Published: June 19, 2001
Brandywine River Museum Show Marks its 30th Year
CHADDS FORD, PENN. – Thirty-two exhibitors from 12 Eastern Seaboard states, and lest we forget, Ohio and Missouri, were featured at the 30th Annual Brandywine River Museum Antiques Show on the long-to-be-remembered very, very wet Memorial Day weekend. The show ran from Saturday through Monday, May 26 to May 28. On Friday evening (when these photographs were taken) a special preview party was held. The party was co-hosted by Mary Eileen Perri and Valerie Bozzone.
The Brandywine River Museum is a unique showcase for American art. This Civil War-era gristmill has been converted into a modern museum. It is famous for its collection of art by N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth.
This year’s chair was Peggy Stewart, ably assisted by the museum volunteers. Stewart stated, “At 30 years, our unique museum is just reaching its prime!” The show was again organized by Robert Armacost, show manager, Armacost Antiques Show, Ltd. The dealers presented a variety of American and English furniture, glass, metalware, ceramics, folk art, quilts, hand-woven rugs and fine and rare Oriental and European porcelain.
Throughout the run of the show, a special exhibition of about 150 antique tea strainers and infusers from the private collection of Peter and Helen Nowell were on display. Titled “Tea Trappings, Silver Strainers and Infusers,” these once fashionable implements dated from the Eighteenth through the early Twentieth Century. The exhibit was coordinated by associate curator Virginia O’Hara.
Among the displayed rdf_Descriptions were such examples (all in silver) as mote spoons, cup and spout strainers, stick infusers and tea infusers (aka, tea balls). But alas, these fine accoutrements for the proper presentation and brewing of tea slowly disappeared with the invention in 1908 of the modern tea bag by Thomas Sullivan, an American tea dealer.
The 32 dealers were placed throughout the three levels of the museum. The lower-level Lecture Room held seven; the second floor eight; the third floor nine. En plein air, the paved Courtyard held the unlucky seven in open-roofed stalls.
Jo Calame of Rutabaga Pie, Chesterfield, Mo., specializes in late Eighteenth Century high country furniture and appropriate accessories. Calame commenting on the show said, “I have been exhibiting for seven or eight years.” A good show for you? “Usually. No. It’s great. It’s either extremely good or not. The next year I do great and the next year I’ll sell a tea cup.”
Second year exhibitor Davis-O’Reilly, Northport, Ala., drove 1,000 miles one-way to show their fine art and tall-case clocks. Norma Chick, Woodbury, Conn., featured a fine tester bed in maple, circa 1800, from New England and a one-drawer blanket chest plus a still life by J.D. Bridge. Chick featured a large display of Seventeenth and early Eighteenth Century delft and English delft ware.
Heller-Washam, Portland, Me., brought an American school still life painting of fruit in the manner of Severin Roesen. Also in their display was a fine stick barometer by C. Wilder, Peterboro, N.H., a diminutive slant-front desk and a landscape by Charles W. Knapp, beside a birdcage candle stand.
A seven-year exhibitor, Saje Antiques, Short Hills, N.J., offered a fine red-painted chest, a maple four-drawer and a fine mahogany candle stand. The collection of hand-carved gentlemen’s canes was a great display in the booth of Joan R. Brownstein, Ithaca, N.Y. It would have been difficult to select the best one of the grouping.
Beside have the unique hand-carved sand automaton, Dick Vandall of American Decorative Arts showed the writer a second (never-seen-before) unique rdf_Description – a Spirit House, circa 1890. Vandall said “The host would have it on the table. People would come and they would encourage guests to put their little letters and notes in. And after dinner they would come and open the doors and read the notes and have fun. They would send the kids out to pick up fireflies. And fill it up with fireflies so that there would be a glow coming off it.”
A very large collection of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century English and American silver could be seen in the booth of Fiske & Freeman, Belmont, Vt.
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