Published: July 1, 2003
– “It seemed a bit strange seeing all of this material inside, well lit and against papered booth walls, instead of out on the lawn, under tents and often in the rain in the Adirondacks,” Jerry Oliver said as his new show opened on June 20 with a preview party at the Hunter Park Pavilion.
After several years in the planning stages, Jerry Oliver and his partner Michael Gannon brought together The American Museum of Fly Fishing and close to 70 dealers for a show that should have a bright future.
The show coincided with the annual meeting of the museum, a nationally accredited, educational institution dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of fly fishing. It was founded in 1968 in Manchester and is located next to the new Orvis headquarters on Route 7A. The preview was well attended, mostly by members of the museum, and just over 600 people came to the show on Saturday. “We had hoped for a larger gate,” Jerry said, “but those who came were enthusiastic and a good number of the dealers had many sales.” Michael Gannon said. “We had no complaints from the dealers and the facility is booked for next year. It appears that just about every dealer will be returning.”
While there were many similarities between this new show and the Adirondack event in the fall, the biggest difference was the number of sporting works of art available. With the threat of rain not in the forecast, dealers dug out their fish paintings, Hudson River scenes and views of campsites. Curries & Ives was well represented, especially in the booth of Field and Stream Antiques of Mansfield, Conn. In addition to three sets of oars with oarlocks, and a nice selection of rustic furniture including a pair of rocking chairs, C&I scenes included Bear Hunting, Pickerel, Partridge Shooting and Snipe Shooting.
David and Bonnie Ferris of Lake Luzerne, N.Y., hung a number of early signs in their booth, reminders of life in the 1920s. Typical of those one might see along a country road were “Rooms,” “Tourists,” “Glen-Rose Lodge” and “Fairhurst – Cocker Spaniels.” One table in this booth was cluttered with a quantity of fish and animal prints, all in gold leaf frames.
Jon Magoun of South Paris, Maine, is never without a canoe or two at a show and this time he showed one in the lobby of the pavilion. His booth was painted to simulate old boards and he offered a large selection of canoe paddles, some with painted decoration such as an American flag. A pair of oversize snowshoes was once used for advertising in an early sporting goods store, and a colorful hooked rug depicted a lighthouse and sailboat. A moose head looked down from the top support in the booth, and a pair of bear cubs was mounted in a playful manner. (“We had one complaint about the bears,” Jerry Oliver said, “and we advised the person not to come to the Adirondack show where all kinds of animals are presented.”)
John Robinson of Williamstown, Mass., offered a tin battery powered model of the ferry St Malo that ran between England and France. A Grenfell rug depicted a hunter overlooking a lake with a cabin in the background, and a small size, 75 inches high and 32 inches wide, corner cupboard was of English origin. It had dentil molding, open shelves in the top section and one paneled door in the lower. “I hope no one wants to see in the lower section,” John said, after admitting that it was locked and the key was in a safe place — in a plastic bag tacked to the back of the piece.
A large antler lamp hung in the center of the booth of The Fishing Room, West Cornwall, Conn., and a framed collection of fishing flies hung on the wall. One of the frames contained colorful Victorian bass flies, while the other three showed a collection of classic salmon flies. A large and colorful red and yellow bobbin was prominently displayed under a glass dome on a rustic table. Why the glass dome? “I had no other place to put the bobbin for the moment,” Fred Balling said.
Several Adirondack paintings hung in the booth of J&M Stone Antiques, Hamilton, N.Y., including an oil on canvas by Lena Underwood showing a tent beside a lake and a man in a canoe. An oil on board depicted a man fishing from the banks of a lake.
Kearsarge Lodge Antiques of Wilmot, N.H., also showed several fish paintings, including a pastel by Samuel Bickford, Claremont, N.H., circa 1900, of a salmon jumping. A brook trout, with fishing net and rod, was the subject of a Nineteenth Century painting, and an oil on canvas by Walter L. Steward of Monson, Maine, showed another brook trout. This work was signed and dated 1919.
The shelves and display cases were filled to capacity with carved bears, decoys, miniature snowshoes and Adirondack souvenirs in the booth of Tim Walker Antiques of York, Penn. It took two booths to display the many things brought to the show by Susan and Rod Bartha of Riverwoods, Ill. Their display included an early fishing canoe, a nice selection of fish paintings, many carvings, an early dog carrier made of wood and a store counter, circa 1890.
Loy Harrell of Hawk’s Nest Antiques and Decoys, Hinesburg, Vt., showed an important oil on canvas by M. Wayne Willis (1906-1992), from the estate of Harry Webb of Shelburne. This snow scene pictured a flock of birds in flight against a background that included an abandoned house and barn. A running horse weathervane, Colonel Patchen, with cast head and copper body, Harris & Co., was shown along with a small full-bodied vane of a pig. A pair of large cast bronze dogs flanked the booth, and sold on Saturday to a local resident.
While the pavilion has been booked for next year, the dates may still be in limbo. “We are considering a move to a week later in order to avoid other major shows,” Jerry Oliver said. He added, “We will know soon and it will be announced.”
Meanwhile, Oliver and Gannon will be busy with other shows including the Summer Antiques Show in Southampton, July 25-27. Their popular Adirondack Mountains Antiques Show, September 19-20, will have about 120 exhibitors and close to 70 percent of those who exhibited in Manchester Center will be at that show.
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