Published: September 21, 2004
The Hancock Shaker Village Antiques Show was conducted here August 28-29, with show manager Trisha McElroy supervising more than 30 dealers whose offerings emphasized early Americana and Shaker antiques. The historic, well-known Round Barn had room and shop settings on its two floors filled with antique household rdf_Descriptions, tools, early textiles, furniture and even some later decorator rdf_Descriptions, such as Oriental rugs.
The Shakers established this site as one of their earliest American communities in 1783 with about 1,000 acres for farming, their industries and homes. In the Twentieth Century, the community was not attracting enough new members to sustain itself, so the Shakers made plans to sell the property, which by then had the Round Barn, main dormitory and various other buildings.
Ann Bess Miller, wife of the owner of The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, learned of their plans and quickly organized enough friends, raising the money to buy out the last remaining Shaker members. Hancock Shaker Village Inc was created as a nonprofit educational organization, and the museum opened in 1961. With the purpose of preserving Shaker ways and heritage, as well as their property and buildings, Hancock Shaker Village continues to be open to the public all year with educational and enrichment programs as well as tours of the buildings and exhibits of their work.
Antiques shows have been a part of the community for education and as a means of raising new awareness and money. This show has a group of dealers loyal to the market who save their best Americana and Shaker antiques.
Carol Wotjkun, Preston, Conn., has been doing shows as a second career for many years and exhibits at many of the more important New England shows. She had an oversize space here, which she used to display a variety of outstanding pieces, including several early stands, a Queen Anne tea table and an array of small antiques and art.
Ann Robson lives in Columbia, Md., and shops in Pennsylvania for her Shaker collection. She said she has been doing this show as among the few that are this far from home, but it is primarily due to the Shaker surroundings. Another Shaker specialist at the show was American Decorative Arts, Canaan, N.H.
John Anderson is a dealer at various shows and markets in northern New England who usually has some great finds. For this show, he had several stands, including a candlestand, which sold in the first minutes of the show. It was made from tiger maple – the pedestal turned on a slow speed lathe, probably a trundle or foot pedal type – with delicate legs and a top planed to less than a half-inch thickness. Anderson shops mostly near his Milford, N.H., home and also buys on house calls.
Devices and Desires is the business of Charles and Lucille Bere, South Easton, Mass. He is an attorney during the week, but together on the weekends they do shows. Their exhibit at the Round Barn included early paintings, furniture and, most significantly, numerous sold signs in the first few minutes of the show. There was a charming setting in Scarsdale, N.Y.-based Marilyn and Ron Salant’s booth, including an American Pembroke table and a pair of matching ladder back chairs.
A New England blanket chest made of pine and poplar in original surface was one of the pieces drawing a great deal of attention in Jan and John Maggs’ booth. From Conway, Mass., the Maggs offered the chest for $1,250. Another piece they brought was a corner cupboard, which John said was restored but found in central Vermont, made circa 1800 and priced at $3,900. While those figures are not pocket change, it seemed to be excellent value in both cases.
Donna Kmetz, Douglas, Mass., is a dealer in fine art. When asked which were her most interesting pieces, she suggested the pair of Gloucester, Mass., oil on canvas scenes. Painted by Nell Walker Werner, a listed artist from California, they were from early in the Twentieth Century and priced at $2,400 each. Fine Antique Prints, Beverly, Mass., had a large collection of framed, ready-to-hang prints.
McElroy, show manager and promoter, found a small space to join the dealers with a modest exhibit of her own, comprising mainly small antiques from early New England and English porcelain.
Sally Morse Majewski, director of marketing for Hancock Shaker Village, said the tradition will continue next year and the date is tentatively set for August 27-28. For information, or 800-817-1137. McElroy can be reached at 603-778-8842 or TAMevents@ aol.com.
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