Published: November 19, 2002
By R. Scudder Smith
WILMINGTON, DEL. — The fall season is awash with falling leaves, almost as many mail order catalogs and antiques shows. “There are just too many antiques shows, but this is one that certainly should not be overlooked,” one dealer said of as it was about to open on Friday, November 8.
Actually the show previewed with a very nice party on Thursday evening, an event attended by all the right museum people, including a good number from Winterthur, collectors from nearby Baltimore and Philadelphia, and dealers.
“The preview gate was off a bit,” said Marilyn Gould, show manager, and the last count came in at about 500 guests. “We had sold close to that number before Thursday evening and had hoped to make a considerable gain through tickets at the door,” she added.
One dealer noted “we seldom sell at this preview as it seems to be more of a social night out,” but other exhibitors reported a few sales by the end of the evening. In any case, there was lots to buy, many choice rdf_Descriptions were brought out just for this show, and regular showgoers seemed to zero in on those things that were fresh to the market.
This show has been at a number of different locations over the years, most recently at the Tatnal School. Two years ago the school decided that the show was an inconvenience to its programs and the show was on the move again. Last year it settled into the First USA Riverfront Arts Center where it looked quite comfortable, and it is there again this year and plans for the future hold no change. A portion of the 59 exhibitors are in the front entranceway of the building, more are in a large room that is connected to the entrance by two hallways and the remainder of the dealers are in a large exhibition space at the end of a corridor.
None of the rooms join directly and a number of the dealers expressed concern over the lack of signage within the building. One dealer commented, “It is hard enough for people new to the area to find the center, let alone for them to get lost in the building once they get here.”
Six new dealers were at the show this year, including Tim Hill from Birmingham, Mich. ” I am enjoying this show and find that people seem to have lots of interest in things,” he said, adding, “I have met some new people which is always important in this business.” His sales on the first day included a sheet iron weathervane in the form of an Indian, a child’s portrait and a stenciled basket, Native American, from New York State.
An arched passage connected the entrance part of the building to one of the exhibition rooms and proved to ideal space for a gallery look. Hence, Quester Gallery of Stonington, Conn., was assigned the space and hung a collection of nautical works that stopped most everyone for a look. A crisp oil on canvas of the four masted British bark Lucipapa, 1885, by Charles Keith Miller attracted a good share of attention. This work was signed and dated lower left and measures 341/8 by 48½ inches. Equally interesting was an oil on canvas, “Setting Decoys off Gunning Point,” Jack L. Gray, signed lower left, 30 by 50 inches. A portrait of the two masted schooner Tickler by Elisha Taylor Baker was an oil on canvas, unsigned, measuring 24 by 321/8 inches.
Federalist Antiques of Kenil-worth, Ill., filled the booth with furniture including an American Hepplewhite astragal end sideboard in mahogany with conforming top, North Shore, and an American Chippendale four-drawer chest with fluted quarter columns, ogee bracket feet, fourth quarter of the Eighteenth Century, from Philadelphia.
“I arrived here just in time to find my booth before the preview opened, and I have to leave halfway through opening day to meet with clients in Woodbury,” Wayne Pratt said at the opening. He noted that the show had been good, so far, and that “we have sold a number of things and hope it will continue.” Across the front of the booth was a Regency brass-mounted, three-pedestal dining table in mahogany, probably English, dating from the early Nineteenth Century. When fully extended the table reached 146 inches and John Walton was listed in the provenance. Against the back wall was a pair of Chippendale shell carved side chairs, Boston, in mahogany, 1740-60, with ball and claw feet, a mellow finish and slip seats. An interesting pair of leather fire buckets, dated 1833 and decorated with clasped hands, came from either Boston or Hingham, Mass., and was in a fine state of preservation.
A writing arm Windsor chair in old green paint, probably from Connecticut but with elements of Philadelphia, was among the booth filled with furniture by Peter Eaton of Newburyport, Mass. In the center of the booth was a gate leg table with vase turned legs and stretchers, shaped apron drawer at either end, in cherry wood. It dated from the first third of the Eighteenth Century and was from Eastern Pennsylvania. A William and Mary candlestand had an oversized top, turned post, arched cabriole legs, in black paint over cherry. It was attributed to Elting-Beckman School, Kingston, N.Y., circa 1740.
During the preview a red sold dot appeared on a large basket in the front booth of the show belonging to Alan Katz of Woodbridge, Conn. “It is one of the largest baskets of this type I have ever seen, and it is in perfect condition,” Alan said. This monumental storage Cowlitz basket was from Coastal Western Washington and made of spruce root with bear grass imbrication. It dated circa 1880 and measures 15¼ inches high. A New England eagle wall plaque, circa 1880, measured 58 inches wide and 34 inches high, carved pine, and a one-gallon incised stoneware jug, bird decoration, dated circa 1820 and was probably the work of Clarkson Crolius, New York State. Of interest, and very colorful especially when the sun shown in its direction, was an Egyptian fantasy clock from the Midwest, circa 1920.
Taylor Williams from Chicago was proudly showing a leopard head box that he had recently acquired. “A lady from Baltimore called me one day and asked if I remembered a certain box I had sold her about 25 years ago,” Taylor said, “and I told her not exactly, but to send it along and I would take a look.” It turned out to be one of the best boxes he had owned, and it went back into his case with no questions asked. As of Friday morning, the show was “about average,” but by mid-afternoon the same day, “it has been excellent.” A couple of his clients found him and liked what they saw. So while business was brisk in the cases, the furniture went almost unnoticed. Among the pieces offered was a set of six American paint decorated chairs, Pennsylvania, surrounding a New England Queen Anne gate leg table in maple, circa 1740-50, ex David Pottinger.
