Published: April 16, 2002
The Connecticut Spring Antiques Show:
By Laura Beach
This was manager Linda Turner’s second event at the Connecticut Expo Center, the spacious, convenient, if unglamourous facility just off of Interstate 91, several miles north of downtown Hartford. With wide aisles and spacious booths, the 71-exhibitor show was as handsome as ever and richer than usual in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century New England furniture for which it is justifiably well known.
Turner increased her marketing budget, producing a voluminous show section and spending more on local advertising, an investment that appears to have paid off. “We had a really strong gate this time,” said the Maine-based promoter.
The Connecticut Spring Antiques Show is always a good place to look for Nutmeg State rarities. Old Saybrook, Conn., dealers Stephen and Carol Huber featured a Hartford silk embroidery, $45,000, worked at the Lydia Royce School. The needlework’s design derives from a print illustration for an English allegorical poem, “The Hermit.” In the same stand, a Hartford-made coat of arms for the Pratt family, worked at the Misses Pattens School, circa 1805, was $22,000.
There were probably half a dozen Connecticut candlestands on the floor. One of the most shapely ones belonged to Peter Eaton. “It’s as classic a Hartford stand as you can find,” said the Newburyport, Mass., dealer, who was asking $3,300 for the circa 1790 piece. Eaton’s Connecticut writing arm Windsor chair in dark old green paint, $24,000, had great character.
Buckley & Buckley made quick sales of an early map of Connecticut and Rhode Island, and an Eighteenth Century great chair. “It’s the only one with six slats that I’ve seen,” said Salisbury, Conn., dealer Don Buckley, who also featured a set of six York chairs from the Samuel Durand shop, Milford, Conn., $8,500. A matching armchair was $2,950.
Higganum, Conn., pewter specialist Ron Chambers boasted a rare 1825 Hartford tankard with the mark of Thomas Danforth Boardman, $2,200.
Rarest of all was Nathan Liverant & Son’s Queen Anne cherry flattop highboy, its bottom drawer carved with tobacco plant. Colchester, Conn., dealer Arthur Liverant explained that the unique piece had descended in the family of planters, the Lymans of Wallingford, Conn.
Early in the show, the Liverants sold a Rhode Island Queen Anne tea table with scrubbed, oval top. Other treasures in their stand included a graceful Queen Anne bonnet-top high chest of drawers, $170,000; and a bowfront Federal mahogany card table with a figured maple skirt, $35,000. Three Newport Queen Anne mahogany drop-leaf tables attributed to the Townsend shop were $85,000.
Peter Eaton’s 12-panel Hepplewhite chest was a bargain at only $13,500. From central New Hampshire or southern Maine, the rare rdf_Description, stylistically related to pricier Portsmouth drop-panel chests, featured a birch case; drawers edged in boxwood or maple, with mahogany cross-banding; and panels of crotch-birch or satinwood.
“We decided to call it a bookcase-bureau,” Ithaca, N.Y., dealer Joan Brownstein said of the one-off cabinet that occupied a prominent spot in her stand. Discovered in a house in Littleton, N.H., the charming birch casepiece was ornamented with fan and urn inlays and other elements of Federal design. Dating to circa 1800, it was $15,000. Displayed with it was a large, carved shell, $7,200, an Eighteenth Century architectural component; and an a gracefully attenuated pair of circa 1810 chairs, $6,000, by the Boston maker Gragg.
“It was my best Hartford in ten years,” said Killingworth, Conn., dealer Lewis Scranton, a 25-year Connecticut Show veteran. “I sold a very good Connecticut ogee-bracket chest of drawers with fluted quarter-columns, a Rhode Island ogee-bracket desk a, a strong tiger-maple two-drawer stand, and a lot of accessories. I was busy selling until at least 2:30 pm on Saturday.”
Old surface and pleasing proportions recommended a Lancaster County, Penn., Queen Anne walnut birdcage candlestand, $23,500, in the booth shared by David Good and Sam Forsythe. The Ohio dealers also brought a step back cupboard in old red paint, $15,500, and a colorful selection of glass, ranging from an opalescent cup plate, $225, to a lily-pad pitcher, $3,600.
“Our booth looks like jail, there are so many spindles,” joked Newburgh, N.Y., dealer Karen Olson, who offered a bamboo-turned Windsor settee, six hoopback Windsor side chairs in black paint, and a selection of spindle-back crown chairs.
