Published: October 10, 2006
Now, after five years, this show has become a regular stop for Brimfield shoppers. Inside the air-conditioned comfort of the Host Hotel in Sturbridge, Nan Gurley collected more than 60 dealers to exhibit and sell on Thursday afternoon, September 7, during Brimfield week. Gurley, her husband Peter Mavris and son Josh have built the show into a place where early American primitives and country antiques, her version of Americana, are found and acquired by the national audience attracted to the Brimfield Antiques Markets of the neighboring town. Like Brimfield, Gurley’s show runs three times each year.
Exhibiting at the show, Mary Elliott of Pepperell, Mass., was having a very good time with a collection resembling a Pilgrim Era home. Her collection of very early furniture and textiles were in earth tone colors, her trademark for many years at shows in the Northeast and some nationally. This month her centerpiece was an unusual child’s chair, large and very stoutly built in hard wood with a leather seat: it seemed to have been made for a special place or purpose. Her sales included a pair of portraits very late in the show, during the time dealers were packing to go home, and all the candle snuffers she brought.
Nearby, Penny Thomas set up her Pennywhistle Antiques shop with many early primitive household tools and accessories. From Newark, Del., she was selling early candle trimming sheers and a collection of sewing waxes. “The seamstress would draw their cotton or linen thread across the wax to strengthen it for sewing,” according to Thomas.
Primitive furniture is often saved by dealers specially for this show because of its reputation as a drawing card for collectors of that style. Marilyn Bierylo has been a dealer for many years, first from Connecticut then Lyme, N.H., and now Grantham, N.H. While she exhibits most frequently with early American and English hardwood furniture, at Sturbridge she was offering an early chrome yellow painted blanket chest. Richmond House Antiques is Karen and Edd Oberg’s business with a collection specializing in furniture and accessories. This Ashford, Conn., dealer’s prime offering was a tall open top hutch circa 1800 with original red milk paint finish. Karen said it was found in Northern New England, made either there or possibly Canada and priced at $3,600.
Another piece of painted furniture was a lectern offered by Susan Gault of Thetford Center, Vt. Drawing as much attention as the lectern was the unusual rectangular braided rug she had beneath it. Nearby in the show was an early Massachusetts corner cupboard offered by Kathy Steinberg of Orange, Conn., and priced at $2,800.
Some dealer collections were all small antiques with special construction or uses that make them popular with visitors. Joseph Prakop, Exeter, N.H., rarely has any antique bigger than a bread box and this time he held to that same regimen. His largest antique was a picture frame he described as “intricately hand carved in oak with a design of flowers and vines and painted in red and gilt.” He said the dating of it was about 1890.
Brett Cabral, Auburn, N.H., was offering a very large collection of early stoneware and lighting. Toys dolls and German feather Christmas trees were among the antiques offered by Shirley Quinn of Hopkinton, N.H. Louise Hardy, Falmouth, Maine, had a small Grenfell hooked mat in excellent condition. There was a rocking horse in a stand offered by Wenham Cross Antiques of Topsfield, Mass.
From out of the area, Firehouse Antiques of Galena, Md., was there with a collection of garden furniture. The principle offering was a set of iron chairs and bench in early paint, several layers and colors with the dominant color being black.
A dealer who does not exhibit too often is author George Neumann of North Attleboro, Mass. Among his books is Early American Antique Country Furnishing, first published in 1983 and republished with revisions several times since, the latest in 2001. This book is an outstanding descriptive of furniture with photographs and vital statistics about each piece. Neumann is pleased to say “about 80 percent of the pieces in it we owned at one time or another” so his information is truly first hand. He was selling signed copies at the show, but the book can be found at most shops selling books on antiques.
Nan has a contract for the Host Hotel for ten years, always on the Thursday of Brimfield week, so she and her friends will return next year. For more information, 207-625-3577.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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