Attracting attention was a large 12-panel screen against the back wall of the booth of Kyser-Hollingsworth of Washington, D.C. This scroll, measuring 18 feet long and 75 inches high, watercolor and ink on silk, told the story of guests traveling to meet with the honored guest who was in a pavilion on the right side of the scroll. It dated from the Nineteenth Century. A very bright and colorful pair of still life paintings hung to the right, each with fruit, oil on canvas, signed lower right, by Charles Baum. Each measured 28 by 30 inches.
Angled partitions seemed to give extra space in the booth of Philip Bradley of Downingtown, Penn., and every spot was taken by a piece of furniture. Included in this extensive display was a paint decorated stretcher base table from New Jersey, circa 1770, from a Haddonfield estate, and a rare Philadelphia ball foot spice chest in walnut, circa 1720-30, with replaced hinges. A set of six fancy Maryland side chairs was shown, yellow with cane seats, and each with trains depicted on the back tablet. Cheryl and Paul Scott of Hillsborough, N.H., were having a good show and had sold, among other things, a wood carved acorn, a Hepplewhite bureau, a horse weathervane, and a painting of brightly colored flowers.
“A lady at the preview bought it and hoped that her husband, who was not at the show, would also find it pleasing,” Cheryl said. “We got a call from her this morning, and he apparently likes it as well if not better that her,” she reported.
Olde Hope Antiques of New Hope, Penn., had a booth full of “paint,” and all of it in just the right places. Items ranged from decorated chests to decorated chairs, and from a fine barber pole to a cigar store figure attributed to Thomas Brooks of New York City, circa 1875. The surface dated to the early Twentieth Century. A tall-case clock, pine case with old red finish, was from Berks County, circa 1810, with 30-hour brass works and measuring 96½ inches high.
One of the nearby dealers in the show was H.L. Chalfant Antiques, West Chester, Penn., with a booth filled with American furniture. A rare maple and pine tavern table with turned legs, triangular base with outside stretchers, circular top, Pennsylvania, circa 1740, was at the front of the display, and against the back wall was a walnut Queen Anne highboy, bonnet top with tobacco leaf finials, shell carved in the top drawer and in the apron, carved knees, dating circa 1730. It was attributed to Samuel Harding, Philadelphia.
“Has Charley Santore seen that Windsor chair?” one visitors asked, referring to a painted side chair that was being shown by John Keith Russell of South Salem, N.Y. This fanback, from the collection of Jean and Howard Lipman, had a half-round crest rail with shaped ears, eight spindles, circa 1790, with old black paint over earlier green. A painted sideboard, probably Vermont, was of cherry wood and pine and retained to old if not original red surface. It was configured with a double cupboard over two drawers and dated circa 1850.
New to the show was Vallin Galleries of Wilton, Conn., with a dramatic pottery and painted figure of a horse, Shaanxi dynasty, dating from the Seventh Century, and in the center of the back wall hung a painting of a falcon, executed in 1692 with the emperor’s inscription and the signature of the artist, Li Chang.
A red dot was on an oil on canvas, a portrait of a young girl holding a bugle in one hand and a red, white and blue decorated hat in the other. This work, inscribed on the reverse “Painted by H. Walton, Ithaca, 1844,” was offered by Joan Brownstein Art and Antiques of Rye, N.H. “The portrait was bought by a person in Ithaca, so it is going home,” Joan said. Other portraits shown were possibly by Jonathan Adams Bartlett of Rumsford Center, Maine, oil on canvas, circa 1835-40, showing a lady holding a book and a man in a yellow painted chair.
A Queen Anne drop leaf table from Massachusetts, circa 1760-80, had a richly figured top and was offered by Peter Sawyer of Exeter, N.H. He also showed a tall-case clock by Frederick Wingate, Augusta, Maine, 1817, with rocking ship dial, original finials and a paper label of the maker on the inside of the case. It measures seven feet tall.
One of the first booths at the front of the show is home for Victor Weinblatt of South Hadley, Mass. “I like it where I am and it seems to be a lucky spot for me,” he said Friday morning, after moving things about to fill spaces following sales at the preview. Missing was an important hooked rug depicting Crookabout Farm, Carroll County, Md., done by Leonard “Globe” Sherfy, a hired hand at the farm, circa 1920-30.
“This rug has hung in my house for a good number of years, and now it was time to pass it along,” Victor said. He also “passed along” a number of other things, including a pair of bull dog andirons in cast-iron, a lightening rod weathervane sporting a horse, with excellent surface, several more hooked rugs and a pair of tole lamps painted with pastoral scenes.
A matched set of ten Classical figured maple, rush seats, dining chairs, outstanding color and condition, one armchair, was shown by Nathan Liverant and Son, Colchester, Conn. “The Wadsworth Atheneum has a matching armchair and one side in its permanent collection,” Arthur Liverant said. Against the back wall was a Queen Anne flat top highboy from the Housatonic Valley, Conn., and a matching pair of Windsor continuous armchairs, circa 1795-1800, was branded by the maker, Amos Dennison Allen.Marie Plummer/John Philbrick, North Berwick, Maine, showed a Queen Anne looking glass, two parts with the original glass, English, Eighteenth Century, and an oil on canvas of the lord mayor of London, 1746. Hanging over a mantel with a surround of Dutch Delft tiles, manganese on white, 1790, was a portrait of a lady in green dress with yellow head scarf, oil on canvas.
On Friday a series of guided tours of the show was given by graduate students from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture and the University of Delaware, and American wines were featured that same day at a happy hour beginning at 5:30 pm. This event was sponsored by The Young Collectors, and proceeds from the show benefit the educational program at Winterthur.
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