Published: October 25, 2011
“We gave it a lot of thought, talked it over with the dealers, and it worked well,” Karen DiSaia, show manager said, referring to the date change this year for the annual ADA/Historic Deerfield Antiques Show. The two-day show, regularly scheduled for a Saturday opening, this year opened on Sunday, October 9, to avoid Yom Kippur, and continued into Monday. “We had a record opening day crowd on Sunday, and our Monday gate was equal to our usual Sunday,” Karen said, “and much to our surprise, nobody showed up on Saturday.” The new dates were widely advertised and apparently people took notice.
The show was a strong display of Americana, beautifully presented by many of the best known dealers in that field, with a wide spectrum of material to satisfy most any serious collector. Dealers came from 12 states with painted and original finish furniture, lots of hooked rugs, pottery of all types, paintings and prints, folk art and rugs, and, according to reports, visitors to the show were pleased. However, as more than one of the exhibitors mentioned, “People loved what they saw, spent lots of time here, but were not really in a spending mood.” Several of the dealers said they had good shows, but it was not the norm.
The show sets up in the ice rink at Deerfield Academy, a perfect pillar-free building for the show on the grounds of this well-known and popular school. And as an added treat, visitors can either walk or drive past the wonderful historic houses that make up Historic Deerfield, as well as visit the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. Admission to the center is included in the show ticket, $12, and many of the old homes are also open for tours.
For those who turned to the left upon entering the building, Peter H. Eaton Antiques, Inc, and Joan R. Brownstein, Newbury, Mass., were there in the first booth with a collection of furniture and paintings. A country Queen Anne chest on frame from the Mack family of East Haddam, Conn., circa 1785, measuring 57 inches high and 36¼ inches wide, was offered, along with a Queen Anne two-drawer blanket chest, dovetailed, cutout skirt with center drop, in the original Spanish brown paint. This Connecticut River Valley piece, of strong tiger maple, dates circa 1750‱760. A pair of portraits, attributed to Milton W. Hopkins, descended in the family of Frederick Baker whose ancestors were among the early settlers of Pompey Hill, N.Y. Both subjects are seated with a fringed, red swaged drapery in the background.
A impressive and large pewter candlestick, 24 inches tall and meant possibly for church use or a trade sign, was shown by Samuel Herrup of Sheffield, Mass. The form of the stick was late Seventeenth Century, but the piece was Nineteenth Century or earlier. Dating from the late Nineteenth Century was a store display for men’s shirts, a beautifully crafted piece that displayed three shirts and today would comfortably fit into the world of Turnbull & Asser. A large Salem County, N.J., birth and family record, attributed to E.F. Firth, circa 1830, one of two known by this hand, recorded the marriage and family of William Robinson and Rebecca Patterson. It measures 16½ by 21 inches sight.
An eagle-headed infantry officer’s saber from the War of 1812 was shown by Sumpter Priddy III, Alexandria, Va. Measuring 355/8 inches long, the piece was manufactured in Pittsburgh, 1810‱820. A New England pedimented desk and bookcase, probably from western Massachusetts, circa 1780‱800, was in cherry and measured 941/8 inches tall.
Tiger maple is the preference of Ted and Jennifer Fuehr of American Spirit Antiques, Shawnee Mission, Kan., offering a set of four American classical side chairs with rolled and shaped crest over vase-form splat, cane seats, saber legs and old finish. The set was probably of Vermont origin, circa 1825‱835. Complementing the chairs was a New England drop leaf table with rectangular top and tapering legs. It, too, was of tiger maple, with two deep board leaves when open measuring 40 by 54 inches. The table was 29 inches high and dated circa 1800‱815.
