Nan Gurley has created a series of new shows at Frank Jones Center this season. On January 7, she conducted the second of three events. The facility is the only location left in an easily accessible area of the seacoast that can accommodate such an event, and as a full-time catering hall, its availability is limited. Shows, therefore, have been scheduled as in-and-out on the one day only.
The first show in this series, conducted in October 2006, was sold out of booth spaces with about 44 dealers. This time, in order to find room for a few more friends, Gurley filled the lobby and the big access doorway with dealers for a total of 47 exhibitors. In addition to a full house of exhibitors, Gurley said, “The gate was excellent, more even than we had in October.” She added, “They came here to buy, not just to pass the time, because my dealers were very pleased with their sales.”
Martin Ferrick, who had the first booth inside the ballroom, echoed the sentiment that the crowd was good and so were sales. This dealer from the eastern seacoast town of Addison, Maine, came with furniture, including an early American Pembroke table and a Sheraton-inspired fall front desk in red milk paint priced at $495.
Next to him was Plainfield, N.H., dealer Robert Hay with a collection of both big and little antiques. There was a Nineteenth Century barber’s pole next to a William and Mary child’s chair; several early boxes, small ones that probably were dower chests, and some early porcelain.
Space was so tight for the dealers that some made new partnerships just to be able to exhibit. Betty Turney from Saco, Maine, and Patricia Stauble, Wiscasset, Maine, were sharing the space with their collections of small antiques. There were some hooked mats and treen, including a turned and carved apple container, an early hand painted toleware tray and some baskets among the offerings in their collections. Another of the many Mainers in the show, Bill Kelly from Limington was offering a collection of furniture, including a Martha Washington-style arm chair in leather covering and an early chest of drawers in cherry. Also from Limington, Tom Joseph had a wide array of antiques to offer. In the front of his exhibition was a rope-turned-leg vanity stand with step back drawers in mahogany of Sheraton to regency design. Emery and Jude Nickerson, Swanville, Maine, were offering a collection of small antiques and folk art in the lobby.
There is no single motif for articles offered at a Nan Gurley show except that they represent antiques that were used in early American life. Susan Gault, Thetford Center, Vt., was offering, among other things, three of her door knockers — a parrot, an owl and a flower basket. Bud Tulley, Dunstable, Mass., was exhibiting a large assortment of Staffordshire figurines, including the popular dogs, and this collection became the centerpiece of his exhibit after he sold a set of Chippendale chairs.
A weaver’s chair was prominently displayed by Wiscasset dealer Gail White. She said that based upon its construction details, including the “large size of the posts, the double stretchers and the finials, it is William and Mary period and style.” She added that the prior owner also said it was from that period, and it was being offered at $2,900.
There was a charming set for a small kitchen in Bill Bakeman’s space. The two chairs were both Eighteenth Century ladder back arm chairs, one from Massachusetts North Shore at $1,150 and the other from New Haven for $585. They were placed at a small New England tavern table of the same age and priced by the Wilbraham, Mass., dealer at $1,500. Bakeman also had several valuable small antiques, including an early toleware tea caddy painted with a colorful bird from either the Filly Shop in Bloomfield, Conn., or by a student from that shop.
Glen and Jenni Rice from Higganum, Conn., were offering a large assortment of early lighting. Brian Shea had a table filled with miniature objects, along with a child’s chair. This Saugus, Mass., dealer had some fine art and full size furniture as well.
New Hampshire was well represented at the affair. Suzanne Bullitt of Hollis came with furniture and an early blanket chest in blue-green milk paint. Pat Reese and her husband, John Rice, from Portsmouth exhibit only with small antiques. Their sales were good, according to Reese. Candlewick Antiques is John Anderson’s business from Milford. His centerpiece was an early barrel backed corner cupboard with shaped shelves and opening, about 7 feet tall. There was a hooked rug made in the pattern of a Persian rug, offered by Joseph Prakop from Exeter.
Gurley and her husband, Peter Mavris, always exhibit at their shows, but the demand for dealer space was so strong they were having a hard time finding a place to set up. Finally, Gurley decided to use the service entry bay, unloading and setting up in the last few minutes before the show opened.
The popularity of the show has many dealers urging her to have more than just the three. Her response has been that “it is working so well because there are only three shows here, so for now that is how we will keep it.” Her next events are the Boxboro show on February 4, and she will return to the Frank Jones Center in Portsmouth on March 4. While there is a waiting list for the March show, Gurley said there were a few spaces left for Boxboro’s larger facility. For information, 207-625-3577.