Published: September 26, 2017
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
MADISON, CONN. – The Madison Historical Society Antiques Fair was again a charming bazaar in the center of this historic Connecticut waterfront village, blessed with good weather on August 26 for the one-day affair hosting about 50 exhibitors attended by an audience of many hundreds of shoppers. Sponsored by the Madison Historical Society as a fundraising event for its programs, this show has been a regular late summer event here for 46 years.
The morning began with exhibitors like Tom Landers of Palisades Trading Company driving into place with his stock of antique handmade rugs and mats. Most were Orientals and before the day was over, this Windsor, Conn., dealer sold several 100-year-old Bidjars, a few Nineteenth Century hooked rugs and a variety of mats. “This was a very good day for such a short show, and in addition I got some new customers for repairs and cleanings,” he said.
Next to Landers, Jamie Heuschkel, Hirsh Antiques of Pleasant Valley, Conn., was arranging his collection of early American country home furnishings. As this is more a labor of love, a second occupation, that is, he is only available for weekend shows near home, so this was perfect for him. As he unloaded, the first items off were a 150-year-old farm table and a set of five arrow back Windsor side chairs to go with it; then came a large stack of carved wooden bowls, an assortment of firkins and finally some wooden pantry boxes and kitchen tools. His sales were mostly the little things he brought, like the fireplace iron tools and some stoneware.
Nearby, Steve Balser of Old Horizons Antiques, Norwalk, Conn., was selling a Lone Star quilt, which he hung as the backdrop of his exhibit that day. Full size, it was all handwork and appeared to be from the Nineteenth Century in red, white and blue colors on a white background.
From Middletown, Conn., Joe Collins was selling his Connecticut-made tall case clock dating to the Eighteenth Century. He also brought a collection of sailing ship dioramas and oil paintings.
Rugs were big for the day, perhaps because the weather forecast was excellent, so spreading them out was easy for the sellers. Paul Bessinger, Woodbridge, Conn., was showing his collection, along with an assortment of furniture and cut glass. Rugs at The Farm had a short commute from Madison with a van and trailer loaded with Oriental rugs.
Lewis Scranton, Killingworth, Conn., has been doing this show for all 46 years, as it is fairly convenient for him. He brought early Connecticut furniture, but smaller pieces that were easy to load and unload. One curious item he had was a very large perched white eagle, which, as it turned out, was very lightweight as it was a papier machè advertising piece for a brand of whisky.
Next to Scranton, Sara Riblet, also from Killingworth, was selling earthenware from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries for anyone needing an antique pattern match, while Alan Golia brought his inventory of 100- and 200-year old tools from Westerly, R.I.
Maryon Noble, Irvington, N.Y., was selling from the starting bell that morning; her first sale was a lovely oversized quilt, all hand stitched, even the binding. She brought more textiles, including a well-executed sampler, signed and dated 1841, with images of many different animals and a tree of life.
From Roxbury, Conn., Glenn Allard brought a very large variety of Colonial-era antique home furnishings, including furniture and accessories. His lighting included several styles of candleholders, such as a pierced tin lantern and hog scrapers; several Georgian period tea caddies, iron fireplace cookware and stoneware.
A charm of this show has been its setting in the center of one of Connecticut’s oldest waterfront towns, as summer winds down, where shoppers can come during the day, get a coffee and find some antiques for their homes. Look for the show again, the last Saturday before Labor Day. For additional information, www.madisonhistory.org or 203-245-4567.
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