The tag read “John Samuel Blunt’s (1798‱835) masterpiece” and referred to a portrait of a young lady seated in a red wing chair, adorned with a lace collar and several pieces of what looked to be expensive jewelry. This oil on canvas, circa 1830‱835, measured 331/8 by 281/8 inches sight, and was from either Massachusetts, Maine or New Hampshire. It was shown by Don Olson of Rochester, N.Y., who also offered a child’s settle in the original paint, New England, dating from the early Nineteenth Century. In white pine and constructed with early cut nails, it measured 33 inches high and retained the old dry red paint.
Barbara Ardizone of Salisbury, Conn., had a nice size country stepback cupboard, 81½ inches tall, dovetailed with the original pulls. Two glass doors were in the top section, with one long drawer and two cupboard doors in the bottom. Adding color to the booth was a yellow, green and black carved bird on the top of a walking stick, and a sewing stand, two tiers high, lots of finials and bright colors. It dated from the Nineteenth Century and was of New England origin.
A circa 1820 portrait of a sea captain that descended in an early Philadelphia family, painted by Thomas Sully according to family history, ship in the background, hung in the booth of Mad River Antiques, LLC, of North Granby, Conn. A good number of cobalt decorated stoneware was offered, including a piece the showed an eagle with “Union For Ever” written under it. The crock dated from the Civil War era and was by W.A. MacQuoid & Co., New York City.
A small Queen Anne tavern table with old surface, New England origin, button feet, turned legs, one drawer, and dating from the mid-Eighteenth Century, was shown by Stephen-Douglas Antiques of Rockingham, Vt. A Saco, Maine, four-drawer chest, painted to imitate inlaid woods, retained the original brasses and a decorated dome top box was lined with a Concord, N.H., newspaper dated 1816. “We had a pretty good show,” Doug Jackman said, listing sales that included a weaver’s bench, a decorated dome top box, an iron chandelier, a cast iron child’s toy and an early map of Vermont.
The booth of Fiske & Freeman of Ipswich, Mass., was filled with English furniture and accessories, and surrounded by booths chockfull of Americana. Regardless, they did very well, selling three pieces of furniture: a circa 1670 small desk, a gate leg table and a mid-Seventeenth Century lift top chest.
A nice New England William and Mary maple spice box with bold raised panel door and ball feet, the interior fitted with five drawers with tiger maple drawer fronts, was in the booth of Van Tassel-Baumann of Malvern, Penn. Among the pieces of furniture shown was a Delaware Valley mahogany suppressed ball birdcage candlestand from a Salem County, N.J., family. It was all original, with no restoration.
One of the corner booths made an ideal location for Kirtland Crump of Madison, Conn., to show off his collection of clocks, including a Federal inlaid tall case clock by Solomon Parke of Philadelphia, mahogany, circa 1800, with swan’s neck pediment and eight-day brass movement. It measured 8 feet 2 inches. A rosewood Venetian mantel clock by Ingraham Clock Co., circa 1875, also had an eight-day brass movement.
A wooden display stand was weighted down with doorstops, including a toy soldier and a squirrel, in the booth of A Bird In Hand of Florham Park, N.J. A bronze elk sculpture, signed E. Forst (1873‱943), dated circa 1920s, was cast at the Kraas Sildouss foundry. Ten pieces of stoneware show some sort of blue cobalt decoration, and a set of five flatty yellow-leg shorebirds were once used in Provincetown, Mass.
It took a 9-foot-long sawbuck table, mid-Nineteenth Century, original red surface, to accommodate several collections, including large wooden bowls, Shaker boxes, many examples of blown glass, baskets and bottles in the booth of Greg Kramer & Company of Robesonia, Penn. Attracting a great deal of attention at the front of the booth, however, was a full-bodied cat, in a dress and glasses, standing on a candlestand. This folk art windup mechanical figure dated from the late Nineteenth Century and was probably German.
