Published: January 18, 2022
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
BOXBOROUGH, MASS. – January 9 was a dreary Sunday morning, and the weather forecast the previous day had been full of warnings about wintry road conditions. But that didn’t seem to deter many. There were about 50 dealers at the Boxborough Antiques Show, with only a few opting to stay home. The weather did not seem to deter buyers either, and there were plenty waiting for the show to open. Sold signs appeared within the first few minutes on larger pieces, and buyers were soon seen carrying bags with their smaller purchases. All exhibitors and shoppers were required to wear masks. This show is now under the management of Rachel and Josh Gurley, but the show traces its lineage back to their mother, Nan Gurley, who ran the event for several years.
What did buyers have to choose from? Maybe the oldest item was a piece of 3,000-year-old pottery in the booth of Brian Cullity, Sagamore, Mass., and there was Seventeenth Century furniture and Eighteenth Century ceramics, along with pewter and silver from the same time period, Nineteenth Century painted woodenware, furniture, paintings, hooked rugs, dolls, toys, etc. There was more still: redware, stoneware, decoys, quilts, folk art, trade signs, gameboards, various types of lighting devices and more.
At least three booths included decoys. Dennis Raleigh, Pumpkin Patch Antiques, Searsport, Maine, had an oversized canvas eider decoy made by Clinton Kent, Kingston, Mass., priced at $2,850. Eiders are large sea-ducks who spend winters in southern New England. Pat Reese and John Rice, Portsmouth, N.H., had an oversized pair that were stamped on the bottoms A.G. Wallace. The pair was priced $650, and whether the mark referred to the maker or the owner was not known. Joshua Guild, Goffstown, N.H., had four good examples, including a life-size gull that was priced at $1,600. It had well-carved details, including wing feathers, beak and eyes, and a nicely weathered, original surface. He also had a well-carved swan decoy for which he was asking $1,250.
Several dealers offered Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century furniture, and one, Jason Hietala, Lancaster, Mass., had a Pilgrim Century inlaid table. Martin Ferrick, Lincolnville, Maine, had several late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century pieces that were ready to go home with new families, including a maple five-drawer Queen Anne semi-tall chest, circa 1765, with original hardware that he priced $1,950. Brian Cullity had a Newport or North Shore tilt-top table priced at a reasonable $475. The mahogany table had a well-carved pedestal.
Gurley shows almost always have a group of dealers with a wide assortment of early ceramics. This show was no exception. The first booth on the left as you entered the show, Rachel Gurley’s booth, had an exceptional selection of creamware, including a pair of covered sweet-meat dishes. On leaf-shaped underplates, each had pierced covers with floral designs, handles in the form of vines and melon-shaped finials. The pair was $1,600, and there were other pieces of creamware in the booth. Gurley said that she had bought a large collection not long ago. Linda DeCoste, Newbury, Mass., offered a pair of Dutch delft plates with polychrome floral decoration, circa 1780-1800, priced at $700. She also had a Staffordshire figure, one of the Four Graces, circa 1780, priced at $250. Tommy Thompson, Chichester, N.H., had a group of transfer-decorated yellow lustre children’s mugs. One said, “For My Dear Girl,” and the others had moralistic phrases. Prices ranged from $95 to $335 each. Greg Lovell, Hyde Park, Mass., fills his booth with a wide range of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century porcelains. Choice pieces were also to be found in other booths.
A staple of Gurley shows is painted woodenware and primitives. This show offered a good selection. Stepping outside the painted surfaces briefly, one would have to take note of one of the most elaborate spice chests to have been seen recently. It was a large unpainted fretwork example with eight drawers labeled for various spices, a large door opening to storage space and an unlabeled drawer below that, all topped by a large fretwork crest. It was owned by Bjorn Borssen, Rochester, N.H., who priced it a very reasonable $175. He also had an unusually small, unfinished hanging planter. Cindy Johnson, Dater House Antiques, Troy, N.Y., filled a booth with painted firkins, sets of drawers and bowls. Country Collectible Antiques, Methuen, Mass., shared a booth with MG Antiques, Merrimac, Mass., which was filled with small paintings, gameboards, baskets and more. One of the dealer’s offerings was a hide-covered horse pull toy with leather saddle and stirrups, which was priced $375. A large, early Nineteenth Century low-back settle was $595.
After the show, Rachel Gurley made a point of saying there were no complaints about the mask mandate. “We want all our friends and families to be safe, so we insisted on masks. People understand the need for that, and we’ll be doing that at all of our shows. There were more than 100 people on line waiting for the show to open and it was steady all day. We were lucky with the weather – the predicted ice-storm never happened. Sales were strong, and I saw a lot of furniture going out. It seems that everyone knows everyone at these shows, so they stay and chat with each other. It’s not a quick in-and-out show. I personally like that since I grew up with most of these people. We have about two dozen shows scheduled for 2022. Our next one will be in Bath, Maine, on January 23, and there will be five others in Bath this year. We’ll be back here in Boxborough February 6 and March 6. And we’ve a full slate ready for Dover, N.H. Josh and I are looking forward to a busy year.”
For information, call Rachel at 207-396-4255 or Josh at 207-229-0403. Or visit their website, www.gurleyantiqueshows.com.
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