Published: June 20, 2006
Intermittent drizzle dampened the verdant grounds skirting Ridgefield’s historic Lounsbury House, but that did not take the starch out of the hardy band of antiques dealers who came to show and sell at the outdoor 44th Ridgefield Antiques Market on June 3. “The rain held off until about 1:30, and by then most business was done,” said Corinne Burke, the show’s manager and an antiques dealer based in Ridgefield. Burke said that approximately 70 of the 89 exhibitors who had signed up for the show were set up and doing business throughout the day at the Community Center at 316 Main Street.
The higher ground afforded by the Community Center venue was a good thing. In earlier years, when the show took place on the playing fields below the Community Center, there was at least one occasion when it rained and a tow truck was required to extract the exhibitors at day’s end. Burke, in fact, recalled that she was one of them.
This year, only four dealers had to be towed out, includingfirst-time show participants Slocum & Schaffner Antiques ofWest Tisbury, Mass. They ended up setting down their wares on theMarket Street field south of the Community Center. Despite the muckaround them, Bruce Schaffner and Sue Slocum Angeley cheerfullydisplayed a nice selection of American antiques, including a QueenAnn maple lowboy from the mid-1700s and a Chippendale cherryfour-drawer chest, circa 1760-80. The dealers are new to theantiques show circuit, having closed their shop in Martha’sVineyard and taken their “show” on the road beginning this pastJanuary.
Another newcomer was Eric Stang, who had motored down from Portland, Maine. Among his American and Continental furniture treasures was a pair of Edwardian satinwood drum tables with mahogany inlay.
It was not her first show, but the first Ridgefield outing for Connie Brown of Norwalk, Conn., who specializes in vintage quilts, linen and lace. She also set up in a different spot than she had reserved, but only by a few feet in order to avoid having her sizable tent poked by the overhanging branches of a large tree on the grounds. And, after wrangling with a portable generator, Brown was even able to light a brass chandelier to add sparkle to a bedroom tableau inside the tent. Her settings are so winsome, customers sometimes demand that she sell them the display bed, which means she must go out and find a new one.
The bravery of textile dealers at an outdoor show is matched only by that of print dealers, and there were two intrepid purveyors in this category at the show – Anne Hall Antique Prints of Sturbridge, Mass., and Maile’s Antiques, Poughquag, N.Y. Hall’s display was highlighted by several rooster prints, and Maile Allen added a selection of charming John James Audubon prints from the Viviparous Quadrupeds series of 1846 to her usual inventory of historical maps and prints. Featured were the American Black Bear, Little Harvest Mouse, Common Mouse and The Couger/Female and Young.
“I love the Ridgefield show for its country feel, friendlypeople and nice mix of dealers,” said Allen, who has been a showregular for 15 years. At the show’s midpoint she had already soldlocal maps, some small botanical prints and some New Yorkercovers.
Other longtime dealers included Jonathan and Iris Oseas of Van Deusen House, Hurley, N.Y., who specialize, respectively, in antique tools and English and Continental porcelain. The Oseases are virtually charter dealers of the Ridgefield show, having participated in the event for more than 40 years.
Some of the dealers were lined up in a parking lot next to the Community Center. In a reserved spot just in front of the center, conservator John Edward Clark advertised his Westport, Conn.-based antique furniture restoration business with a 1790s chest that was partially restored on top and untouched on its bottom half.
“There is a such need for museum-level restoration,” said Clark, who early in his teen years displayed a generational talent for working with wood, and who has more than 25 years of experience restoring furniture using old European and museum methods. He counts among his clients high net worth individuals and families in Greenwich and Darien, Conn., who avail themselves of his services of finishing, repair, in-home restoration and antique reproductions.
A Hong Kong platter by Charles Meigh, circa 1845, was a highlight in the booth of Splendor in the Glass, Harrison, N.Y. Proprietors Peter Raleigh and Stephen Nelson specialize in American Depression glassware, Flow Blue, transfer ware, American art pottery and china.
Also in the reserved dealer area blessed with a solid asphaltbase were Ron and Marilyn Saland of Scarsdale, N.Y. They had asix-board sea chest, circa 1810, in blue paint with its originalrope beckets, rosehead nails and dovetail construction.
“I spoke to the dealers after the show and all of them were very pleasant,” said Burke, who also praised the center’s executive director Stephanie Pelletier and the 15 or so volunteers for helping to stage the show and feed the dealers. “The dealers I spoke with all pointed out that I had no control over the weather, and one of them who did not come this year said, ‘but I definitely want a contract for next year.'”
Next year, indeed – rain or shine – the show will take place on the first Saturday in June. For information, 203-894-1921 or 203-438-6962.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm