Published: August 21, 2007
One of the prettiest shows around, which began only last summer, returned this year July 28 and 29 to the lush 36-acre Elm Bank estate, the headquarters of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society along the Charles River.
Dealers numbered 150 at Antiques at Elm Bank Estate, and they set up in booths inside the elegant Manor House and the Hunnewell Building opposite or in white tents clustered along the pathways bordering the gardens between them. They were situated strategically to afford maximum exposure for dealers and maximum shopping opportunities for visitors. An added bonus was the proximity of the estate’s exquisite gardens, the fragrance from which floated on the air. They themselves drew many show visitors, and even a few dealers, taking a break from brisk trading. A more pleasant respite would be hard to find.
The gate was up and so was the level of enthusiasm. Dealers commended show producer Marvin Getman of New England Antique Shows, who organized the event with the precision of a military commander. No detail was left to chance, except for the weather †and that could have posed major problems. Just three miles away, wind and water caused trees to fall and roofs to blow off houses. At Elm Bank, people took cover from the occasional deluge by ducking into a booth or a building. A few were prescient enough to carry umbrellas. Getman said after the show that “a bullet had been dodged.”
Between the showers the sun appeared and business continued uninterrupted.
Buying began early; sold tags proliferated just as rapidly. One of the busiest booths was not selling antiques †Gentle Giant, the Boston moving company, was on hand to arrange transport of objects down to the parking lot or the shipment of large pieces. Red-shirted staffers were everywhere, packing and moving purchases.
J&M Antiques held down the corner booth at the entrance to the Hunnewell Building, so named for the major benefactor and longtime director of the horticultural society, Horatio Hollis Hunnewell. Jerry and Marsha Ritch, who operate J&M Antiques, brought a dandy Sheraton tiger maple server that drew a lot of eyes. About 30 minutes into the show, Jerry Ritch said they had made a number of sales. They had also attached a sold sticker to the Hunnewell portrait above their booth. (It belonged to Elm Bank and was not for sale.)
They also showed several New England maple stands, silhouettes and examples of Nineteenth Century lighting, such as kerosene and oil lamps, student lamps and chandeliers. They had a rare and sturdy Windsor high chair that was of high interest.
Among the appetizing smalls in the booth of Bridport, Vt., dealer Brookside Antiques was a selection of watercolors that included a portrait of a cat with eerie human features. A redware plate was marked “Mutton” to indicate its purpose, and early lighting was of interest, as was the array of arrowheads.
Garden ornaments on offer at Desjardins Antiques of Ware, Mass., included some vintage iron garden sprinklers and some cast iron fence sections that echoed the setting.
A pyrographic chair and taboret decorated lavishly with flowering iris welcomed buyers to the booth of Cranston, R.I., dealer Court Street Place Antiques, which also offered a selection of blue and green Weller pottery and a range of Weller Elberta pieces.
The Boston Antiques Coop, a Beacon Hill fixture for more than a quarter of a century, enjoyed a constant stream of business. Packing up purchases for buyers was a constant project. The dealer sold several high-ticket paintings and drawings and a case of perfume bottles; daguerreotypes, netsuke and glass objects attracted some interest.
Westport, Mass., dealer Pat’s Pots specializes in art pottery and offered choice pieces by Catalina, Weller, Longwy and Roseville, along with a handsome set of American Encaustic tiles from a fireplace surround. A standout face jug by contemporary Catawba Valley, N.C., artist Michelle D. Flowers had double handles and a speckled glaze and it called out to buyers.
Bell-Time Clocks of Andover, Mass., had a very good show, attested to by some open space on the walls of the booth. Action was constant. Proprietor Bob Frishman enumerated a few of the nine sales he had made: a round French tole clock from about 1850; a New Haven mini column and cornice example; an Ithaca “Shelf Cottage” calendar clock; a Waltham library clock; an Ingraham “Colby” mantel clock; a French marble Egyptian-motif mantel clock; an Ansonia “Tonquin” China clock and a two-weight Vienna regulator. Will Bell-Time be back next year? Cannot imagine why not.
