Published: March 18, 2003
Story and Photos By Nancy Vozar
PRINCETON, N.J.- En route to the , driving south down Nassau Street past the hallowed halls of Princeton University, with its Gothic arches and leaded glass windows, one eventually comes to a fork in the road. Directly in front is a monumental relief of the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Princeton, honoring the fallen soldiers. Turning left at the fork heading toward Lawrenceville, there seems to be at least one Colonial home that could legitimately boast, “George Washington slept here.”
These reminders of the birth of our nation were relevant when one viewed some of the historical rdf_Descriptions and antiques that flavored the dealers’ booths at the . Under the management of David and Peter Mancuso, the show was held on February 15 and 16 at the National Guard Armory in Lawrenceville, N.J. (Unfortunately, an East Coast blizzard curtailed the scheduled Sunday, February 16 date.) Besides customers seeing antique treasures and meeting articulate, knowledgeable dealers, they also knew the price of admission helped to benefit Womanspace, an organization helping women and children in crisis.
Commenting on the show’s attendance, David Mancuso said, “We had a good Saturday, with good attendance, and a little blizzard thrown in to add to the weekend excrdf_Descriptionent. It was a good show considering the circumstances.” Show participant Roger D. Winter echoed similar comments saying, “It’s an extremely well attended, busy show.”
Perhaps one of the most memorable and dramatic rdf_Descriptions – a true museum piece – pertaining to our own “War of Independence” was found in the room setting of Day’s Antiques, Brunswick, Maine. It was the pre-Revolutionary War Vose desk. This two-part, slant front country pine desk had open shelving and storage compartments in the upper section and a lower slant front with multi-drawer base supported on a single board with a boot jack type base. And while this piece had the presence to add interest to any interior, it was the provenance that added the punch. The desk was obtained from the Daniel Vose family, Milton Lower Mills, Mass. and the John Parker family. On September 9, 1774, Daniel Vose’s home in Milton was the site where the Suffolk County delegates met and denounced the British closing of the Port of Boston. Indeed, this delegation went a step further, by boldly demanding an end to the British occupation. The Suffolk Resolves, formulated during the meeting, were the most courageous and most aggressive statements of the Colonial position prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution. The Suffolk Resolves were drafted on this desk!
While there may not have been a historic connection linked to them, there were many other rdf_Descriptions in this booth that made the journey from Maine to New Jersey. A pair of monumental Arts & Crafts andirons (421/2 inches high by 35 inches deep) came from Boothbay Harbor. Commenting on the size of the fireplace that these andirons originally framed, David said, “It was so large, you could have parked a car there.” Other rdf_Descriptions included an English oak cricket table with a red wash (circa 1920), an early Nineteenth Century English tricycle, in working order, with its original velvet seat, a Twentieth Century mannequin, a child’s Victorian push/pull sled with nice early paint (circa 1880), and child’s pull horse toy with its original hide cover. David was enthusiastic in his support for the show. “It’s one of the best of the 24 shows we participate in each year, with a nice group of dealers offering a diversified mix of quality rdf_Descriptions, and it’s a plus to help benefit Womanspace.”
In the booth of Paul D. Phillips Antiques, Bryn Mawr, Penn., was a pair of reverse paintings on glass of the victor of the Battle of Princeton, George Washington, and his wife Martha. Attributed to William Matthew Prior (1806-1873), the paintings of our “first, First Family” still retained their original frames. A Nineteenth Century full-body gold gilded American eagle copper weathervane rested on top of a Queen Anne period Pennsylvania two-drawer farm table made of walnut (circa 1760) with a wood peg construction and pad feet
Phillips also exhibited a cavalcade of clocks. One of his most desirable clocks was a highly sought after mid Nineteenth Century shelf clock with a ripple front. The movement was stamped “Forestville MFG Company Patent Applied For Sept. 4, 1848.” Another clock, made of papier-mache, is seldom seen in such good, original condition because it is so fragile. About 1850, this example had a light blue mother-of-pearl inlay. Two larger clocks included a cherry tall case clock by Edward Spauling, Providence, RI (circa 1770), and a circa 1825, French Provincial Morbier wag-on-the-wall clock. It was noted by Phillips that, “This clock would often hang on the homeowner’s wall until he could afford to have the wooden case made for it.”
George III had written in his diary that, “Nothing of importance happened today.” The day was July 4, 1776! Perhaps, just perhaps, the King wrote this on one of the desks found in the booth of Roger D. Winter, Solebury, Penn. Among the rdf_Descriptions receiving attention was a rare George III (England, 1790) kidney shaped writing table in rosewood and mahogany with an inset tooled leather top, and a pair of George III (England, 1790) card tables with D-shaped tops in satinwood, outlined in rosewood crossbanding, on tapered square legs, line inlaid with ebony.
