– The second annual Newburyport Antiques Show, which took place over the weekend of August 23-24, reported yet another successful outing, starting off in grand style with a well-attended preview party on Friday evening. The show, in just two short years, is well on its way to becoming one of the nicest moderately sized shows in New England.
Last year’s highly successful premier for the show was a tough act to follow for manager Dennis Radulski and his crew from the Historical Society of Old Newbury. The show was formal, but not too stuffy. Business was good for virtually all the dealers, and the preview party was lively and served up a plentiful selection of shrimp, oysters and champagne. How could they top that? Radulski expanded the floor area for the show with a larger tent, added a bunch of dealers, beefed up the raw bar, bought more champagne and sold even more tickets for the preview party.
Upon entering Newburyport, a quick glance down the Merrimac River waterfront revealed an awesome — albeit temporary — new structure in town: a massive, bright white, three-ring-circus-style tent. While the exterior riverfront view was grand, the view inside the tent was equally exemplary, as more than 40 dealers displayed a wide variety of quality antiques ranging from Oriental to English and from early American furnishings to Twentieth Century art.
More than 450 people made their way to the show for the opening, and as with last year, the crowd was not only on hand to socialize while enjoying champagne and the sumptuous raw bar. They were there to buy. The party opened at 5:30 pm and before 6 there were “sold” tags popping up all around the floor on a wide variety of rdf_Descriptions, including a Pembroke table in original finish from the booth of Peter Eaton. Other rdf_Descriptions of interest in Eaton’s booth included a nice regional 12-panel Hepplewhite birch bow front chest of drawers and a Federal secretary from the North Shore with bird’s-eye panels, well formed spade feet and nice arched glass panels in the top section. Earlier rdf_Descriptions in the booth consisted of a locally made, well-pro-portioned Queen Anne highboy in a great old dark finish, and New Hampshire tall-case clock with figured birch case (of which there are only three known examples) by Ivory Hall, a silversmith from Concord.
Numerous “sold” tags also appeared in the booth of Robert Withington, as his selection of garden accoutrements proved popular. A large pair of granite benches and some urns sported red tags and there seemed to be serious interest in many of the other rdf_Descriptions offered.
Belmont, Vt., dealers Fiske and Freeman were new to the show this year and they displayed a variety of early English materials in a striking faux post-and-beam booth structure. Highlighting the selection was a press court cupboard with elaborately carved friezes and doors, circa 1650. Other rdf_Descriptions of interest included a Charles II chest of drawers, a nicely carved merchant’s counter table and numerous bible boxes.
Stephen Garner returned to the show this year with high expectations. Along with his usual assortment of New England Americana was a rare and very good looking scrubbed top Moravian tavern table in walnut and pine with built-in stretcher-base style foot rests. More traditional rdf_Descriptions from Garner’s stock included a walnut Chippendale side chair of Rhode Island origin and a maple Queen Anne slant front desk from the Boston area.
Artworks were plentiful at the show this year, with Louis Dianni, Fishkill, N.Y., offering up a grand selection of nautical-theme paintings. Highlighting the selection was a portrait of the Christina by Antonio Jacobsen, a likeness of the Ellen Little by S.F.M. Badger, and a double-view picture of the Ituna by Joseph Heard showing the ship in two positions in front of a palm-lined port.
Richardson Clarke Gallery also displayed a selection of important paintings, many of which had regional appeal, such as the Ernest Ipsen’s Impressionistic shoreline scene titled “Nonquit, 1919.” Also of note was an Aldro Hibbard scene titled “The Old Covered Bridge” and a painting by Gloucester Art Association artist Frederick Mulhaupt titled “Early Snow.”
Lepore Fine Arts also offered numerous quality paintings that were attracting a great deal of attention during preview, including an Augustus Koopman Impressionistic beach scene titled “On The Beach Near Equihen.” Other paintings included an Aldro Hibbard sugaring scene in winter and regional pieces, such as a Laura Coombs Hill picture of yellow and white roses, and a George Noyes painting of “The Old Mill at Riverdale.”
With a preview party that has become the talk of the town, a great list of dealers that offer a diversified range of materials and an eager audience, this show, a benefit for the Historical Society of Old Newbury and the Cushing House Museum, has a bright future.