Published: June 24, 2003
By Tom O’Hara
WILLIAMSBURG, VA. — A Spring Holiday Antiques Show at the Clarion George Washington Hotel April 25-27 was described by show manager Bettianne Sweeney as having a great start, with a full house of 32 dealers from throughout the East and Midwest.
Holiday Antique Shows has been producing a Thanksgiving weekend event at the Williamsburg Marriott for 22 consecutive years. Prior to that, Sweeney was a volunteer manager of the Walsingham Academy’s fundraising spring antiques show. This year the academy changed its fundraising away from antiques. As many of the dealers did both the Walsingham Show and Sweeney’s Thanksgiving Antiques shows, they encouraged her to start this spring event.
Facilities of sufficient size are not plentiful in Williamsburg. The Marriott’s ballroom, the largest in the area, was not available, so the next largest was venue at the Clarion. Sweeney received a contract from the hotel on January 4 and by January 10 she had 27 of the spaces filled with dealers from about a dozen states.
The specific schedule for the show was a Friday evening opening from 6 to 9, and regular hours on Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday, noon to 5 pm. Attendance Friday evening was lighter than expected due to a severe rain storm but enough people came to get the show started. Sweeney’s policy is that one admission fee is good for reentry throughout the weekend so the local people returned for free.
Just inside the ballroom the first exhibits were McNiel & Reed of Delmar, Md., and Brills Antiques, Newport News, Va. Both of these dealers have been doing the Thanksgiving show for many years and they had also done the Walsingham shows. McNiel & Reed offer a collection of English and Chinese porcelain including majolica, Staffordshire, Rose Medallion and Canton, along with especially fine pieces of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century American and English furniture.
Jerry Brill is mostly furniture commonly referred to as “high end.” Most of his collection was crafted by highly skilled Englishmen or the English-trained American craftsmen. His focal point was a George I chest-on-chest in Cuban or Santa Domingo mahogany. The piece had a secretary drawer complete with pigeonholes and was in excellent condition, priced at $13,700, which seemed quite reasonable.
Connecticut dealer Robert Woody brought early silver. Some of his pieces date back into the mid-Eighteenth Century and are among the earliest sterling silver made in England.
Bill Jenkins comes from across the York River in Hayes, Va., with a wide assortment of antiques from primitive and country to formal Regency. He had a leprechaun carved from a single block of wood, about 21/2 feet tall, that he said was circa 1820-1850 based upon its provenance.
Laurie Porter, Wilmington, N.C., brought antiques with a wide assortment of styles and periods. One side of her booth had a pair of Sheraton-style Hitchcock chairs, and an Italianate demilune table with marble top.
Country antiques were offered by many of the dealers. Bud Hughes, trading under the name of I-deal Antiques, came down from New Market, N.H., with a narrow cant back open top hutch to display a great deal of his early stoneware. Linda and Ralph Miller, Miller House Antiques of Carrol, Ohio, are fond of early painted surface furniture. Included in their booth was a child’s high chair in old blue milk paint.
Gerald Murphy Antiques is the trade name for Patricia and Robert Saddier, formerly of Woodbury, Conn., and now living in Williamsburg. They usually have a good collection of early mechanical rdf_Descriptions, including clocks and barometers. One grandfather clock from England was made by Joseph Wood Scarborough between 1760 and 1790. The case was lacquered in the techniques known as japanning and then painted in gilt and red in Japanese scenes. It was a striking piece.
John Long, Mineral, Va., specializes in American furniture and accessories. An interesting rdf_Description was a candle mold made with a wooden frame holding tin candle molds. The wooden frame must have caused some difficulty in actually making the candles and in getting them out, but the piece obviously saw service.
Edgewood Antiques is Dave and Karen Metcalf of Greenville, S.C. Known to many in the Northeast from when they lived in western New York, they usually carry American country. This winter, however, they took a vacation to the Southwest where they did a great deal of shopping, giving their booth a somewhat later, Nineteenth Century look.
Mocksville, in western North Carolina, is home for Gene and Diana Best, Beatrice Pearl Antiques. Gene tends to go for very largely pieces of furniture. He sold an enormous one-piece corner cupboard and offered a very large Nineteenth Century glass front bookcase.
Easter Hill Antiques, Sharon, Conn., was there with an Empire-style mirror attributed to a free black man, Tom May of North Carolina, circa 1830. And North Carolinian Victoria Byerly was there with estate jewelry and Japanese textiles. Ali Rickstraw, Russellville, Ky., brought country furniture and American folk art.
Carolyn Brown from nearby West Point had a charming early baby carriage or buggy together with a variety of early dishes. Peg Lockwood retired early from the phone company and shops for her “stock” in England. Lorraine and Steven German, Granby, Conn., dealers, also retired early and now do antiques full time. A pair of Hitchcock chairs was one of their first sales at the show.
Ray and Bertie Van Orden, To The Point Antiques of Richmond, Va., are, as with most of the show’s exhibitors, full-time dedicated antiques dealers. Often seen in the Northeast, they had a large space filled with outstanding examples of Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century furniture and accessories. One rdf_Description was a girandole mirror, also known as a parabolic or convex glass mirror.
Popular in America in the early Nineteenth Century, there often were a number of balls decorating the frame signifying the number of states at the time of its manufacture. The Van Orden’s was unusual, however, in that it was English with 56 balls: it would be curious to speculate if the number signified something.
There were two dealers from New Jersey: Marc Wittus of Gladstone, and Bob Campbell of Basking Ridge. Wittus has a very broad collection that included a couple of converted kerosene lamps in the Arts and Crafts style. Campbell had a great many early clocks and an early pond boat.
Richard Suydam, Lahaska, Penn., sold a very large cupboard. As a recent heart bypass patient, it was good he had help from Marc Wittus, for it was very heavy. Joe Phillips has been into antiques as a business for quite a few years, trading in a variety of areas including country furniture and Chinese Rose Medallion dishes. In his earlier life he had been the conductor of the US Navy Band in Washington for ten years, retiring with the rank of captain.
Bettiana Sweeney has plans to do the show again next spring. Her Thanksgiving Antiques Show will be November 28-30 at the Williamsburg Marriott Hotel. For information, 757-220-1299.
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