Published: October 21, 2003
– The Washington Connecticut Antiques Show got off to a wonderful start 17 years ago and for a long time had a faithful following and a roster of dealers that repeated itself fall after fall. Several years ago it seemed the luster had worn off the show and its future looked dim. Determined not to see this benefit for the town’s Gunn Memorial Library fail, the committee put the show into the hands of Lou Marotta last year and the show took an about face. Only a couple of the dealers from last few years were asked back and the booths were filled with new faces and a completely different look. And it worked.
“Again this year I brought in some different exhibitors to give the show a different look, and it is working,” Lou Marotta said as the show was about to preview on Friday evening, October 3. The preview was advertised to be from 6:30 to 9, but people were milling about the show shortly after 6. “We learned that one of the articles about the show gave the wrong hours, 6 instead of 6:30, so we decided to open a bit early,” Lou said. As it turned out, it was a good idea as the evening was a “sold out” event and the two floors of the town hall became very crowded in short order.
With the success of the Washington Show now behind him, Lou Marotta has turned the duties of management over to Sandra Canning, a lady very familiar with the antiques business and a resident of Washington. He said, “I like seeing the dealers do well and the excrdf_Descriptionent of running a show, and I am planning to do more of the same in the future.” He is talking about managing a series of new shows, including a spring event in Washington, as well as locations in the Hamptons, Nantucket and Palm Beach. He is even talking about New York City, adding, “It is difficult in the city to find just the right location. I would want to be on the Upper East Side.”
Again the show was an interesting mix, with objects suited for the garden and every room in the house. Joan Evans of Lambertville, N.J., filled the front booth with a collection that included a set of six side chairs in the style of Louis XVI, French, circa 1880, in white upholstery, and a pair of leather club chairs, French, with leather trimmed cushions. A Nineteenth Century marionette, hand carved with glass eyes, was seated in one of the club chairs.
John and Nanci Wilson traveled from West Palm Beach, Fla., to take part in the show, offering a selection of garden rdf_Descriptions including a pair of tall hitching posts with horse heads on the tops, several planted, a pair of green painted cast-iron urns, and a large head of a bull cast in iron.
A ship weathervane in the form of a galley, at full sail and complete with directionals, was in the center of the booth of Vincent Mulford of Hudson, N.Y. A zinc sign, red letters on green background with a good surface, advertised The Athletic Bar, and furniture included a diminutive chest-on-chest.
The only dealer at the show with a booth filled with early American furniture and accessories was Mary Sam of Ballyhack Antiques, West Cornwall, Conn. Furniture included an early Twentieth Century corner cupboard with folky carving and good surface, and a five-drawer chest in old red paint. A ship’s figurehead from Maine dated from the late Nineteenth Century, and the two outside walls of the booth were hung with a collection of weathervanes, mostly of the sheet metal variety. Designs included a deer, sea captain, horse and rider, witch on a broom, bucking horse, pilgrim/farmer, and of wood, a weathered rooster and a painted chicken.
An attention getter in the booth of Charlotte’s Crossing, New Preston, Conn., was a French folk art birdcage, about seven feet tall and four feet wide, in the form of a house complete with windows and peaked roofs. A Nineteenth Century aviary included about a dozen birds of vivid colors, and a pair of French obelisk planters, topped by the figure of a rooster in a ball, seven feet tall, with a nice green surface.
A mail box, faux bois in the form of a house on a tree stump, was not one that would be placed at the side of the road but in a much safer spot, say in the garden. This piece, American, circa 1930, attracted lots of comments and interest in the booth of Brennan & Mouilleseaux of Pittsford, N.Y. They also showed a very early, circa 1732, English wall-hung sundial in marble, bronze and lead with figures in relief. A nice set of courtyard gates, circa 1900, was of wrought iron, American, from an estate in Rochester, N.Y.
Thomas Schwenke of Woodbury, Conn., offered a collection of American furniture including a Chippendale secretary-desk in two parts, scrolled pediment, old color and finish, circa 1780-1800, of Connecticut River Valley origin. A Sheraton mirror, four feet tall, carved and gilded, circa 1810, had a Boston provenance, while a Federal carved mahogany fire screen with acorn finials and the original needlework dated circa 1780-1800 and was from Massachusetts.
Selling at the preview was brisk in the booth of Jeffery Beal Henkel, Pennington, N.J., with red tags on the pair of marble benches at the front of the booth, and more on the four bronze sconces that hung on the back wall of the booth. An early buyer also went home with a selection of mined rocks that came from Maine.
A major oil on canvas by Priscilla Warren Roberts (1916-2001), signed lower left, 36 by 30 inches, titled “The Unmade Bed,” hung on the back wall in the gallery display of The Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, Conn. “There is so much you can read into this painting,” Jeff Cooley said, indicating that many people have different ideas about it especially in regards to the significance of the face painted on the wall. A view of a Litchfield Meadows was painted by William Hamilton Gibson (1850-1896), signed and dated ’86 lower right, a watercolor measuring 93/16 by 111/2 inches. It had a red sold dot shortly after the opening of the preview. Other works of art included an oil on board, “Ocean Dawn,” Ralf Feyl, signed lower left, three by six inches sight, also sold, and “Summer Clouds” by William Jurian Kaula (1871-1953), an oil on canvas signed lower right, 461/2 by 351/2 inches.
During the first hour of the show about eight sold signs cropped up in the booth of Sinotique, one of the exhibitors from New York City. A large North Chinese altar table dating from the Nineteenth Century, original surface, was among the tagged rdf_Descriptions, was a mounted stainless steel conveyor belt, circa 1940-50. An interesting object was a chestnut well-head from China, Eighteenth to Nineteenth Century.
In addition to the show, a number of special events were scheduled starting off with a walk through of the show with well-known interior designed Albert Hadley on Saturday morning. It was followed by four lectures that day, and three more on Sunday. All events were well-attended and benefited the Gunn Memorial Library and Museum.
With new management it will be interesting to see what changes might come about next year. And it might be going out on a limb to even mention it, but we might even see Lou Marotta taking a booth in the show he put back on the map.
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