Review and photos by R. Scudder Smith
PHILADELPHIA, PENN. — David and Dorothy Mallory of Charlotte, N.C., are avid collectors and serious showgoers. So after making the drive “north” to Philadelphia to visit the antiques shows over the first weekend in April, they made sure their time was well spent and arrived at the Navy Pier in time to secure a position at the head of the waiting line. “We really enjoy these shows as they are filled with good and interesting things,” Mr Mallory said.
Frank Gaglio of Barn Star Productions and manager of , is the first to agree with this evaluation. “We do everything we can to keep up the quality of our shows and we are very selective in the dealers we allow in,” Frank said. Concerning his April 4-6 show, he noted, “We get favorable comments from people from all parts of the country who attend this show. They like the mix of dealers and the high quality we try to maintain.” And people do come from many parts of the country for the Philadelphia Shows, witnessed by the lady from Oklahoma who won the book raffle.
Probably the only setback the show experienced was one that was totally out of the control of management. This weekend happened to be the opening of the baseball season in Philadelphia and people turned out in droves to see the game. Unfortunately, the ball stadium is just up Broad Street from the Naval Center, resulting in traffic jams. Exit 17, the closest exit to the navy piers, was closed for a period, making travel to the show more difficult. How much this effected the gate is uncertain, but attendance for the three days was down from last year.
In addition to the show, three appraisers were on hand to give free verbal assessments of rdf_Descriptions brought into the show. About 80 objects were looked at by Theodore Wiederseim, William H. Bunch and Barry S. Slosberg, including a fine New Jersey side chair, a good piece of Dedham pottery and a pair of nautical watercolors.
“We had the largest attendance ever for our lecture program,” Frank Gaglio said, when Dr Thomas A. Denenberg, the Richard Koopman curator of American decorative arts at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn., spoke on “Wallace Nutting’s Rediscovery of American Antiques.” A daily feature of the show was the Collector du Jour, a drawing of $250 to be spent on the floor donated by the show’s sponsor, Philadelphia Magazine and Philadelphia Magazine’s Home and Garden.
Items from their personal collection were offered by Pat and Rich Garthoeffner of Lititz, Penn., and many of these “fresh to the market” objects sold rapidly. Their first time out at the Navy Pier Show was a good experience, and a successful one. Rich took great pride is showing off a German reclining Indian chief skittles set, “the best example of the four known toys.” He mentioned he attended an auction many years ago when one of the toys came on the market. That example had a broken arm, “and I still bid up to $22,000 for it, and still did not get it.”
A sponge decorated New England dressing table, circa 1820, was shown at the back of the booth, and surrounding a drop leaf table at the front of the booth was a set of six arrow back side chairs from Maine, paint decorated, circa 1820-30. “These chairs have been in our house ever since we bought them at Heart of Country from Frank Gaglio when he had the gallery booth,” Pat said.
Joan Brownstein of Rye Beach, N.H., noted, “I had an excellent show, selling several pieces of furniture.” Among those sold was the largest piece in her booth, a country Chippendale secretary from the South Shore, Mass., with the case sides in maple and the front in mahogany. It had flame finials, measured seven feet half-inch tall, and dated circa 1785. A pair of pastel portraits and a chest-on-chest were also among the sold rdf_Descriptions. At the back of the booth was a pair of arrow back Windsor side chairs with township scenes painted on the top splat. A similar pair is in the American Folk Art Museum and the township is thought to be Worcester, Mass. In vibrant colors was a tole tray with still life decoration, an urn filled with flowers, in red, yellow and black. It dated circa 1880.
SAJE Americana of Short Hills, N.J., was back in the booth next to the show office offering a red painted chest of drawers, two short drawers over three long drawers, New Hampshire, Eighteenth Century, bracket base, and a Rhode Island or Massachusetts slant front desk in tiger maple and maple, circa 1780, 36 inches wide. Other furniture included a Hepplewhite chest of drawers in bird’s-eye maple and maple with shaped skirt and inlaid top edge, New England, circa 1800.
A pair of English globes, celestial and terrestrial, 18 inches high and 12 inches in diameter, by Dudley Adams, Fleet Street, London, was in the booth of Thomas Brown of McMurray, Penn. He also hung two portraits, one of a woman in lace cap holding a fan, circa 1820, oil on canvas, American, 25 by 27 inches, and the other a man holding a book, circa 1820-30. Both works had been relined. Furniture included a Connecticut slant front desk in cherry wood and pine, shell carved interior, ball and claw feet, circa 1780.