Winter also displayed a late Nineteenth Century yew wood Carlton desk with rounded structure, the writing surface inset with tooled leather and square tapering legs terminating in brass castors. Chatting with Winter after the show, we learned that this magnificent desk sold as he was packing up on Sunday. Displayed on top of a fine low oak dresser, crossbanded in mahogany with fluted and inlaid columns, was a Masons partial dinner service (England, 1840).
Also shown in Winter’s booth was a mahogany Chippendale corner cupboard (England, circa 1765-1770). On one wall hung a rare pair of Federal mirrors (circa 1800) in an unusual small size (29 inches high by 18 inches wide). The five inch central circular mirror was surrounded by a wide concave round frame flanked by applied floral swags and topped with winged eagles on a rocky crag base mounted with scrolled leaf and shell design all in gilt gessoed carved wood.
The symbol of our nation, chosen in 1782 during the Revolutionary War, was majestically represented in a booth fittingly named American Spirit Gallery, York, Penn. This copper eagle finial with a hollow body construction and nice patina was from Pennsylvania (circa 1880-1910). Displayed on one wall was a Nineteenth Century New England real estate sign. Showing it to an interested customer, dealer Roger Parsells pointed out a construction tip that supported the sign’s early age. Examining the marks on the back of the sign, Parsells mentioned that it showed the sign was made using an older straight saw, not a more contemporary circular saw.
Other rdf_Descriptions in Parsells’s booth included a mid Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania punched tin pie safe, in unrestored condition, with hex sign and sunburst design, an exceptionally large (21 inches high by ten inches in circumference) early Nineteenth Century hand-punched lantern, a chimney cupboard of an unusually small size, and a Pennsylvania hand-forged iron, double construction, quilting frame (circa 1800).
An interesting folk art rdf_Description hung on the booth wall of SAJE Americana, Short Hills, N.J. It was a 1924 firehouse gameboard that started its life in Kansas City. Around the perimeters of the board were advertising blocks from various local establishments, such as DeVoe Paints, Hardware, and Plumbing, Minrock Natural Spring Water, Cowan’s Floral Shoppe, Argentine Lumber & Fuel Co. and Scheerer’s Shoe Shine. According to dealer Steven Shapiro, “Apparently advertising on the game board financially supported the upkeep of the firehouse.”
Skillfully arranged beneath the game board was a group of painted boxes in various sizes. Also seen in the booth were several Eighteenth Century Rhode Island tiger maple furniture rdf_Descriptions. One piece was a chest on frame and the other was a Chippendale desk. Also offered was a large wooden hatbox made by Hannah Davis from New Hampshire in the first half of the Nineteenth Century. What made this box rare was the wonderful cornucopia design centered on the front. .
The visual centerpiece of Nancy and Alan Gilbert’s booth, Mountainville, NJ was an oil on canvas portrait of a New England gentleman (attributed to S.J. Hamblin) from the mid 1800’s, in a bird’s-eye maple frame. Other rdf_Descriptions furnishing their room setting were a solid cherry drop-leaf table from the Pembrook Hepplewhite period, a bird’s-eye maple two drawer stand (circa 1830), a Louis Vuitton suitcase on a custom-made stand, a chest of drawers with a solid tiger maple front (circa 1830), a dovetailed copper apple butter kettle (circa 1850), several sets of Victorian barbells, trade signs of a wooden cleaver and scissors, and a grouping of wooden folk art, drill team or WWI training rifles.
The Gilbert’s neighbor was Jonas Ewing, Bethlehem, Penn., who had a two-drawer blanket chest in old blue paint, three candlestands, a mid Nineteenth Century pine country drop-leaf table with fine tapered legs, and a Scandinavian decorated and dated 1800 treenware bowl. As Saturday was winding down, sales in Ewing’s booth included a Queen Anne style side chair, a Federal demi-lune table, candlesticks, engravings and china.
The visual arts and ephemera were also represented by several dealers. As a former photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, we learned that Roger Tunis, Berwyn, PA went from a career of taking pictures to collecting pictures, or perhaps we should say landscapes, seascapes, and portraits of American and European listed artists from the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century. Our attention was drawn to a European, Nineteenth Century unsigned oil on canvas landscape with cows and sheep in the Realism style similar to Belgium painter Franz Van Severdonck and British painter Thomas Sydney Cooper. Among the wide assortment of maps in the booth of Heritage Antique Maps, Doylestown, Penn., was one with strong topical interest. It was a (circa 1865) Currier & Ives “View of New York.” Across the aisle was a booth any Mucha devotee would have gravitated toward. Shown at Antique Prints & Paper, Highland Park, NJ was an original cover from L’Estampe Moderne with Mucha’s work in his signature Art Nouveau style.
For information on upcoming Mancuso shows, 215-862-5828, or visit www.quiltfest.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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