Published: July 10, 2001
The Lake Forest Academy Antiques Show Celebrates 40 Years
By Susan and Al Bagdade
LAKE FOREST, ILL. – At the 40th Annual Lake Forest Academy Antiques Show held June 8 to 10, an English theme dominated the surrounding events. Each year the antiques show benefits the school’s scholarship fund. At an English style brunch on opening morning, nationally known interior designer Alessandra Branca spoke on “Antiques and Classic Interiors (With a Twist).” She also provided tips on decorating with antiques gathered from the show’s exhibitors.
Later that day, “Fashion and Fine Antiques in the Garden” was a benefit for the preservation of the Jens Jensen Garden at the Academy. The formal Italian Renaissance gardens were designed by noted landscape architect Jens Jensen in the early 1900s. Saturday’s black-tie gala in the garden “From Pimlico to Piccadilly” featured a private antique showing, dinner, and auctions with auctioneer Sara Lidsey from Christie’s.
On Sunday, Christie’s presented Jennifer Pitman speaking on “The Silver Collections of the Duchess of St Albans: The Rising Fortunes of Harriet Mellon.” Claire Cook of Casella Interiors also gave a pre-opening show tour.
The Academy’s campus on the grounds of the former J. Ogden Armour estate in Lake Forest provide a show in itself. One of the grandest estates in the Midwest, it was built in 1908 by the son of meat-packing pioneer Philip Danforth Armour and is included on the National Register of Historic Places. The show’s 38 antiques dealers set up their exhibits in the former home of the Armour family. This year’s show featured only one new dealer, Asiantiques from Winter Park, Fla. with furniture and decorative arts from Japan, China, and Korea.
No discussion of the Lake Forest Academy Antiques Show, now in its 40th year would be complete without mentioning Elinor Gordon of Villanova, Pa., a world authority on Chinese Export porcelain.
Elinor has been at every single antiques show and has quite a following in Lake Forest. Her collectors come specifically to see her each and every year. Elinor related, “the show surpassed my expectations.” She is now working with a number of young people, in addition to buying back Chinese Export from some of her original buyers. In addition to shows, Elinor is also doing lectures and consulting work.
Donald Stuart from nearby Winnetka reported a very solid opening where he sold a Biedermeier chair and a Staffordshire figure. Later a handsome child’s chair went into the “sold” column. In addition to English and American furniture, Stuart featured canary lustre, Chinese Export porcelains, and interesting mirrors and screens.
From Northampton, N.H., George Spiecker of Fine Americana always has a terrific outing at Lake Forest. Sales started early with a New York Pembroke inlaid table, a huge Bellamy eagle weathervane, other tables, leather books, and accessories. A new look for George was his circa 1815 English sideboard with a boldly carved backsplash over rectangular top with carved pedestals below elaborate interior drawer for bottles and silver tagged $38,000.
Weiss Antiques Gallery from Birmingham, Mich., was moved to a more spacious location this year. It was really beneficial since his beautiful Steuben glass examples in a wide variety of colors really showed well. David has developed quite a following among Steuben collectors. Additionally, he showed Chinese furniture and Tibetan storage trunks.
American Spirit Antiques from Shawnee Mission, Kan., sold a banner weathervane along with some smalls to start off the selling. He also featured his signature redware, spatterware, leather books, paintings, and American furniture.
Now in their 18th year at Lake Forest, Charlecote from Kansas City, Mo., had great sales. By Saturday they had sold a bench, a Georgian bookcase, a cellarette, silver, a tall arch chest, and a pair of library chairs.
Country House Antiques from Lake Forest was selling a lot of naïve blue and white delft tiles. Showing the “English fascination with things mechanical” was a rare mahogany mechanical desk/work station that cranked up and down, dated circa 800, and was tagged $24,500. A wonderful Paris-made lyre-guitar that dated circa 1810 was $3,850, while American wire work benches dating circa 1880 were $4,500 each.
This year Gwynby Antiques from Cleveland, Ohio was pleased to sell a set of chairs, a handsome chest, and a pair of French signed pewter candlesticks that were going to be made into lamps.