Folk art and paint were ever present in the booth of Rich Rasso of Hudson, N.Y. A carved and painted carousel figure of a camel, circa 1890, stood in the front of the booth, while on the back wall three flying geese in sheet metal, with traces of old paint, were the subject of a weathervane. A dower chest was featured in the center of the booth, Pennsylvania origin, signed and dated, in vivid paint, lettered “Jacob Lin 1823.”
Irvin and Delores Boyd Antiques of Fort Washington, Penn., showed a corner cupboard from South Eastern Pennsylvania, 7 feet 3 inches tall in poplar and some pine. It dated circa 1800-1830 and had one cathedral door in the top portion with 15 panes of glass. The cupboard had ogee feet and required a 331/2-inch corner. A William and Mary tavern table in maple and pine was of New England origin, circa 1730-60, with one board top, ring turnings and some traces of old paint.
A drop leaf table of the Queen Anne period, in maple with cabriole legs, circa 1760, with a running horse weathervane on top, was shown by American Spirit of Shawnee Mission, Kan. Also offered was a Rhode Island maple and figured maple tall chest with bracket base, 54 inches tall, circa 1780.
Norma Chick of Autumn Pond, Woodbury, Conn., once again had a farmyard of animals depicted on weathervanes, along with a large sheet metal sign in the form of a goose, polychromed, circa 1870, and of French origin. Early delft was displayed both on a mantel and in cases, and a large portrait by James Hope showed Beth with her balloon, a child in a white dress with red balloon. The artist worked in upper New York State and Vermont.
Elaine Buck of West Chester, Penn., displayed a very colorful hooked rug with three stars in the center, surrounded by a large braided border. On a platform at the front of the booth was a New England arrow back Windsor comb back armchair, dated 1842 on the underside of the seat, green with gold striping and sponge decorated seat.
Michael and Lucinda Seward of Pittsford, Vt., at noon on Friday reported, “We have had a grand show.” Dealers around them mentioned “we have watched them write one sales slip after the other” as they sold a four-drawer bow front chest, an early sampler, a cloth folk art doll, a rooster weathervane, a large hanging cupboard in red with blue painted interior, a large painting of a watermelon, a painting on tin of Lady Liberty, a tapered leg drop leaf table with one leaf and one drawer, and a couple of hooked rugs.
John Keith Russell of South Salem, N.Y., mentioned, “All of my sales have been Shaker rdf_Descriptions, and I am the only one in the show dealing in that material.” Two rocking chairs, an elder’s and a child’s, and a chest of drawers were among the furniture sold. Also finding buyers were Shaker smalls.
“One man came into my booth, looked around, and said ‘this is the only booth in the show without a weathervane’ and quickly moved on,” Selma Blum of Lisbon, Conn., said. Before the show closed on Sunday, however, people with other interests had discovered her large collection of brass, pottery and porcelain.
A large whale weathervane was placed in the middle of the booth of Harvey Art and Antiques, Evanston, Ill., an object that was once part of the Barbara Johnson whaling collection. This vane was made by Captain James Shearman during the mid- Nineteenth Century and for 125 years pointed the direction of the wind on top of a barn in Sidney, Maine. An Amish quilt, dating from the early Twentieth Century, was a log cabin or pineapple variation.
Among the rare rdf_Descriptions in the booth of Brant Mackley Gallery, Hummelstown, Penn., was a Naskapki ceremonial hunting robe, paint decorated caribou hide, circa 1910, one of ten known examples. Hanging next to it was a Cheyenne Indian willow twig teepee backrest with bead decorated drop, circa 1870, retaining the original Gothchalk Collection tag.
Russ and Karen Goldberger of Rye, N.H., once again showed an exceptional collection of carved birds, from life size working examples down to the fine carvings of Elmer Crowell. A full-bodied swan weathervane from the Coram Long Island Creamery, dry verdigris surface, circa 1890, was displayed on a New Hampshire apothecary with 36 drawers, circa 1830-50, 45 inches wide and 36 inches high, pine with an old blue painted surface. “They are among my favorite things and I do not mind taking them home,” Karen Goldberger said of the cast-iron pair of small whippets in front of the apothecary chest. The pair dated from the late Nineteenth Century, American, and were possibly salesman’s samples.