Jewett-Berdan of Newcastle, Maine, seems to have an endless supply of hooked rugs, and this time out sold a couple and still had three of the walls ready to go. An oversized bird and tulip on a hit-or-miss background dominated the center of one of the rugs, while a large one, measuring 40 inches by 7 feet 10 inches, showed two standing and facing dogs surrounded by a floral pattern. This rug, on burlap, dated circa 1890. A circa 1850 small sawbuck table in blue/gray paint was shown under the rug, and to the right was a large wooden hat box with floral decoration in the front. “We have done okay,” Butch Berdan said, noting sales of a theorem, a decorated document box and a Vermont decorated chest.
Elizabethtown, Penn., exhibitor Steven Still offered a pair of shell-carved Chippendale side chairs in mahogany, Massachusetts, circa 1780, with the original seat frames, and a paint decorated child’s blanket chest from Lancaster County, Penn., circa 1840.
Among the paintings in the booth of Gary Langenbach, Kingston, Mass., was a still life with vegetables, “The Garden Bounty,” by Samuel Lancaster Gerry (1813‱891). This oil on wood panel measured 16 by 20 inches and was signed and dated lower left.
One of several beds at the show was in the booth of Elliott and Grace Snyder, South Egremont, Mass., a New England Federal tall post example in red paint, circa 1820. On it was an embroidered bed cover, dated 1836, 84 by 96 inches, with the original fringe and in excellent condition. Hearts and stars in vibrant red and subtle earthtones were the subject of a hooked rug, wool on burlap, circa 1875, that measured 37 by 32 inches.
Redware, in many shapes, sizes and colors, filled several shelves in the booth of David Good, Camden, Ohio, and Samuel Forsythe, Columbus, Ohio. Adding to the variety of objects offered was a circa 1820 New England wallpaper hat box in blue with gold and black decoration, a rare pair of banister back armchairs from Stratford, Conn., and a theorem from the Dyer family of Boston, circa 1830, depicting a large cut watermelon surrounded by various other pieces of fruit.
Shaker dominated the booth of John Keith Russell, South Salem, N.Y., including a Shaker rocking armchair with flame-shaped finials, four arched slats in birch with an old brown stain. The chair came from Enfield, N.H., circa 1830, and is one of the few known examples to survive. A Shaker five-drawer blanket chest with three graduated working drawers in pine, fitted till, wooden pulls, old shellac surface, circa 1840, came from Canterbury, N.H. It was ex-collection of Susan Fuller Albright of Buffalo, N.Y.
Two large fish, painted by John Bucknell Russell (1820‱893), a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, and known for painting fish native to Scottish rivers, hung in the booth of James M. Kilvington of Dover, Del. Among his furniture was a paint decorated blanket chest from Lancaster County, Penn., bright yellow ground with thumblike design all over, circa 1840, on ball feet. An English elm lambing chair dated circa 1750.
Jeffrey Tillou Antiques of Litchfield, Conn., showed a Hepplewhite inlaid Pembroke table, North Shore, Mass., circa 1790‱800, with a possible attribution to Daniel Clay, Essex, Mass. It was in mahogany with the original brasses. A diminutive settle bench of New England origin, circa 1780‱800, was of Eastern white pine with painted surface and measured 54½ inches high, 59 inches wide and 16¾ inches deep. It was found on Cape Cod. On a side wall was mounted a lyre-form banner weathervane of sheet copper with cast zinc arrowhead. It retained traces of the original gilt.
It appeared as if Wayne and Phyllis Hilt of Haddam Neck, Conn., had cornered the pewter porringer market, with 15 displayed on one side wall, and 14 on the facing wall. Leaning against the back wall were two muskets, a US Model 1842 percussion smooth bore musket, manufactured in 1848 at the Springfield Armory, and an 1861 Trenton, N.J., contract rifled musket that was dated 1863.
Philadelphia dealer M. Finkel & Daughter had all wall space hung with samplers, including a rare Massachusetts canvas work picture by Elizabeth Newsam, dated 1753, depicting two standing people surrounded by flowers. A similar example is in the collection of Historic Deerfield. An American settee, circa 1825, is attributed to Daniel Morrill, Meriden, N.H., of yellow birch and white pine with the original painted surface.
