Published: May 15, 2001
By Susan and Al Bagdade
GLENCOE, ILL. – The exquisite setting of the Chicago Botanic Garden showcased the magnificent Antiques and Garden Fair on April 20 to 22 for huge crowds of eager collectors, shoppers and gardeners.
Exhibitors from more than 20 states as well as Great Britain filled the grounds, buildings and tents with a vast selection of stunning garden antiques, architectural elements, horticultural prints, statuary, planters, wrought iron works and all sorts of furniture, along with some new handcrafted garden products. This year’s event was expanded to nearly 100 exhibitors who were thrilled to be included in this weekend gala.
Keynote lectures included “Signature Style with Carolyne Roehm,” “New Relaxed American Garden” with Michael Boodro, editor of Garden Design and “From Privy to Pergola: Furnishing the American Garden” with May Brawley Hill.
Special presentations were “Antiques and Flowers: Fresh Combinations” with Nancy McIlvaine and Virginia Wolff, “Herbal Topiaries” with Chicago Botanic Garden Horticulturist Kate Sadowski, “Top Ten Questions about Garden Antiques” with Finnegan Gallery and “Spring Rose Care” with horticulturist Brett McNish.
Italian artist Anna Chiara Branca had a special exhibit of her watercolor botanicals. Her paintings center on motifs including garden butterflies, tulips, orchids, Roman frescoes and trees of antiquity. More than 90 recent paintings and lithographs were on display during the Antiques and Garden Fair.
Eleven hundred guests attended the Antiques and Garden Fair Preview featuring cocktails and fabulous food along with early buying privileges to benefit the Garden’s educational programs. A tremendous amount of buying continued all through the packed preview evening. Beautiful indoor fantasy gardens including the Checkerboard Pyramid Garden and Rose Knot Garden were inspired by noted designer Bill Herrernan.
When the fair opened on Friday morning, there were lines at every entrance to get in. Shoppers could not wait to browse and shop for treasures. Attendance continued to be excellent all three days of the fair with exceptionally strong sales experienced by almost every dealer.
By Friday morning, Moshe Bronstein from The Garden Antiquary in New York City had already brought in his last pieces from the trucks. Sales included a grapes container, an oil jug, a bird bath, a pair of planters, pictures and a huge figure of a hunter with a dog and rifle that was centering his exhibit. An American cast stone wall fountain dating circa 1919 from the Fox Theatre in San Francisco was on hold, but was sure to leave before the conclusion of the fair. Moshe felt that the opening night was very strong and he had a great response to his offerings.
Newcomer Arthur Awe Ltd. from Port Washington, N.Y., sold two benches, tools, lamps and had other things on hold after the preview. Dealer Scott Hartrin thought “it was a top notch preview, a fantastic show, with very enthusiastic people.”
Another first timer was Hypoint from Barrington, Ill. Jan Cieply has been an antiques dealer for a long time yet stated this was her best show ever, and also one of the most fun shows. By Friday she had a sold a huge bird tree, a stone frog, tow urns, a set of 12 iron flowers, a pedestal, a mirror, a plant stand, all of her finials, three sets of Indian jugglers pins, a porch post with birds and a mosaic piece. She needed to bring in additional stuff for the weekend crowds.
R.E. Steele Antiques from Port Washington, N.Y. and East Hampton, N.Y. sold a Swedish chest of drawers, a Swedish chandelier, a pair of urns, sterling silver and another chandelier. This exhibitor also was showcasing 900-year-old Inca seashell earrings and 1100 AD Inca pectoral plaks in silver over bronze.
A set of red wicker furniture from the 1920s was sold along with a pair of cast iron urns, a pair of stone tulip planters, two birdbaths and six sculptural flowers at Judith and James Milne, Inc. from New York City. Many shoppers were measuring their rare faux bois garden set with a table and three benches all in the old paint. It was sure to be gone by the conclusion of the fair.
Mano Vayis from London, England was having a wonderful time at the Botanic Gardens. Early in the show he sold Aubusson tapestry covered pillows dating circa 1860, a candlestand, a Greek milking jug and other smalls. He also showed some wonderful iron tables with marble tops and lots of stoneware.