A fine tea table, possibly coastal Connecticut or New York State, 1720-40, was shown in the front of the booth of Pam and Martha Boynton of Groton, Mass. This table in maple had a one-board top, turned legs and pad feet. A chair table found in Kittery, Maine, 1800-1820, had a 45-inch-diameter top; and a R. Whiting tall-case clock, from the Spalding family, was decorated with three colors of paint, measuring seven feet three inches tall, the dial was decorated with a beehive and boat.
A four-piece African American bedroom set dominated the booth of Odd Fellows Antiques, Mt Vernon, Maine. This suite was made by Brooks Thompson, American Beach, Fla., circa 1920, for his daughter Martha for the apartment above her restaurant and lounge, The Plum Garden, in Fermandina, Fla. It consisted of a vanity with bench and two beds, all heavily carved and with green painted surface.
A sideboard/hunt board of southern yellow pine was against the back wall in the booth of Charlton Bradsher American Antiques of Ashville, N.C. It was made circa 1840 in Gainsville/Gillsville, Ga., and descended in the Martin family. A poplar, comb painted Dutch cupboard was from Center County, Penn., circa 1820, ex-Sadowski collection. The piece had two doors in the upper section, each with six lights, with three short drawers and two cabinets in the lower section.
A large hooked rug depicting a prancing horse hung above a New England settee in mustard paint, five feet long, Nineteenth Century, in the booth of Gloria Lonergan of Mendham, N.J. She also displayed one of the nicest small weathervanes on the floor, a pig on arrow with gilt surface.
Furniture was selling from the booth of Mario Pollo of Bearsville, N.Y. Among the pieces offered was a Queen Anne tea table, red painted surface, oval beveled top and splayed legs. Showing well against the black papered wall was a pair of barber poles, 48 inches long, dating from the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century.
Across the aisle Jenkinstown Antiques of New Paltz, N.Y., offered three paint-decorated doors from an Odd fellows Lodge in Schroon Lake, N.Y. A large wood carved and gilded eagle was displayed in the center of the booth.
“In all my years as a dealer I have seen only one other of this size,” Ed Weissman of Portsmouth, N.H., said of the bonnet top chest-on-chest in his booth. This piece, in cherry wood, was from either Hartford or Wethersfield, Conn., retained the original finials, had stylized carved pinwheels, and measured 81 inches tall. He also displayed a Hepplewhite slant front desk in birch, circa 1790-1810, 381/2 inches wide, with 12 pigeon holes over six drawers.
“I think they are wonderful and I really don’t care if I sell them,” Dick Costa of Costa and Currier, Portsmouth, N.H., said. He was speaking of two valances, carved wood with tassels and swags, that came out of a Massachusetts home. “I probably will not offer them again since I am toying with plans to incorporate them into a design for a loft I am considering,” he added.
The Costa/Currier booth is set up with precision, each object placed according to a preset plan. Backed by his years of experience in the field of design, Dick sets up his show booth at his gallery. “Frank has given us a booth in Mid-Week this year, a long, narrow space that is going to be more of a challenge,” he said. Before the objects head for Bedford, N.H., in August, however, there will be no question as to placement in the awaiting booth.
Painted furniture and folk art filled the booth of Barbara Ardizone, Salisbury, Conn. She offered a nice New England blanket chest in pine, green and yellow decoration, one drawer, circa 1820-30, and a pair of demilune tables, also of New England origin, in white paint and measuring 30 inches high. A cotton and wool hooked rug, Nineteenth century, depicted a pair of deer flanking a large tree.
Looking down from the corner of the Robert Snyder/Judy Wilson booth was a countertop cigar store Indian holding a cigar. It measured 42 inches tall, was found in Boston, and dated from the first quarter of the Twentieth Century. This Wiscasset, Maine, couple also offered a dovetailed blanket box in vibrant colors, yellow and ochre, 39 by 17 by 15 inches, and a pair of portraits of a brother and sister, both in white dresses, circa 1830, 191/2 by 16 inches, and in the original frames.
Three pencil post beds were offered at the show, one of them in the booth of A Bird in Hand, Short Hills, N.J. This bed in maple dated from the Eighteenth Century had been extended to queen size. A New England Indian birch bark canoe dated circa 1930 came from a home in Bennington, Vt. It was made for the summer tourist trade.
“I have had a good deal of interest in my furniture,” Pat Barger of Fairfield, Conn., said, referring in particular to her Queen Anne maple and tiger maple highboy that came from the Horne family of Dover, N.H. The piece dated circa 1730-40, retained the original brasses, cabriole legs with a shell carving in the lower short drawer. She also showed a Queen Anne Boston lowboy in walnut, with a 191/2- by 34-inch top.