Nathan Liverant and Son Antiques, Colchester, Conn., offered a set of six Windsor armchairs with pipe stem turned brace back, mahogany arms, rare upholstered seats and in the original condition. Of Rhode Island origin, they date circa 1760‱785. The chairs were placed around a rare William and Mary pine and maple hutch table with a large, round scrubbed top and bulbous turned base with scrolled handholds. From New England, it dated circa 1750‱775. Among sales, a wood carved whale measuring 36 inches long went to a new home, as did a portrait of John Hancock.
John Hart Marshall of Westhampton, Mass., had a painted two-drawer blanket chest in pine, New York State, circa 1820‱840, with red paint outlining the two real and two fake drawers. An early trade sign advertised the firm of Marden Insurance, General Agency, Prompt Service. It featured gold lettering on a sandpaper ground.
Another 3-foot wooden whale was shown in the booth of Axtell Antiques, Deposit, N.Y., this one with unpainted surface and Bennington marble eyes. “We have seen lots of interest in that Iroquois eagle effigy eating scoop,” Smitty Axtell said, pointing out the carved maple piece from New York State that dated from the Eighteenth Century. “Things are not moving very fast, but we have sold some smalls, including high-end woodenware, a piece of forged iron, some butter stamps and a couple of lighting devises,” he said.
Hilary and Paulette Nolan, Falmouth, Mass., had two interesting woodenware pieces, a yellow painted carrier with carved handle, decorated with green swags, New England, signed and dated 1834, and a large oval box with carved laps and the original painted surface of orange and black on a white ground. It dated from the late Eighteenth Century and was probably from Pennsylvania. “We have sold quite a few things,” Hilary said, including “a dog hooked rug that we took out of our collection, a Windsor bowback armchair in the original painted surface, a rare lantern and a two-part Sheraton mirror.”
Colette Donovan of Merrimacport, Mass., centered a blue painted maple bed with pine headboard in her booth, a piece that dated circa 1750‱780 and was of New England origin, probably Massachusetts. She had sold some early fabrics, a wall box and several pieces of iron, but had not sold a long wood and iron eel separator, a most unusual implement that was used by eel fishermen in years past. It measures about 11 feet long and “just fits in my van.”
Stephen and Carol Huber, Old Saybrook, Conn., experts in the field of needlework, offered three walls of samplers, including a rare example of Jeptha’s Rash Vow, a circa 1820 piece executed in Hartford, Conn. It was by a student at Lydia Royse’s School, silk and watercolor on silk, 26½ by 29 inches, and in a Spencer and Gilman frame. Mixed in with the samplers were three ink and watercolors on paper, including a map of the United States, circa 1825. When asked how business was, Stephen, with a broad smile, said, “We have sold 20 samplers.” Carol confirmed it, noting, however, it was a box lot they had put together. “It was still 20 samplers,” Stephen insisted.
“Cats are hot” is the word that came out of the booth of Newsom & Berdan of Thomasville, Penn., backed up by the sale of a painting of a cat and a hooked rug depicting a cat. And in addition, Michael Newsom mentioned sales that included a set of four Windsor side chairs, a hooked rug with chickens, a game board, some textiles and a Chippendale table.
Historic Deerfield, hoping that some people would come to the area and spend the weekend, as they have done in the past, made sure there were things to be done on Saturday in place of the show’s opening. Two special workshops were planned, the first given by Philip Zea on Deerfield Furniture, followed by Amanda Lange leading visitors through New England Silver.
“ADA and Historic Deerfield are a perfect match, we work well together, complement each other, and this location is fine for a great show, and we do have a great show,” Arthur Liverant said. He went on to point out that ADA has tried other locations, namely Springfield, Mass., and White Plains, N.Y., “but nothing works as well as what we have now †top dealers, the best location and a great partner.”
And for those who think ahead, next year the show returns to its regular schedule, opening Saturday and running through Sunday.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm