Published: November 15, 2011
Danielson, billed as “Connecticut’s Quiet Corner,” was looking forward to having that “quiet” get a lot louder on Saturday, October 29, when Country Antiques made its 21st appearance. “That did not happen,” Jan Praytor, manager of the antiques show said, “as we drew about half of our regular attendance because of the promised winter storm for that day.” And that storm did come, as all of us in New England are trying to forget.
For years, the show has been in the cafeteria and gym of the H.H. Ellis Technical High School on Upper Maple Street, but this year it moved into the school’s former aircraft hangar, allowing all of the exhibitors to be in one place.
All but one of the 62 dealers made it to the show, and those who attended found country antiques alive and well. There was no shortage of large and small wooden bowls, many with paint, treen plates, pantry boxes, redware and stoneware, hog scraper candlesticks, racks and shelves, quilts and furniture that ran the gamut from small candlestands to large pie safes and cupboards. And there was no lack of seating, either, with styles offered ranging from bowback and thumb back Windsors to Queen Anne, slat back and banister back side chairs.
Just inside the entrance to the show, Doug Ramsay, DBR Antiques of Hadley, Mass., set up, offering a couple of sheet metal weathervanes, including a sailing ship with well-rusted surface and a running horse mounted on an arrow, an early wood box in old blue paint and an oil on canvas showing Niagara Falls, complete with a small boat nearing the base of the falls.
West Branch Antiques, Delhi, N.Y., had a pair of Hepplewhite tables that were made to fit together, original paint with scrubbed top and pinned construction; the tables dated circa 1840.
One of the Pennsylvania dealers in the show, Ayscough Antiques of Chadds Ford, had a pine and birch New England worktable, one-board top with breadboard ends, and old wash finish on the base. A basket of flowers was depicted on a hooked rug with an “S” design border, brown the dominating color.
Delores Delia and Jim Lawrence, Little Compton, R.I., showed a hooked “Welcome” rug lettered on a colorful and busy ground, and a village scene with a row of four houses in winter, complete with a one-horse sleigh in the foreground. Baskets were a strong point in the booth of Linsey-Woolsey Antiques, Noank, Conn., with a collection of about ten, mostly with some sort of paint decoration. Salmon and black decoration appeared on one, another had salmon and yellow paint, while a third, New England origin, was potato stamped.
A New England one-door-over-one-cupboard, red painted surface, circa 1840, was in the booth of H&L Antiques, Princeton, N.J. Another New England piece was a slant-lid three-drawer blanket chest, circa 1860. An Eclipse mill weight in fine condition was offered by Richard Fuller, South Royalton, Vt., along with a long grain box in old blue paint.
In addition to his usual stock of picture frames, John Gould, Yorktown Heights, N.Y., had a wall shelf with four shelves over two rows of five small drawers. A fancy turned barber pole with the original red, white and blue decoration had a gold ball on either end.
A “sold” sign was attached to the portrait of a man with a red drape in the background, the subject wearing a green-blue jacket with white lace collar and cuffs, in the booth of David Proctor of Brookfield, N.H. The late Eighteenth Century portrait started life in Massachusetts, later came from a collection in Ohio, and now is going to a home in Wethersfield, Conn. At the front of this booth was an early Nineteenth Century sawbuck table with yellow painted base and two-board scrubbed top.
Wenham Cross of Topsfield, Mass., was doing well, with early sales including a country desk in green paint with black trim, lift top and a painted wall shelf with two drawers across the bottom. The Cat Lady Antiques, Bangor, Penn., had a Christmas tree trimmed with special ornaments, little stockings and Santa-form decorations, and a corner of the booth was crowded with stuffed animals, including bears, horses and dogs.
Among the New Jersey exhibitors was Country Antiques Two of Mullica Hill, offering a star pattern quilt from Oley, Penn., and another star quilt depicting a small red star in the center, surrounded by ever-increasing-in-size stars. A tiger maple pie safe had four-tulip design punched tin panels. Suzanne Gray Antiques, Woodbury, Conn., offered two large stacks of painted pantry boxes, and a selection of tin candle molds. An Eighteenth Century dough box with tombstone ends was shown by Woodview Antiques, Norwell, Mass., along with a Nineteenth Century jelly cupboard with cupid’s bow cutout ends, five shelves, scraped down to the original red paint.
A circa 1680 English chest of drawers, paneled drawer fronts with drop pulls, William and Mary, was shown by Ferguson & D’Arruda, Providence, R.I. A large, untouched worktable had one drawer, and a pie cupboard in old gray-green finish had one large screen covering the front door.
Among the many cupboards offered at the show were two in the booth of Stephen C. Burkhardt and Claudia Collins, Felton, Penn. A pine example, from Lancaster County, Penn., had one door, salmon paint and cutout base, while a second one dated from the early Nineteenth Century, New England origin, a canning cupboard in green-gray paint. An early straw bee skep was decorated with a “sold”‘ sign.
One of the most interesting pieces on the floor was a good-sized wood mantel in the booth of Field & Stream, Mansfield, Conn. It was very elaborate, with many turned parts, and came from the Cheney mansion in Manchester, Conn. Rumor has it that imported labor was responsible for the detailed woodwork on the mantel, which was commissioned by a family in the business of silk manufacturing. At the front of the booth was an early cast iron hitching post in the form of a wood stump.
“As far as we can tell at this time, the March show will be on the 31st, but that is subject to change based on the school’s schedule,” Jan Praytor said. She also stressed that Country Antiques is strictly a volunteer effort that benefits the school. “We raise money to aid scholarships, senior activities and funds to send some of our kids to competitions in the state and across the country,” she said.
The exhibition booths are all made by the students, electrified by them, and the students serve as porters for the show. Volunteers staff the lunch room and prepare the refreshments, custodians give of their time, and others work on name tags and the show program. “It runs like clockwork most of the time, everyone pitches in, and even with the storm this time we did all right,” Jan said. She added, “We hope the people who planned on coming this year but did not because of the snow, will join us again in March.”
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