Hudson Valley dealers The Golden Princess and the Silver Fox had a dome top toolbox with two drawers lined carefully with old navigational charts. They also showed a painting in the style of Rufus Porter.
Briar Rose Antiques of Plymouth, Mass., showed Continental and Continental-style fireplace surrounds and mantels, fireplace mirrors and floral-form chandeliers. There was also a nice old spaniel-form garden ornament.
Alley Antiques and Collectibles of Pelham, N.H., a regular at New England antiques shows, offered two fine banister back chairs with vigorously carved crests: a side chair had a needlepoint seat and an armchair with a rush seat. There was also an intriguing suite of miniature bedroom furniture that included a bed, a table and chair, and a Victorian-style dresser with a mirror. A cherry step back cupboard with two glazed doors over two drawers above two doors attracted some more than casual interest.
Paintings dealer Donna Kmetz of Douglas, Mass., who specializes in New England paintings, wrote the following in an e-mail to Marvin Getman: “With a particular customer in mind †at Elm Bank †I brought a wonderful large gouache by Francis Hopkinson Smith painted in 1879. While this customer didn’t have the space for it, another young couple fell in love with it and returned just before the show closed to buy it. At $3,400, this was an excellent value †the work was pristine and the artist has auction records of more than $40,000.”
Tradewinds Fine Art of Narragansett, R.I., was exceptionally busy and there was much to choose from. A Charles Woodbury beach scene that Steve and Doris McKell only picked up on their way to Wellesley was sold very early in the show. Tradewinds had some fine Rhode Island pictures, including a Newport Harbor scene by Edmund Darch Lewis. The McKells also displayed American Impressionistic works, Hudson River views, a Connecticut Impressionist painting and a Nineteenth Century Fall River school still life. Sold stickers were much in evidence.
Boston dealer P.D. Murphy, who did the Elm Bank show for the first time but has shown at other Getman productions, was sufficiently pleased to look forward to doing the show again next year. He said, “Marvin runs a wonderful show.” Murphy showed an English mahogany lady’s secretary with eglomise panels cheek by jowl with an English satinwood lady’s writing desk. There was also a circa 1851 Austrian wardrobe with four recessed panels, each of which was painted with a vase of different flowers and two Chinese panels embroidered with the forbidden stitch.
Ingeborg Gallery of Northfield, Mass., is the exclusive representative of the estates of the artists Ella Fillmore Lillie, a Vermont lithographer; abstract realist Paul Hollister; and New York artist Mortimer Born. The gallery is also the representative of the estate of The New Yorker magazine’s Esther Pressoir Ingeborg and sold one of her oil paintings for $3,000 during the show.
The popularity of the art pottery offered by Cape Cod dealers Meg Chalmers and Judy Young, who operate as Crones Collectibles, was attested to by a consistent crowd in their booth.
Dark Flowers Antiques of Northwood, N.H., brought along a colorful array of painted and signed pottery blanks. There was also a striking Zsolnay lobster and snake plate.
Needham, Mass., dealer Miscellany †Antiques and the Unusual brought along some excellent folk art pieces. A make-do checkerboard drawn on the bottom of a drawer, probably with boot black, stirred interest, as did an eared trencher with many careful, and a few not so careful, repairs. Miscellany also showed a banister back rocking chair with an angel carving on the crest and hex signs on the hand rests. It was not a conversion.
Resser-Thorner Antiques came from Manchester, N.H., with a real head turner: an engraving of the late Old Man of the Mountain at Franconia Notch, N.H., that fell off his perch in 2003. Since the rock formation crashed, images are of greater interest than previously.
Bruce Block of Antique Underground in Syracuse, N.Y., had prints and drawings and was pleased to report the sale of a Paul Cadmus drawing.
John Malchione of Malchione Sporting Antiques of Kennett Square, Penn., had already had some “serious sales” early in the show. He showed a late Nineteenth Century Elkin Mountain duck, some fine fish decoys and a circa 1900 English salmon gaff. Pride of place went to a handsome creel made by the George Lawrence Company of Portland, Ore. Another gem was the fishing chair in which it sat.
For information, 781-862-4039 or www.neantiqueshows.com .
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