Published: November 21, 2000
Strength through Variation
The Delaware Antiques Show
WILMINGTON, DEL. – We have attended the Delaware Antiques Show for many years and wandered with it through a path of exhibition sites which ended up at The Tatnall School. Prior to landing at the school, the show had been at the Soda House, the Wilmington Country Club and the Du Pont Hotel. Now, it appears, it is time for another change of venue and with that a new manager enters the scene.
But have no fear. The restlessness of the show in the past has not done any damage, the slight variations in the dealers list has increased the strength of the show, and Marilyn Gould, who this year served as managing consultant, will be the official manager. According to Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley, coordinator of the show, “we are exploring our options and at this point in time have not made any decision concerning the location for the show next year.” It is “not likely” to be at the Tatnall School again, but the site is important to maintain the same dates for the show. “We have listened to our dealers and they favor keeping the show in the same time period and not moving it into October, as has been suggested,” Ms. Kirtley said. She added, “in looking for a new site we will not be considering additional space to increase the number of exhibitors. Our interest is to maintain our high quality with the present roster of dealers.”
This year attendance at the show grew by one third, reaching a total of just over 3,500 visitors. The preview experienced a larger crowd and the valet service recorded parking 630 cars that evening, Thursday, November 9. Sales seemed to be moving right along for a good number of the dealers, including Peter Eaton. “Previews are generally not very strong for me,” he said, noting that “I do not carry many smalls but have all of my inventory in furniture.” This year’s opening took a nice turn for this Newburyport, Mass. dealer and sales included a country Queen Anne six drawer chest, a Boston Queen Anne chair, a William and Mary tavern table, a very small candlestand, a still life oil on canvas, and a collection of 30 chestnut bottles that he had put together during the past year. Among the pieces still in the booth Friday morning was a classic Chippendale tall chest, 35 inch case and dovetailed bracket base, maple and chestnut with old black over the original red wash, from Eastern Connecticut of Rhode Island. It dated from the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century.
“It has been a very nice start, in fact, the best ever for me,” Diana Bittel of Wynnewood, Pa., said after the preview when sold tags appeared on two New England tiger maple high chests, a Philadelphia lowboy, “one of the best woolies I have ever owned,” and a large double sailor’s valentine. The booth on Friday had a new look and included a Pennsylvania decorated blanket chest, Centre County, with the original paint, orange field with white and green flowers and leaves, circa 1820; an early Nineteenth Century carved wooden eagle in black paint with gilded talons and beak, circa 1830; and a Pennsylvania high chest of drawers with three smaller drawers over five graduated drawers, quarter side columns, high ogee carved feet, dating circa 1790-1800.
The corner booth of Wayne Pratt and Co., Woodbury, Conn., displayed three folk paintings of the Brown family, Ayer Center, Mass., circa 1840-50, and in contrast two whimsical works by Ralph Cahoon, the Tonsorial Parlor and The Ann Alexander. Among the case pieces of furniture was a Chippendale bonnet-top chest on chest, Massachusetts, circa 1770-85, in mahogany with the original finish and old brasses. In the spirit of the coming holiday season, a collection of Santa candy containers was displayed.
Harold Cole of Woodbury, Conn., said that the show had gotten off to a good start for him including the sales of three horse weathervanes, a crown banisterback Connecticut arm chair, circa 1750, and a secretary in cherrywood from Windsor, Conn., circa 1760-80, ex. Barber Collection. Several pieces of Delft were also sold, along with a cast iron eagle with spread wings and talons around a flowering branch.
The booth of H.L. Chalfant Antiques, West Chester, Pa., offered a nice 40-drawer apothecary in blue and red paint, circa 1840, along with a mahogany Queen Anne slab table with cabriole legs terminating in trifid feet, Irish, circa 1750. A Delaware Valley Queen Anne lowboy, molded top with notched corners, circa 1760, retained the original brasses. Another furniture dealer, Anthony Werneke of Pond Eddy, N.Y., showed a William and Mary butterfly table from the Connecticut River Valley, cherrywood and white pine, circa 1720-30, and a Chippendale carved and gilt looking glass, American or English, circa 1755-75, in mahogany with the original glass, gilding and backboard.
