There was room for everyone and everything at the cavernous Shriners Auditorium that fills each fall with antiques dealers and antiques of every stripe. Show manager Marvin Getman converts the football field-size arena, which is the frequent site of shows and conventions, circuses and rodeos, boxing and wrestling events, into a bustling marketplace for the two-day Greater Boston Antiques Festival. The gate was up on Saturday, October 20, and most dealers reported very favorable results, including some good sales on Sunday, October 21.
The dealers are consistent in their praise of Getman, who they commend for his promotion of his shows. He is a constant presence on the floor, chatting with dealers and visitors and attending to last minute details. A colorful element was supplied by the Shriners themselves, sporting the temple insignia and fezzes, who helped out with logistics during the show.
Amesbury, Mass., dealers Ken March and Deborah Gott, who operate Interiors with Provenance, said early in the first day that they were having a “roller coaster” of a show. Sold stickers abounded; the booth was comfortable and welcoming, much like a ski lodge. They filled it with a generous selection of winter sporting material such as folky painted skis, including a square-tipped pair made in Paris, Maine; sleds; snowshoes and sturdy German leather ski boots, which they sell as bookends in winter and as flower pots at flower shows. A tavern table was marked sold and shoppers were eyeing toleware, Hessian andirons, a fireplace screen and a set of andirons, with a spit, from the early 1800s. Stacks of colorful rugs and a Grenfell mat depicting geese in flight added even more color.
The most striking object offered by Byfield, Mass., dealers Snow Antiques was the rattlesnake uncoiling at passersby. The robust snake was an early Twentieth Century composition piece and came from the collection of Jim Eastland. It was lifting off from a Shanghai altar table. Two impressive dwellings were a folky birdhouse made in Essex County around 1882, and decorated with carved snakes, and a zinc architectural model of a Victorian house with mica windows and fencing that was from about 1880. Speaking after the show, Chris Snow said he had a great show, ticking off on both hands the objects sold, including a hat rack with deer hooves, an English lap desk, a very fine pair of candlesticks, firearms and a number of paintings by Warren Sawyer.
Webster Greene of Methuen, Mass., filled a booth with inviting furniture, including a fine lolling chair and other seating, card tables and lighting that included a fancy American pair of sconces with amethyst prisms. A framed page from the New York Herald detailing the death of President Abraham Lincoln was on offer, as was a three-light gilt convex mirror with an eagle that came from the Westborough, Mass., summer home of Edward R. Murrow. In an e-mail after the show, Paul Webster-Greene wrote, “We had a very good show in Wilmington once again! It seemed that there were some nice serious shoppers there&Marvin always does a great job at promoting the show!”
Sold tags proliferated in the booth of Hamden, Conn., dealer Yesterday’s Luxuries, where a fine centennial highboy had garnered high interest.
Milton, Vt., dealers Dennis and Lynn Chrin, who run Partridge Hollow Antiques, brought a selection of stoneware and Staffordshire that provoked interest. A fingered oval box sat adjacent to a fingered oval basket next to a round box marked “E.J.W.” The three were not Shaker pieces but were appealing. Dennis specializes in Victorian and silver, while Lynn’s bailiwick is country; the appetizing selection of chocolate molds was hers.
Winner-Landy Antiques of Newfane, Vt., showed gleaming brass, including an array of horse brasses and other equestrian antiques, copper, pewter and porcelain. They offered a nice George II mahogany highboy from about 1750.
A salesman’s cast iron burial vault, complete with resident corpse, was a standout in the booth of Kittery, Maine, dealers Damsell & Durgin, who offered an eclectic assortment of horn objects, including a small decorated mug, and antique sewing notions.
Sold stickers fluttered like confetti at MG Art and Antiques’ booth where first-time exhibitor Michelle Generaux beamed, “Great show!” The East Kingston, N.H., dealer sold “a large enamel top table with double bread boards, a 6-foot drop leaf harvest table, four good pieces of early lighting, a big pile of McLoughlin games, three good paintings, Nineteenth Century,” among other objects of interest. She had a dandy ovoid jug with a single fly ash drip made by Frederick Carpenter of Charlestown, Mass.
Generaux also offered attractive folk pieces like a late Nineteenth Century model of the HMS Victory made in Nova Scotia, and set out on a rough country stand above a carved work boat with a ticking sail. There was also a dirigible whirligig and a carved bird’s nest with birds by a Byfield, Mass., artisan, an owl made of wagon parts and a tobacconist’s sign in the form of a pipe.
Boston dealer Peter D. Murphy had “a wonderful show.” When we passed through his booth he was packing up five lamps that he sold to one woman. He specializes in good furniture and fine accessories like the glowing red painted English coal scuttle that bore the original registry marks, and a selection of Italian papier mache fruit, fine porcelain and the signed salesman’s sample agricultural tool that left the booth early in the day.