A Windsor chair with goat’s feet, characteristic of Lancaster, Penn., was $11,800 in Jason Dixon’s stand. The Pennsylvania dealer also featured a brilliant hooked rug in red and black tumbling blocks pattern, $2,850; an architectural corner cupboard, $19,500; and a Massachusetts chair-table in blue paint (price on request.)
A set of five black Pennsylvania plank-seat chairs with floral decoration on their crests were $1,175 at Susan Stella of Manchester, Mass. First-time exhibitor Michael Whittemore of South Woodstock, Conn., sold a four-drawer chest and a mantel with graduated moldings.
Woodbury, Conn., dealers Harold Cole and Bettina Krainin mixed country with formal in their varied display. “We believe the table to be the work of Christopher and John Townsend,” Cole said confidently of a Newport drop-leaf table (price on request). The inscription “C.J.T. Nov 31 1731” barely visible on the underside of its frame. Cole also offered a small Newport shell-carved, bonnet-top desk-and-bookcase, $155,000; a Stratford, Conn., bonnet-top high chest of drawers, $135,000; and ten tiger-maple Sheraton chairs, which sold soon after the show opened.
George and Debbie Spiecker of North Hampton, N.H., featured an elegant serpentine-top card table with fetching inlays and tapered legs, $6,800, and two similar Queen Anne side chairs with vasiform splats and cabriole legs ending in pad feet, each $4,800.
Six Queen Anne chairs of lustrous Santo Domingan mahogany (price on request) were presented by Portsmouth, N.H., antiquarian Ed Weissman, who also brought a Massachusetts Queen Anne dressing table, $18,500, and a walnut dish-top stand, $3,400.
Long Island dealer Morgan MacWhinnie priced a sideboard and a pair of chests at $12,500 each. The sideboard, a Portsmouth-area transitional Federal-to-Classical example of bird’s-eye and curly maple with mahogany veneer, was particularly striking. The matched, four-drawer chests were probably from the same cabinetmaking shop in Maine and dated to circa 1805-10.
Norwich, Ohio, dealers The Kembles used their double booth to advantage to show a matched set of rushed-seat Chippendale chairs with pierced splats, Spanish feet, and bold turnings, $24,000; and a Massachusetts reverse serpentine four-drawer chest of bold tiger maple with original brasses, $39,700.
Anchoring Kirt Crump’s booth was a Connecticut River Valley tall-case clock attributed to Daniel Porter of Williamstown, Mass., $28,500. Flanking it were two banjo timepieces: one, by Elnathan Taber of Roxbury, Mass., circa 1815, featured its original eglomise glass painted with a view of the 1812 Victory on Lake Erie, $25,000. The other, by William Cummens, was $22,500.
Rick Smith of Portland Antiques, Portland, Maine, displayed a Salem mahogany card table with ovolo corners and reeded legs, $3,600. A country Sheraton dresser in original surface, $3,400, supported an Eighteenth Century English tea caddy, $1,800, whose interior was decorated with a view of Ventor, a seaside resort.
“Everyone should have to feel this surface to know what the real thing is like,” an admiring collector said of a zinc and copper “Mountain Boy” horse weathervane by J.W. Fiske, circa 1880-1890, $9,500. Offered by Chuck White of Mercer, Penn., the vane complemented a smoke-decorated poster bed, a Pennsylvania dower chest, and an Indian chief tobacconist figure carved by Thomas Brooks, $38,500.
At David C. Morey of Thomaston, Maine, a rare, decorated stove plate from the Stiegel glass factory in Elizabeth Furnace, Penn., dated to 1758 and was $3,800. A New York architectural corner cupboard in blue paint, circa 1800, was $8,750.
Collectors-turned-dealers Neverbird Antiques of Surrey, Va., retailed the Jacob Maentel watercolor portrait “Catherine Ran Yobos,” dated 1818, $42,000. A second Maentel, “Portrait of a Young Boy,” was $15,000 and dated to circa 1825. A rare taufschein by the unpublished artist Gregory Baumgard was $18,000.
First-time exhibitor Jane Wargo of Wallingford, Conn., was quick to sell a rare eleven-inch butter churn blue paint, a four-drawer chest, and an Amish dough box with a heart cutout. Her attractive, well-designed booth juxtaposed painted furniture and folk art, including a striking free form hooked rug from the late Nineteenth Century, $1,250.
Linda Turner will return to the Connecticut Expo Center with her Fall Hartford Antiques Show. Dates have yet to be announced.
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