The coastal scenery and the quaint and quiet towns that visitors pass through en route to the Little Compton Antiques Festival are wonderful, as is the setting for this unique show, the Sakonnet Vineyards. Set well back from the road on a rambling hillside, the winery attracts tourists of all kinds throughout season; however, antiques enthusiasts from throughout the region descended here over the weekend of August 3.
Beginning with a gala preview party on Friday evening, a benefit for Preserve Rhode Island, 55 dealers set up their wares under two spacious tents. The outdoors setting adds to the ambiance of the show, capably managed by Ferguson & D’Arruda, which featured a special display of antique fire apparatus, as well as exotic plants and garden items sprinkled throughout the venue.
The preview attracted a large crowd of shoppers and supporters and Brian Ferguson commented that “more tickets had been presold than ever before. And, on top of that, the weather is cooperating.” Indeed it was as bluebird skies were overhead, temperatures were moderate and a light breeze flowed across the vineyard fields. Ferguson stated that this is the sixth year that he and Tom D’Arruda have worked with Preserve Rhode Island to present the show, and that each year the event seems to get better and boast a larger attendance.
A good crowd was on hand for the show opening Saturday morning, and buyers immediately seemed engaged with both the offerings and the dealers.
Westport, Mass., dealers Carole and Ed Jackson were on hand with a good selection of early American smalls displayed on their tables. Ed Jackson, who has been hanging around on the fringe of antiques shows since the 1970s, also an ear, nose and throat doctor of some degree at one time or another, was once a regular fixture at Russell Carrell markets. Aside from his usual space inside the tent, Jackson claimed the peripheral area outside of the tent to display a couple pairs of good early garden urns and other outdoorsy stuff.
A nice country store cabinet with large glass door was displayed at Epilogues, Bristol, R.I., and was filled with all sorts of curiosities ranging from a turtle-form lawn sprinkler and doorstops to cast iron frogs and flower frogs.
A large stepback cupboard with a pie shelf and two drawers had its upper shelves filled with a good selection of redware, stoneware and slipware plates. A large hobbyhorse was standing guard at the front of the booth, alongside a schoolmaster’s desk and a Windsor armchair.
Ayscough Antiques, Chadds Ford, Penn., came north for the show and brought along a good selection of country smalls, including a large goose decoy, a hooked rug with ship decoration and a pair of Indian war clubs in good early paint.
Fonda Art and Antiques, New Ipswich, Mass., added diversity with a selection of more formal furnishings that ranged from a bronze of a setter with a pheasant in its mouth to early Orientalia, leaded glass lamps and Russian icons.
Rounding out the show was a good selection of potteries that ranged from studio pottery by the Scheiers to the more traditional wares of nearby period potteries such as Dedham and Marblehead.
The next show under the management of Ferguson & D’Arruda will be the Golden Ball Tavern Antiques Show in Weston, Mass., on September 29. The show hosts 75 dealers and is a benefit for The Golden Ball Tavern Trust. Ferguson & D’Arruda may be reached at 401-273-5550.