Published: October 29, 2019
Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack
HAMPTON, N.H. – “Quality” was the keyword at Peter Mavris’ October 13 show. For the start of the second season of his monthly shows at the Best Western hotel, Mavris had some A-list dealers, along with several who do not do many other shows. It’s not a large show. Mavris said there were 45 dealers, but the offerings were consistently first-class. He said that some of his regular dealers were doing the Rhinebeck show, so he expects that the exhibitor count will increase for subsequent shows. This is an informal, tabletop show, opening to the public at 10 am. The show area was being set up at about 8 am, and dealers started preparing their booths about 8:30 am – after shopping each other’s vans in the parking lot, reminiscent of the early days at Brimfield when buyers went from van to van before dealers unloaded.
For the most part, there were no large pieces of furniture, but offerings included small furniture, early ceramics, early lighting, early glass, folk art, decoys, Halloween and Christmas items, baskets, Dedham pottery, redware, textiles, paintings and a variety of oddities. One of the more interesting pieces of folk art was a carved Indian countertop cigar store figure. With headdress, cigars and a tomahawk in his belt, the figure was priced at $450 by John Bourne, Pittsford, Vt. It had a natural surface and did not appear to have ever been painted.
Another unusual and reasonably priced carving was in the booth of Brian Cullity, Sagamore, Mass. It was a life-size, realistic carving of a man’s work boot. It had a carved heel, shoelace and a toe that appeared to be quite worn. But what made it really unusual was that there were also three well-carved mice on the boot. Cullity said it was in a lot at an auction. He could not identify the wood, which was probably European, and priced it at $175. There must be a story that goes with this item, but we’ll probably never know. A particularly well-carved and well-worn child’s hobby horse was in the booth of Bill Gittes.
Bob Jessen and Jim Hohnwald, Fitzwilliam, N.H., and a nice fireboard that had been reframed for easy hanging. “Vision of America” portrayed a landscape with a river, a small boat, two well-dressed people on shore, a building and plenty of trees. The dealers believed it dated to the late 1800s and that it probably had originated in New England or New York state. It was priced at $2,500. Also for the wall was an Audubon engraving, “Smew or White Nun Duck,” from the 1836 Havell edition, Plate 347 in Birds of America. “The Smew is a bird of extremely rare occurrence in the United States, insomuch that it must be considered merely as a transient or accidental visiter. [sic]. The only specimen procured by me was shot by myself on Lake Barataria, not far from New Orleans, in the winter of 1819. It was an adult female in fine plumage. How it had wandered so far south is an enigma to me; but having found it, and made a drawing of it on the spot, I have taken the liberty to add one of the other sex from an equally fine specimen.” Bill Ralph, Rowley, Mass., priced it at $6,200.
Ross Levett, Thomaston, Maine, had a Modernist work by Rico Lebrun (1900-1964), who studied and worked in Italy and the United States. His works are in several museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and others. Levett said it was signed and dated 1961, and he was asking $3,800.
Other interesting items included a set of 32 cabinet-sized photographs of public buildings in Washington, DC. They were taken by J.M. Davis in the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century, in fine condition, and the group was priced at $360 by Mark Brightman, Lunenburg, Mass.
The Curiosity Shop, Parsonfield, Maine, had a small collection of knives and swords. Some were made in the United States, while some were European. Prices ranged from $175 to $800. Emmons and Martin, Essex, Mass., had a group of vintage black hats worn by equestrians. They were priced between $75 and $150.
A few days after the show, Mavris said that he was particularly pleased with the quality of the offerings. “We had about the same attendance we’ve had in the past, and it’s good to see a lot of dealers shopping the show. Everyone brought good stuff and most of it has not been out before. That’s what I like to see from the exhibitors – fresh stuff. We had good folk art, good early ceramics and glass and a bunch of unusual things. I expect that there will be a few more exhibitors next month. Our next show will be Sunday, November 17, there’ll be one in December and then we’ll have our New Year’s Day show. That’s always been a good one. We’ll go through April, as we have in the past. I’m doing more now with promoting the shows on social media. I’ve hired someone to do that for us and I expect that will help us draw more buyers.”
There were positive comments from dealers, as well, before the show opened. “It’s an easy load in.” “The facility is neat, clean and well lit” were some of the comments.
Best Western Plus the Inn at Hampton is at 815 Lafayette Road. For more information, www.petermavrisantiqueshows.com or 207-608-3086.
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