Chicago’s Vintage Pine sold mirrors, garden statuary, an iron table and chairs, a chandelier, iron work and lots of French pottery pots and jugs.
From nearby Winnetka, Donald Stuart Antiques had great sales during the preview for his first garden fair. He sold iron chairs, an iron console with a marble top, a large pair of cast iron Victorian urns, a twig bench, tole flowers, chache boughs and a iron wreath of blackberries.
Hardy Todd from Memphis, Tenn. was showing for Stella for the first time, and was also at Botanic Gardens for the first time. He sold a pair of mirrors, a pair of large French urns, a pair of bird prints, a set of nine nest prints, a folk art bench, a pair of swan planters and lots of smalls.
Antiques from Wilmette, Ill. sold “tons of unique rdf_Descriptions.” Going to new homes were an African mortar and pestle, a picnic table, two benches, a chandelier, pottery, iron candlesticks, ceiling tiles, a French mirrored wall sconce, pieces with Italian gold leaf, an 1860 French mailbox, a Swedish carrying pack for a baby, a wooden candlestick and an iron gate and table.
First timer Tracey Young of The Elemental Garden of Sharon, Conn. thought the show was “fabulous” and “the crowds were lovely.” She was thrilled with the show and the sales. A large pair of cast iron Nineteenth Century American whippets, a pair of arched French doors and a pair of cast iron baluster lamps sold during the preview. By Friday, Tracey had sold tabletop urns, a large hand light and other smalls. A buyer was returning for her fountain.
Parrett/Lich, Inc. from Georgetown, Ind. sold his “biggest and heaviest rdf_Descriptions during the preview.” He was already hanging his second cast iron border since the first one sold immediately. Other sales included a large bench, a white table, a drafting table, barbed wire balls and cast iron architectural pieces.
Chicago’s Mad Parade was “selling across the board.” Scott Pilar sold his large French baker’s rack, a weathervane, a wonderful collection of vintage toy lawnmowers and a painted tin lamp from the American Southwest. Sure to sell was a rare 16-piece set of highly stylized old hickory furniture that probably was custom ordered.
At Village Braider from Plymouth, Mass., this first-time exhibitor sold 1910 Italian limestone capitals, a bird bath, iron chairs, lamps that “could have sold four times,” a deer head, a ten-foot tall fountain and a set of three German candlesticks.
“A big preview” was reported by Darwin from Philadelphia, Penn. Sales included a fretwork shelf, pairs of lamps, two paintings and a pair of Eighteenth Century Dutch portraits.
Last year Mark Morris Home and Garden Center from Dayton, Ohio sold everything in his exhibit except one mantel. This year he was off to a strong start with sales of valences, a terra-cotta statue, a 12-foot farm table, a marble top iron console, a pair of 42-inch Italian candlesticks, concrete lions, a Gothic mesh chair, a mirrored buffet, numerous urns, a garden gnome and a pair of lions.
Janet and Tobin Townsend from Callicoon Center, N.Y. liked the increased size of the show and the very appreciative crowd. By Friday they had sold a set of eight upholstered French dining chairs, two iron chairs and two chandeliers.
From Portland, Me., Portland Antiques sold a pair of cast iron lions, small tramp art cupboards, a watchmaker’s trade sign and Italian carved cherubs.
Sales for Chicago’s Alan Robandt and Company included scenic backdrop murals, a pair of modern sprint steel recliners, limestone urns, a set of four 1920s iron dining chairs and lots of smalls.
Scott Estepp from Cincinnati, Ohio sold Control Valdes pieces, a pair of iron consoles with marble tops, garden frogs, urns, a shard memory pedestal, butterfly bar stools, a reclining cow, a terra-cotta pot, a pastoral painting and a bird chandelier and an additional chandelier.
Olde Good Things from New York City sold an Art Deco console from a Boston building, a pair of iron gates and a large iron table. They featured a great selection of old doorknobs.
Another Winnetka exhibitor, Trellis and Trugs sold a bust of Ceres, a pedestal with a Florentine urn, a green French Nineteenth Century cast iron jardiniere, large Nineteenth Century green planters, two English black cast iron jardinieres and a 1930s concrete Roman style planter.
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