“This show has been very good for me,” Michael Leslie of Port’N Starboard Gallery, Falmouth, Maine, said on Saturday. Listed among his sales were a Barger oil on canvas, a laptop desk, a Frank Adams ship weathervane from Martha’s Vineyard and a tugboat model. Still to be sold were a two-masted schooner weathervane dating from the early Twentieth Century, red, black and white painted with tin sails, and a portrait of the bark Gertrude A. Spencer, a signed oil on canvas by H.R. Butman, 1902. The schooner Right Away was pictured in an oil on canvas attributed to Elisha Taylor Baker. The schooner, depicted on a 22- by 34-inch canvas, was built in Hadlyme, Conn., 1870, and used New London and Portland as home ports.
A blue painted pencil post bed that came out of the Andy Warhol collection was shown by Jan Whitlock Textiles of Chadds Ford, Penn. An American country sofa, with walnut legs and early white fabric, dated from the Nineteenth Century; and one wall was covered by a large, 75- by 76-inch, Pennsylvania quilt decorated in red and green depicting urns and flowers.
Bill Powel traveled from Franklin, Tenn., to do the show and brought with him a varied collection of folk art including an early dollhouse complete with shutters and porch; a large fishing pole and reel with a wooden fish on the end; a former trade sign for a bait shop; and four large ceiling tiles from an Odd Fellows lodge. Each was decorated with a symbol of the lodge including the three-link chain, an eye, an arrow and a heart and hand.
“My friendship quilt from Callao, Mo., has attracted the most attention of anything in the booth,” Bill said, adding “it has been a good show for me and I look forward to joining Frank again at Mid-Week this August.” The quilt, circa 1800, included the images of flowers, animals and people and slogans such as “When My Ship Comes In,” “Mighty Mouse,” “Whose Little Girl Are You?” and “Mother Hubbard.”
“This is my first year here and sales have been good,” Bill said. An optician’s sign, a folk art stool decorated with cats and a good number of early toys were among first-day sales.
Six bow back Windsor side chairs were lined up in the booth of Raccoon Creek, Bridgeport, N.J. The turnings on these chairs suggest that they are closely related to some made in Philadelphia, circa 1790, attributed to Henzey. A Chippendale tall-case clock in walnut, painted dial, dated 1777, was made by a rare Woodbury, N.J., clockmaker, A. Middleton. On the wall hung an embroidered and stuffed American hearth rug, circa 1840, with the original fringe.
“Best bed I have seen in ages,” Don Buckley said of his pencil post example in original red. “It sold the first day and Gloria and I have made a number of sales since, making for a very good show,” he added. A breakfast table, dating from the Pilgrim century, maple and figured maple was made “somewhere between Boston and Portsmouth,” and an American School portrait of a lady with book, oil on canvas, possibly after Duvard, measured 30 by 40 inches sight.
San Antonio, Tex., dealer Jackie Radwin showed an early Nineteenth Century two-piece corner cupboard, Pennsylvania, with 12 lights in the single door in the upper section and with the original and rare pumpkin painted surface. A New England hutch table, blue over the original red, circa 1800, 40-inch-diameter top, and a set of four step down Windsor side chairs of Maine origin, circa 1815-20, three of them signed under the seat “J Long,” were among other furniture offerings.
Judd Gregory of Dorset, Vt., was all smiles on Saturday afternoon as he placed a “sold” sign on his New England Queen Anne highboy. The show also produced a good number of nonfurniture sales including several stoneware jugs, pottery, a needlework picture and an early portrait of a gentleman.
Susie and Rich Burmann of New London, N.H., were in complete unison about the show: “We are delighted with it.” Many sales were made during the first two days including a step back cupboard, a quilt, a set of eight watercolors depicting people and buildings, baskets and a set of skewers.
“One thing that came out of the show on a very positive note was a call I received from a member of the committee of The Philadelphia Antiques Show,” Frank Gaglio said. They were distributing Navy Pier Antiques Show flyers at their show and had run out. “They called and asked for more and I went right over with them,” Frank said. “The committee members and show manager Josh Wainwright were most cordial to me and gave me a pass to go onto the floor and see the show,” Frank added. “I hope this is a strong sign that we can really work hard together and make the shows in Philadelphia an even bigger attraction than they are now,” Frank concluded.