Eleanor Wilkins has been a “regular” at Lake Forest for many years, and she always brings some unusual high quality examples. This year we noted a great set of six circa 1830-40 English Lancashire wavy ladder back chairs with rush seats in oak and ash tagged $8,500. A rare French early Nineteenth Century oak map table stenciled underneath “Capt. H.H. Wolf New London, Conn.” was $3,500, while a circa 1850 classic pine plantation desk with turned legs and original glass was priced $5,850.
This year’s show started with a bang for Brickwood Antiques from Gloverville, N.Y. Early in the show they had sold a lot of Imari, three King Charles paintings, Staffordshire figures, and delft. They pointed out an interesting collection of rare lavender Staffordshire cottages that they had sold years ago and had now reacquired them.
Trace Mayer Antiques from Louisville, Ky., had an eclectic look this year to his exhibit. There was a wonderful American folk art polychromed statue of a jockey dating circa 1870-80 wearing a cap and dressed in racing attire and holding a steel ring while raised on a plinth. It was originally made for the Canfield Racetrack Casino at Saratoga Springs, N.Y. In the shape of a giant cleaver was a Nineteenth Century English provincial polychromed butcher’s sign tagged $1,850. Additionally, there were Imari porcelain urns, lots of boxes, and brass candlesticks.
Elva Needles Antiques from Kansas City, Mo. was having “a great show.” Sales occurred in every category including silver, lamps, two rugs, historical transferware, at least eight paintings, pressed glass, a maple desk, and a Hepplewhite tip top candlestand.
The exhibit of The Country Squire from Boston, Mass. is always filled with fascinating objects. At this year’s show, smalls were selling across the board on Friday. A wonderful carousel figure of a lion dating circa late Nineteenth Century jumping through a hoop was tagged $11,000. Dating circa 1880 was a rare salesman’s sample of an English brass half-tester bed tagged $6,500. A horse lover would be in seventh heaven in this exhibit since there were riding boots made into lamps, crop holders, and all sorts of additional horse related antiques.
Joseph M. Hayes Antiques from Bexley, Ohio was having a strong show this year. Going to new homes were an Empire high sideboard, tea services, silver, plates, a chest-on-chest, a trunk, a small table, and quite a few smalls.
“There was a good crowd, a lot of people for the special events, and the fashion show with antiques was well attended,” said Patricia Snead of John and Patricia Snead from McLean, Va. Early in the show they sold a table, a lot of Shelley porcelain, and there was a lot of interest in two clocks.
Now in her second year at Lake Forest, Janet Sisler, Inc. from St. Louis, Mo. was asked to bring garden furniture. She had a circa 1860 pair of black fern cast iron settee tagged $4,850, and a patent 1878 rare cast iron urn signed J.W. Fiske for $4,200. A very rare pair of French terra-cotta chimney compote complete with caps was $4,500.
W. Graham Arader III from Philadelphia, Pa. was selling a lot of maps and good Audubon prints. Dating circa 1860 were Walter Hood Fitch orchid watercolors tagged $15,000 each.
Francois and Susie Lerin of Asiantiques from Winter Park, Fla. were the only new exhibitors at this year’s show. In addition to fine Chinese furniture, there were Chinese snuff bottles, Korean furniture, Japanese ivory, jade, and some textiles. They were pleased with the show and were meeting some new collectors that they had not seen at other Chicago area shows.
Another dealer showing Chinese furniture was Hastings House Antiques from Essex, Conn. This year he sold quite a lot of furniture along with many smalls.
Winsor Antiques from Woodbury, Conn. related that “this year’s committee was very enthusiastic and really worked hard on the show. The small amount of dealer turnover reflects that effort.” Sales included a good Seventeenth Century English chair to a repeat customer.
From Chappaqua, N.Y., Charles L. Washburne Antiques displayed incredible majolica. Charles was very pleased to sell a fine Minton ice stand and two good pieces of French Palissy ware. He showed us a circa 1865 Minton majolica centerpiece tagged $65,800 that would be the highlight of any collection.
Having an excellent showing was Oliver Fleury, Inc. from West Chester, Pa. He sold a Deux-corps from the Normandy region, a marble-top washstand, a handsome buffet, and a tall-case clock.
Most exhibitors were pleased with both sales and attendance at this year’s 40th Annual Show and will definitely return next year.
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