BOSTON, MASS. – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston presented the annual Decorative Arts & Antiques show March 1 to 4 at the Castle at Park Plaza. Over 600 guests attended the benefit preview, which featured a Moroccan theme. Throughout the weekend, another 1,500 people visited the show.
The strengths of this show are numerous. Timed toward the end of the annual pilgrimage to warmer climates, Boston’s antiquarians and decorators rely on this show as a staple in the field. Managed by N. Prendergast Jones, it is diverse in content, offering antique books and prints, fine art, antiquities, American and European furniture, silver, smalls, and porcelain. Perhaps the only area that could be further represented is Asian furniture. The show is also supported by a strong board of trustees headed by Myra Hiatt Kraft, who is herself a collector of early Roman glass. The committees planned an extensive lecture series and a special booth paying tribute to the children in the BGCB programs.
“This event has always been an exciting showcase for beautiful antiques and decorative arts, attracting an impressive crowd of supporters who appreciate fine things, as well as Boston’s young people,” said Linda Whitlock, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. “This year’s show marked the first time our young club members had a direct presence through their clever and imaginative artwork, which made the event more relevant and meaningful than ever before.” The show raised about $150,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
Twenty-five of the 48 well known dealers are from the greater Boston area, and that is a tribute to the show’s strength. Not only do these dealers want to stick around in the thick of winter, knowing that they will enjoy consistent patronage, but out of town dealers are anxious to join them. Coming from Marbledale, Conn., Ile de France, for example, expects lots of traffic at this show, because loyal Bostonians come in to visit their neighborhood dealers. That is not to say that the show only attracts Boston buyers. Annette Wilson of Euro Exports noted that decorators flew all the way from California for the show.
Americana, while not the focus of the show, is nonetheless strongly represented by several dealers. Peg and Judd Gregory of Dorset, Vt., brought a circa 1740-70 Massachusetts Queen Anne lowboy; a circa 1790 Connecticut Chippendale chest-on-chest; and a circa 1840 Pennsylvania paint-decorated blanket chest with ball feet. Commanding attention was a large late Seventeenth Century portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire, after van Dyck. The circa 1660 carved frame was after an original at Chatsworth, England.
An early sale at Hawk’s Nest Antique Decoys was a circa 1760 New England three-over-two-drawer blanket chest in original paint. Hailing from the Peter Brams collection recently auctioned at Skinner were Nineteenth Century American carved oak nude figures. Also available was a rare double form theorem from a Charlotte, Vt., estate.
Don Abarbanel of Ashley Falls, Mass., showed a circa 1765 mahogany tea table with one-board dish top, pineapple baluster stem, and carved acanthus knees with ball-and-claw feet, around which he placed a set of six circa 1860 northern European oak side chairs. A more local piece was a circa 1790-1800 North Shore mahogany card table with inlaid panels.
Spotted Horse Antiques of Windsor, Vt., arranged an eclectic display, including a late Eighteenth Century Chinese needlework on silk, Stickley furniture, and a painting of the Blue Ridge Mountains by David Heath (born 1950).
Early in the show, K.C. Clark sold three pieces of furniture, and reported good feedback throughout the show. He exhibited a circa 1780 English mahogany drop leaf dining table, a circa 1790 Georgian mahogany slant front bureau, a circa 1700 mahogany linen press, and a circa 1780 Georgian oak slant front bureau.
French kitchen and wine antiques are the specialty of Ile de France, Marblehead, Conn., who has exhibited at the Boston Show for four years. A highlight was a 1910 French seed cabinet with 66 drawers.
A first-time Boston show exhibitor, Peter Verheyen brought an interesting circa 1810 French wine cooler in the form of a sarcophagus, and a circa 1820-30 English mahogany chiffonier with satinwood cross banding and two bottle drawers. American furniture included an Eighteenth Century painted pewter cupboard, probably from New Jersey. The Maynard, Mass., dealer remarked that, since the close of the show, the interest has continued, and calls the show “good advertising.” One of his best sales was a mid-Nineteenth Century English mahogany partners desk with drop leaf extension and green leather tooled top.
Circa – Prescott-Meiselman of Natick brought a wide selection of bronze and enameled frames, but also had several pieces of Seventeenth Century oak furniture, including a refectory table and a coffer.
