Published: October 7, 2003
The Fall Hartford Antiques Show experienced a decline in exhibitors and a modest drop its gate, but that did not stop some of the 37 dealers who participated in the September 20-21 fair at the Connecticut Expo Center from having strong sales.
Beautiful weather, a September date, and competing shows in Wilton, New York and Katonah were cited as possible causes of the decline.
“The long and short of it is that the weather was fabulous,” said Portsmouth, N.H., exhibitor Ed Weissman, who was nevertheless delighted to have acquired a bracket clock on the floor that he had chased for years. “Hartford’s still the best Americana show there is for early things.”
“Last fall we had three more dealers,” acknowledged show manager Linda Turner of Forbes & Turner Shows, who predicts a turnaround next year when she moves the Hartford Fall Antiques Show to October 2-3, closer to the fair’s traditional dates.
The Fall Hartford Antiques Show was born 30 years ago and has been acknowledged over the decades as the premier venue for early New England furniture and appropriate accessories. In keeping with the tradition, there was plenty to tempt the serious collectors who arrived in time for the show’s 10 am opening on Saturday.
Colchester, Conn., dealer Arthur Liverant had no sooner hung an oil on canvas ship’s portrait than he marked it sold. By a Liverpool artist, the painting depicts the Twilight of Mystic, Conn., built in 1857. The painting came from the family of Captain Gates of New London, whose logs and other effects are at Mystic Seaport. The Liverants also displayed three ship shadowboxes, $1,200 to $3,200, with a bamboo turned Windsor bench in original mustard paint. From New England, circa 1770-90, the settee was $22,000.
It was a good show for J. Namnoun Oriental Rug Gallery of Hartford. “We sold two of our main display pieces, including a circa 1870s Persian Serapi and a Northwest Persian Bakhshish dating to 1860-70, as well as numerous small antique collectible pieces,” said the gallery’s Dominick Zito.
First-time exhibitors Claudia and Bob Haneberg of East Lyme, Conn., were also pleased with results. “We sold some heavy duty Chinese export porcelain and a Boston or Salem area card table with a double tapered foot. Overall, the show was excellent for us.” said Bob Haneberg, who is looking forward to returning.
Douglas Constant offered a New London County chest-on-chest. “It’s all original except for the finish,” said the Orient, N.Y., dealer, who priced the case piece at $36,000. A Queen Anne walnut side chair from Newport, R.I., circa 1760, was $4,800.
Jeffrey Tillou of Litchfield, Conn., featured a Connecticut River Valley Queen Anne bonnet-top chest of drawers, circa 1750, for $68,000.
From Rhode Island or southeastern Connecticut, a Chippendale slant front desk with carved interior was $13,500 at Buckley & Buckley, Salisbury, Conn.
Clock specialist Kirt Crump’s many Connecticut examples included a miniature Venetian mantel timepiece from Bristol, circa 1870-75, priced at $795, and a Seth Thomas pillar and scroll clock, circa 1825, for $3,500.
A rare survivor in David Good and Sam Forsythe’s display was a Connecticut River Valley clock case, going for $12,500. The beautifully constructed relic retained traces of its original black paint and its original hardware.
“It’s so untouched. It probably sat in an attic somewhere forever,” said Forsythe. “It’s just the sort of thing Lillian Cogan would have loved.”
Always a bellwether for furniture sales, Morgan MacWhinnie of Southampton, N.Y., sold a Boston walnut block front chest of about 1760 with old refinished surface to a dealer-collector. His other transactions included a wing chair and a slant-top desk.
Newbury, Mass., dealer Peter Eaton sold an enormous set of Maine hanging shelves in sage green to a delighted collector. Also in Eaton’s booth was an unusual country New Hampshire server, $4,400, with a serpentine top and reeded legs, and a Rhode Island Queen Anne drop leaf table with a scrubbed top and great color for $28,500.
A Connecticut River Valley blocked and serpentine front chest was $19,500 at Don Heller’s. The Woodbury, Conn., dealer showed the piece with a Rhode Island Chippendale mahogany reverse serpentine front desk, $13,500, and a Chippendale glazed-door two-piece corner cupboard, probably from Pennsylvania, $9,500.
Harold Cole of Woodbury, Conn., was asking $55,000 for his best piece, a Long Island flat-top high chest of drawers with canted corners and unusual paw feet.
A paint decorated writing-arm Windsor chair, probably from Pennsylvania or Ohio, was $8,500 at Samuel Herrup, Sheffield, Mass.
Maine dealer David Morrey featured a large pine corner cupboard with paneled doors, $9,500, from western Massachusetts.
“We always seem to do very well here. It’s a beautiful show,” said Newburgh, N.Y., dealer Karen Olson, ticking off sales that included an early tall-case clock with original surface, a stoneware crock decorated in cobalt with a dog, a Sheraton upholstered chair, a pair of Chippendale formal chairs, a serving table in old yellow paint with decoration and a Queen Anne table. “Those are the things that come to mind, plus numerous small things,” she said.
Newbury, Mass., dealer Joan Brownstein sold a country Chippendale desk and some small portrait watercolors.
Portrait specialist Neverbird Antiques of Surrey, Va., made a major sale of a pair of Ammi Phillips portraits. On the dealer’s center wall was a Joseph Badger likeness of Mary Allen, painted in Salem, Mass., circa 1748.
Another Phillips portrait hung in Tillou’s booth. The portrait of Henry C. Langdon dated to circa 1850. Exhibited at the Connecticut Historical Society and Hirschl & Adler, it was $24,000.
Susan Stella featured a pair of carved, gilt eagles modeled in the round, $6,500. “They came out of Atlanta,” said Stella. “They might have been from a courthouse. They looked wonderful on my bookcase,” confessed the Manchester, Mass., dealer.
First-time exhibitors David and Donna Kmetz specialize in American painting of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. A focal point of the Douglas, Mass., dealers’ handsome display was “Winter Twilight,” $9,500, by New Hampshire artist William Preston Phillips.
“He was one of the first American artists to paint outdoors in the winter,” Donna Kmetz explained.
Forbes & Turner returns to Hartford on March 13-14, when Turner mounts the Connecticut Spring Antiques Show, now in its 31st year.
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