the works of the ‘the sisters’ as well as the young girl were purchased by Chester County residents,” Bev Norwood said.
For information, www.chestercohistorical.org or 610-692-4800.
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