Published: March 9, 2010
The sweep of American history is strong in this coastal town. That is clearly evident in the Hyland House, just past the town green on Boston Street and built in the last half of the Seventeenth Century. Privately maintained by a cadre of volunteers, known affectionately as the “Mad Dorothies” and more formally as the Dorothy Whitfield Historic Society, Hyland House is filled with a collection of art, furniture and artifacts, all limning life in Guilford in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The only problem is that in mid-February, Hyland House is still three and a half months away from being open for tours. Those wanting to immerse themselves vicariously, however, needed only attend the Guilford Antiques Show, conducted for the 41st time this year February 20 and 21 at the Elizabeth Adams School.
“It was an excellent show,” enthused its promoter Frank Gaglio of Rhinebeck, N.Y.-based Barn Star Productions, contacted afterwards. “The gate was up 25 percent over the previous year and sales were recorded across the board, with special strengths in art and jewelry.”
Arrayed in three separate galleries inside the school, 49 top-shelf antiques dealers staged pleasing displays of merchandise.
Richard and Sandra Morgan of Painted Bird Antiques, Warren, Conn., were exhibiting for the first time at the show, bringing 30 years of collecting with a focus on primitives, exemplified in an early Nineteenth Century decoy of a ring neck by Eli Doughty and a rare Shaker Windsor child’s chair, also Nineteenth Century. Another focus for Richard is the refurbishment of antique fireplace bellows whose leathers succumb to the ravages of time and use. He displayed a half dozen or so Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century examples on the booth walls, the most elaborate being a Black Forest bellows with intricate carving. Morgan said he often sources his replacement leather from Goodwill, as used leather pants donated to the organization have the most supple material.
A Chinese male foo dog, probably from the 1920s, guarded the entrance to the booth of another show newcomer, A. Harris Gordon from Tarrytown, N.Y. Dealer Arthur Gordon said it had come out of the house of an Asian Society member, with no information on the whereabouts of it, matching female form. Gordon specializes in antique lighting, and another highlight in the booth was a matching pair of yellow ginger jar lamps from the late Nineteenth Century.
A paint decorated hutch table with a tilting circular top, circa 1770‱795, beckoned at Quiet Corner Antiques, Sterling, Conn. Dealer Michael Rouillard had placed in its seat a massive (133/8-inch diameter) Pennsylvania slip decorated redware dish from the Nineteenth Century evincing elaborate squiggle with cream slip on a brown ground and a coggled rim edge.
In a small hallway gallery leading to the larger main gallery, Joseph Collins of Middletown, Conn., again took advantage of the well-lit space to show his collection. The star clearly was a Connecticut child’s fanback chair from the Nineteenth Century in its original finish †”no excuses,” said Collins.
Nearby, Lisa McAllister, Clear Spring, Md., showcased one of the largest hooked rugs she has ever handled, this one from the Midwest, probably 1930s‴0s, so large, in fact, that her professional mounting actually incorporated a folding hinge. Among other highlights were a “Quick Lunch” advertising sign that quickly left the show floor on Saturday, a rare German rabbit pull toy from the turn of the century and a painted tole hanging match safe.
Stanfordville, N.Y., dealer Derek Johnson was getting a lot of interest in his collection of cast iron door stops, a folk art pair of duck decoys and American fence sections from the 1880s in the Sheep & Willows pattern, which made very graphic wall hangings.
The show’s largest gallery presented about 30 dealers, again in pleasing room settings, such as Mad River Antiques. The North Granby, Conn., dealers Steve and Lorraine German set a pleasing tableau utilizing a New York State woodbin in original blue paint, circa 1860 (soon sold), a Fort Edwards 5-gallon stoneware churn, circa 1875‱882, with the potter’s signature bird decoration and a late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century hooked rug in the Cross and Medallion pattern.
Ester Gilbert Antiques, Southampton, Mass., showcased a gaudy Dutch spinning wheel, a Chippendale bird’s-eye-maple-on-drawers slant lid desk, mid-1800s, and an English black oak chest, circa 1600s, with snipe hinges.
Pewter specialist Ron Chambers came to the show from his home in Higganum, Conn., with some treasures, like a Henry Joseph Queen Anne teapot and a waste bowl. An Eighteenth Century London pewterer, Joseph exported most of his production to America, according to Chambers. Further standouts in this booth were a pair of portraits, Archibald and Elenore Lenox, circa 1830, Salem, Mass., a New England maple candlestand, circa 1750, and an early New England, perhaps Connecticut, tea table with a maple top and turnip feet, circa 1720‴0.
Another newcomer to the Guilford show was Kocian Depasqua Antiques. Woodbury, Conn., dealer Frank Depasqua displayed a mix of fine art and furniture, including a winsome cat portrait by Elizabeth T. Rockwell, a late Nineteenth Century animal painter who lived in Woodstock, N.Y., and was active in the 1870s‱890s. A New England tall case clock, circa 1790‱795, had its original eight-day, weight driven brass works. Its dial was stamped “Osborn Manufactory, Birmingham” on the back, and its cherry case was surmounted by a swan’s neck broken arch pediment, three brass finials, fluted quarter column at the waist and bracket footed base.
There were other treasures on display, both large and small, at this well-balanced show. Marvin and Barbara Eliot brought many early hearth tools and fixtures †such as a very early fish broiler †doing business as Pottles and Pannikins, Windsor, Conn. Brian Cullity Antiques, Sagamore, Mass., showed early bottles, marine items, early American furniture and English ceramics.
At McClellan Elms Antiques, South Woodstock, Conn., there was a first quarter of the Nineteenth Century portrait of a girl in a blue dress with all the desirable hallmarks †young, attractive sitter, period background and bright colors. From an Orange, Conn. estate, the circa 1840 oil on canvas portrait was in a period, although not original frame, with an early gilt and gesso surface.
Nautical antiques, Nantucket lightship baskets and the like held sway at Sylvia Antiques, Nantucket, Mass. Dealer John Sylvia had stocked his attractive booth with a nest of eight Nantucket lightship baskets with swing handles and ranging in diameter from 3 to 12½ inches, a ship diorama, circa 1940, with a half hull model passing a lighthouse on a painted plaster sea, and a once-built-in cupboard from an Eighteenth Century home in St Johnsbury, Vt. The circa 1770‱790 cupboard featured a green and white painted open top with butterfly shelves and a paneled raised door.
Nicholas DiBenedetto, a dealer from East Quogue, N.Y., who also provides art conservation and restoration services for oil paintings, was deservedly proud of a Nineteenth Century painting of an American flag, dated 1885 on its stretcher, that he had rescued from the ravages of time. “Old Glory” now hung in his booth, the 18-by-24-inch oil on canvas exhibiting its bright colors once again.
The next show slated for Barn Star is the 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show, April 16‱8, in Philadelphia. For information, 845-876-0616 or www.barnstar.com .
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