Centering the booth at Cunha-St John of Boston and Nantucket was a circa 1820 English Regency rent table with leather top and a pair of circa 1850 British colonial pier tables from India. Other furniture included a circa 1830 English mahogany chest with rich ebony trim, and a set of Nineteenth Century Dutch colonial armchairs, with pierced vase-form back splats and cabriole legs. A circa 1915 oil painting by Phillip Little (1887-1942), titled “Pine Grove,” was also on view. Appropriately, Little studied at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Another Boston dealer, Sharon Jorgensen, exhibited a Nineteenth Century Italian refectory table, a circa 1850 English Scaglola table, a still life by Willem Kalf (circa 1650-60), and a circa 1700 Emilian walnut table.
At William Nickerson Antiques of Orleans, Mass., furniture on view included a circa 1790 Connecticut cherry slant front desk, a circa 1800 Hepplewhite dressing table with a Rockingham milk pan, and a circa 1740-60 Massachusetts Queen Anne curly maple flattop highboy.
From Southport, Conn., Runk Douglas Antiques showed an oil on canvas depicting a pair of English spaniels by George Armfield (English, 1840-1875), a circa 1850 Scottish long case mahogany clock, and an oil on canvas by Ambrose Louis Garnery (French 1783-1857) depicting “Sir John Duckworth’s Action off to Santo Domingo, 6th. Feb. 1806.” Preview night sales included a mid-Nineteenth Century cylindrical stick barometer, a circa 1890 English satinwood occasional table, and a small painting by William Rickarby Miller (American, 1818-1893) entitled “Strawberries.”
M.D. Schedlbauer brought a circa 1840 New England Empire secretary, a circa 1815 American Sheraton bow front chest, and a hand carved walnut humidor decorated with putti. Artwork included an oil landscape of Mount Chicora, New Hampshire, by William Paskell.
Packed full with interesting sporting antiques, The Country Squire of Boston brought a circa 1860 flamed mahogany chest, a circa 1880 gilt tole horse head, and also many sets of books including a 15-volume set of works by William Harrison Ainsworth published by George Routledge, London. A highlight among the smalls was a 23-piece carved and painted White Forest hunt set, from the 1920s. The result of the carver using light wood and broad strokes was an appealing impressionist quality. The dealers, who have seen sets like this in the past, have never seen one quite this large.
Gallagher-Christopher, who has a shop on Charles Street, also exhibits widely in the show circuit. A real treat this time around was the new look, embracing Art Deco and Art Moderne. They were showing a pair of mid-Twentieth Century French glass block and nickel plated skyscraper-form lamps, a circa 1940s Danish Art Moderne molded glass framed mirror by Orrefors, and a Danish Art Deco burled birch wood pedestal based games table. Dealer Chris Mizeski said the new look was attracting both new and regular customers, and that in the near future the shop will devote a room to Twentieth Century works.
Biedemeier was the focus of Euro Exports of Boston, and it was selling quickly. An early sale was an Austrian Empire ebonized dropfront commode. Artwork complemented the tones of the Biedermeier pieces, and included an oil on canvas by Eugene Damoye (1847-1924) titled “Meadow on the Edge of the Woods” and “Shepherd with Sheep at Sunset,” an oil on panel by Charles Emile Jacque (1813-1894).
The show, while strong in furniture, also presents several fine arts dealers who are well received. Having exhibited exclusively at this show for eight years, Mark Brock welcomes regular clients to view his selection of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century works, but generated new clientele. This year, he brought an oil on canvas work by Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837-1908), “Grand Manan Island,” after 1885, that sold for $240,000 to a new client. Another stunning work was an 1881 charcoal on paper portrait of Arthur Blake by Lilian Westcott Hale (1881-1963).
Brown Corbin Fine Art of Lincoln, Mass., exhibited a stunning work by Charles Temple Dix (1838-1873) titled “Morning at Gibraltar,” which measured 14 by 243/8 inches.
Three silver dealers rounded out the show. Anderson Gallery of Keene, N.H., displayed a circa 1891 Gorham sterling demitasse service and a lovely circa 1870 Gorham Repousse silverplate tureen and tray. Spencer Marks of East Walpole, Mass., showed two important tea and coffee services, one the Tucker family five-pieces set by Andrew Ellicott Warner of Baltimore, circa 1840, and the other a rare Tiffany sterling six-piece set by Edward C. Moore, circa 1870-75, in its original Union Square mahogany box. Robert Lloyd of Albertson, N.Y., displayed cases of early American silver.