Rifle Hall Antiques Show, the first of all the antiques event in this small Texas village to debut in 1968, was again a success September 30 through October 4, under the direction of Ralph Willard, the owner since last October.
With 38 dealers in the building and about 20 more in the backyard tent the show was ” doing real well,” according to Willard. He has changed the focus slightly, he said, to make it “a community affair with a benefit preview opening for Future Farmers of America, a 4H Club sale of plants outside and a real good spirit from the local folks.”
Willard himself had been an exhibitor since the beginning, exhibiting twice each year until he bought it from Susan and Bo Franks, the second owners. Many dealers are regulars with attendance a part of their twice yearly schedules for most of the last 40 years.
Woody and Nancy Straub have been there practically “forever.” From Umatilla, Fla., their collection is early furniture and small antiques but also a large collection of fine art.
Painted furniture was available from many of the exhibitors. Melanie Johnson was showing an early blue jelly cupboard, circa 1840, with interesting split-turned columns at the sides and an interesting backsplash and turned feet; design elements which seemed to have been taken from Regency or even early Victorian ideas. Karen Buckingham offered a very large hutch, which, while it was probably a Texas original, had the design elements of a Welsh dresser, drawers and doors on the bottom, shelves with rails on top for the pewter or plates. Both these dealers are from Burleson, Texas.
June Ainsworth, Fulton, Texas, used her Pennsylvania hutch to show small antiques. Ron Hall was selling pewter and early porcelain from a blue painted double wide step back cupboard.
Dealers came to the show to sell and they brought what the market has been buying, according to Willard. Most exhibited large amounts of smalls, the accessories to the complete home furnishing. Jean Compton was showing a collection that included many boxes. There was a salesman’s sample Victorian chest of drawers, a miniature chest, some chip carved boxes and even a tramp art box, all from her gallery in Wimberly, Texas. Visitors found what C.R. Finds Antiques found for the show. This dealer from Colleyville, Texas, offered an early sugar chest, firkins, miniature blanket chests and carved figural animals. Lou McGee’s Antiques from Norman, Okla., was offering a fine collection of early silver hollowware.
Folk art was also available. Margy Newton had one setting in her booth with a small faux grain painted sideboard, a specially made horse pull toy, mirror and even a clock face all with folk art paint motifs. Newton is from Burton, Texas, but her antiques came from all over America.
A collection of fine rugs, both antique and vintage were offered by Paul and Shirley Cox of Salado, Texas.
Outside in the backyard of the Rifle Hall Association building was a large tent where another 20-some dealers were exhibiting their collections. As the dealers had more space to spread out their offerings, there was more late furniture in that part of the show. One exhibit was late Nineteenth Century furniture, another with early toys and still more offered linens and generalized collections.
Willard plans to continue to build the show from its present position, with more dealers in the tent as the building has been full for many years. In the spring the show will open Tuesday evening, March 31, for the preview and remain open daily through Saturday, April 4. For more information, call Ralph Willard at 214-826-2584.