Nathan Liverant and Son of Colchester, Conn., displayed a fine pine and paint decorated spread eagle, American School, dating from the Nineteenth Century, and a Connecticut pastural scane, oil on canvas, 1876, signed lower left by Aaron Draper Shattuck of Simsbury, Conn. It depicted five cows in and around a stream. An architectural corner cupboard in pine with butterfly shelves, Connecticut origin, dated 1750-70, while in the front of the booth was a Queen Anne oval tea table from Rhode Island, circa 1750-80.
A large painted curved back and conforming seat settle, splayed end supports and cutouts, all original and dating from the Eighteenth Century, filled one end of the booth of Grace and Elliott Snyder Antiques of South Egremont, Mass. “I am surprised we did not sell the hooked rug with the deer on it at the preview,” Grace Snyder said on Friday morning. She did indicate that the opening had been good for them and sales included a couple of other hooked rugs, a decorated child’s bed, a New Jersey child’s chair, an hour glass, a snuff box, and a quilt in the oak leaf pattern that was from Dutchess County, N.Y., circa 1850.
“The only reason I am selling those chairs is that I am too big for them,” Alan Granby of Hyland Granby Antiques, Hyannis Port, Mass., said. He was referring to two, close to a pair, Windsor side chairs with Long John Silver legs. They dated circa 1810, retained the original finish, and began life somewhere between Stonington, Conn., and Newport, R.I. As of Firday morning they had not been sold, but Alan noted that “we have had lots of interest in them and there are still three more days to go.” He added that “although the chairs are not an exact pair, they are so close we will not separate them. I have spent my life finding things and putting them together.” One of the astar lots in the booth was an American pine and ivory inlaid slant front desk found in Bath, Maine. It had the original red varnish finish and dated circa 1831.
A collection of about ten tin decoys, all from the same box, decorated part of the booth of Paul and Cheryl Scott, Hillsborough, N.H., as the show opened. “They did not last long,” Cheryl said, adding that at the preview “we also sold a turned leg one-drawer stand, a fancy banner weathervane, a Boston card table, a horse weathervane, and a number of other things. It was a really good show, as it was for us last year.” The largest piece of furniture in the booth was a Pennsylvania corner cupboard with swan’s neck pediment, urn shaped finials, and one glazed door over two drawers and two doors below.
Furniture filled the booth of Carswell Rush Berlin, New York City, including a Federal carved mahogany scroll-back eight leg sofa, curved arms and baluster, shaped arm supports, New York City, circa 1805-10, 81¼ inches long. Hanging over the sofa was an oil on canvas depicting Niagara Falls, 1842, John P. Beaumont, signed, dated and inscribed J/P/B/New York/Sep 1842.
Peter Sawyer Antiques of Exeter, N.H., offered a collection of furniture including a Queen Anne highboy with the original untouched red surface, fan carved in lower center drawer, dating circa 1780. “This piece was sold out of a house in New Hampshire which had not been lived in for 100 years,” Peter said, adding that “it is the perfect example of original surface.” Southport, Conn. dealer Pat Guthman was pleased with the opening of the show and recorded sales of a pair of mirrored sconces, harvest baskets, French pottery, copper molds and pans, and wooden buckets. “One couple went home to measure for our room-end,” Pat said, noting that there was a lot of interest in it.
Victor Weinblatt of South Hadley, Mass., was all smiles after the preview. “I had heard about this show and was pleased to be asked to do it,” he said, “and for me it was a very strong opening.” From his well-designed booth he sold a pair of white painted wooden columns, four pieces of mercury glass, a miniature decorated oar, an elaborate tramp art frame, a Rhode Island work bench in bird’s eye maple, and a blue painted blanket chest with cut out base, Quebec origin. “The people who bought the chest plan to give it to their grandchild for a toy box,” Victor said, “and I advised them to tell him to be very careful with it.”
A corner booth filled with formal furniture was presented by Kyser-Hollingsworth, Inc., of Washington, D.C. In the center of the booth was a large dining table, two part, Baltimore, mahogany and string inlay, circa 1790 and measuring 78 inches long. It was surrounded by a set of eight Regency side chairs, English, circa 1815, high style klismos, brass inlay on the back splat featuring phoenixes. They were in beachwood and rose wood and created a great deal of interest at the show. To complete the dining room there was a Hepplewhite sideboard, English, circa 1790-1800, arched lower case and detailed inlay, and the original brasses.
About seven new exhibitors joined the show this year and we expect to see most of the 53 exhibitors back again next year. The location of the show, and any new plans for 2001, will be announced here as soon as released.
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