Dealer Bert Rosengarten, who, for ten years, operated Antiques on Cambridge Street in Cambridge, Mass., now keeps a shop in Pawtucket, R.I. An exceptional pair of late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century Chinese vases in the form of bamboo stalks went to an authority on Asian material who was very pleased to have them. Rosengarten said, after the show, “If I had a show like that once a month, it would be like the good old days!” He had an abstract cow figure made from salvaged scythes, pistons, springs and washers made by Vermont artist Bill Heise, who specializes in materials gathered from farms, scrap yards and railroads. An Ashcan School painting of a snowy scene with houses attracted many second looks.
Harry and Ginny’s Antiques of Brookhaven, N.Y., supplemented their European enamelware with midcentury art pottery by such makers as Rostrand, Nils Thorsson and other Royal Copenhagen potters.
The range was wide in the booth of Ryan’s Antiques of Harwinton, Conn. Ivory, tools, chocolate molds, a drying rack filled with metal, wood, glass and porcelain rolling pins, cork screws and sailor-made bone and ivory teethers were just a few of the objects that drew shoppers. Italian flour making tools from the late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth century that were found in Arezzo proved to be an attraction, as were the ice skates, five pairs of which sold early in the show.
Fine folk art stood out in the Jack Tullish booth, including a trapeze artist toy, folk art tug boats, stoneware jugs and a boot scraper in the form of a duck. Other objects of interest in the Scituate, Mass., dealer’s booth included two San Ildefonso pots, a group of pewter plates and Wedgwood.
The booth of Boston Antique Co-op was, as is usual for this dealer, jammed. The dealer was having “a beautiful show.” The offerings were beautiful, too. An oval portrait of four generations of women by Otis Bass dominated an entire wall of paintings, prints and maps. A group of erotic Japanese woodblock prints attracted a sizable gang of viewers, as did the boxes of netsuke and snuff bottles for sale. A brilliant blue cloisonné incense burner in the form of a foo dog was a stunner.
Carl L. Bosk had a standout pewter pedestal with Canton porcelain and enamel inserts that he said was used as a prop in the movie The Good Earth . The Greenville, N.H., dealer is a Mason, who said he has been dealing in antiques for 45 years.
Ann L. Prosper of Sandwich, Mass., exhibited a sweet group of German miniature porcelain dolls, some Kewpies and some German jointed Snow Baby dolls and toys. She also showed Flow Blue pottery, ironstone pieces and Dorchester pottery. Prosper said she had a good show and noted that she sees younger people expressing interest in dolls.
First-time exhibitors Steele and Steele of Middletown, R.I., showcased a circa 1840 yellow painted drop leaf table paired with four yellow painted Windsor chairs decorated with fruit along the crest rail. They offered an intriguing Sheraton birch slant lid desk in red paint that was used by the first postmaster of Chatham, Mass., along with such smalls as a charming Canadian folk art blue bird from the 1940s.
Bob Frishman of Bell Time Clocks in Andover, Mass., always attracts an interested audience at antiques shows and this one was no exception. He was packing up a Briggs rotary clock that was patented by a New Hampshire maker in 1855 as he talked to visitors. Frishman sold several other clocks and handed out lots of cards for future business, in the way of repairs and sales. He plans to return to the Wilmington show in January, in a larger booth that he will share with the woodworker who does case restorations.
Charles Wibel of Farmington, N.H., showed an interesting mid-Nineteenth Century Boston banker’s buttonwood desk with a slanted writing surface, and whose legs unscrew for transport. An imposing dragon-form oil lamp had been converted to a table example.
True to its name, Pioneer Folk Antiques of Ellsworth, Maine, had some fine examples of the genre. An impressive sturgeon lure rested in a late Eighteenth Century blanket chest in red paint made in the Lebanon, N.Y., area. They shared space with a New Hampshire sheet metal rooster, a 1900s figure of Lady Liberty, an early cut metal turkey target and other birds, fish and a horse head hitching post. Pioneer also showed a good array of folky paintings that reached out to many visitors.
The work of Slovak artist Katarina Kissoczy took center stage in the colorful booth of Syracuse, N.Y., dealer Antique Underground. The artist creates pictures and portraits using pieces of wood cut into forms, like a jig saw puzzle, that form a larger different picture such as the combination of animal forms and disembodied eyes in “Hands Bodies Face.”
Daniel Mullen of Bellingham, Mass., Aran Antiques, who offered nice jewelry and porcelain, summed up the sentiments of most exhibitors when he said, “Great, great show!”
For information, 781-862-4039 or www.neantiqueshows.com .