Published: April 18, 2011
At a time when too many antiques shows across the country are losing good dealers and visitor count is going down, it is great to see a show celebrate its 50th year with a strong roster of exhibitors and ever-increasing gate. Such is the case of The Philadelphia Antiques Show, where floundering is not part of the equation.
A packed preview party, where tickets ranged from $600 for an early peek at the show to $250 an hour-plus later, took place on Friday, April 8, at The Navy Yard, Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier One. The show then ran for the next four days, with the last of the exhibitors (Jeff Bridgman) packing out and departing Wednesday afternoon.
“The show was a winner all the way around,” Josh Wainwright of Keeling Wainwright Associates, manager of the show with his wife, Sandy, said. The preview set a record for attendance, and the gate for the run of the show showed a slight increase. “This is a challenging economic climate and we were very pleased to see collectors and curators buying at the show,” Josh said. “And I still feel that it is the best show in the country,” he added.
The Philadelphia Antiques Show spent most of its life at the 33rd Street Armory, moving to the Navy Yard after Drexel University bought the building in 2008. Now the show is on the move once again, as Urban Outfitters has bought the cruise terminal for expansion. So in 2012 the show will become a tenant of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and, because of conflicts in scheduling, will preview on April 27 and run through May 1. The show will return to its traditional dates the following year.
“We are going to occupy space on the ground floor, where we will have more room to accommodate the dealers’ booths, storage for the dealers, and lecture and dining areas. It is going to be better in many ways, the ADA dinner will still be held at the show, and there are numerous hotels and parking areas in the immediate location,” Josh Wainwright said.
With all the space available at the convention center, the size of the show came into question. “There is a good chance we will increase the show slightly, not big numbers, but only if we can bring new material into the show with top dealers. We are not going to expand just to expand,” Josh emphasized.
The show has grown into a strong Americana showcase, blending perfectly with specialists in Chinese art, pottery, jewelry, silver and rugs, to name a few categories. And all of it displayed in finely tuned and inviting booths by 51 of the leading antiques dealers.
The lead figure on a carousel is generally of great size, as witnessed by the lion in the booth of Kelly Kinzle of New Oxford, Penn. Measuring 62 inches long, 62 inches high and 16 inches wide, it came off the Lakemont Park Carousel, Altoona, Penn., circa 1902, carved by Joy Morris, Philadelphia, and retains the original painted surface. A carved and polychromed eagle, originally on a post office or bank building, Salem, Mass., dated circa 1840‱850 and measured 27 inches high and 41 inches wide. “Liberty, 1756” was spelled out on a fireman’s cape, circa 1840, of Philadelphia origin.
English furniture and accessories filled the booth of Georgian Manor Antiques, Fairhaven, Mass. Owner Enrique “Ricky” Goytizolo fits his booth together like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece of furniture falling neatly in place with just enough room for people to come in and have a closer look. An English George II oblong gate leg table in walnut had a mellow and patinated surface, with a rounded rectangular top on carved, faceted pad feet. It dated circa 1750‱760 and measured 29 inches high, 52 inches wide, 21 inches deep and 59½ inches when open. A George III bowfront side table in mahogany had a reeded edge top and finely turned legs ending in high toes. Dating circa 1810, it measured 28½ inches high, 35½ inches wide and 20½ inches deep.
Steven S. Powers, Brooklyn, N.Y., was new to the show this year and offered an interesting collection of smalls that included a red painted ash burl bowl, circa 1780, 14¼ inches in diameter and 7½ inches high. An Ohio grain painted miniature, step back cupboard, circa 1875‱880, measured 18 inches wide, 21½ inches high and 10 inches deep. It was made by Christian Sprang for Mary Sprang and painted by Calvin Moore.
A Philadelphia William and Mary gate leg table, of small size with the original brasses, dated circa 1730, was shown by James M. Kilvington, Dover, Del. Standing against the back wall was a Pennsylvania German inlaid tall case clock by Peter Miller of Lynn Township, Lehigh County, dating circa 1795‱800.
Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, Inc, Maryknoll, N.Y., about covered the end wall of his booth with a set of 14 hand colored copperplate engravings of fish, circa 1780, by Marcus Elieser Bloch. On the back wall was hung a set of nine original hand colored engravings of waterfowl by Beverley Morris, 1855, measuring 14¼ by 16½ inches framed.
Avery Galleries of Bryn Mawr, Penn., offered a number of paintings, among them an important work by Philip Leslie Hale (1865‱931), “Top of the Morning,” depicting two ladies in a most restful spring atmosphere, one seated and the other standing. This oil on canvas measured 39 by 28¾ inches and dated circa 1898.
American furniture and early accessories filled the booth of Elliott & Grace Snyder, Egremont, Mass. Against the side wall was a striking, boldly painted cupboard from New York State, circa 1880, measuring 82 inches high, 50 inches wide and 19½ inches deep. It featured two doors in the upper section, and two doors in the lower portion. An Eighteenth Century Windsor armchair, with shaped crest rail and knuckle arms, was probably from eastern Massachusetts and descended in the Pearson family, Byfield, Mass. It was of maple, pine and hickory.
A carved and painted wood figure of Father Time stood in the booth of Hill Gallery, Birmingham, Mich., a fraternal lodge sculpture of Midwest origin, dating 1890, artist unknown, and measuring 34 inches high, 17 inches wide and 15 inches deep. Two works were offered by Bill Traylor, Montgomery, Ala., both crayon and pencil on cardboard and dating circa 1939‱942. One was “Man pointing to the sky with owl on complex basket form,” 15 by 9 inches, and the other “Man reaching for bottles,” 13¼ by 7½ inches.
There is no shortage of lighting in the front booth at the show of Olde Hope Antiques, New Hope, Penn., which drew immediate attention to a peacock weathervane positioned above a blanket chest. This vane, possibly from a Boston maker, dated from the late Nineteenth Century, copper and zinc with some of the original gilt remaining, measured 33½ inches long, 26¼ inches high. It was among the things sold during the start of the show. A single-drawer blanket chest, South Shaftsbury, Vt., circa 1825, was of pine with a polychrome finish, and a rare child’s-size slant front desk, New England origin, was circa 1860. The piece measured 21 inches high, 21 inches wide, 10½ inches deep, and was of pine and maple and retained the original red finish.
Centered in the booth of Stephen & Carol Huber, Old Saybrook, Conn., was a large silk embroidery depicting a circa 700 BC scene of the Queen of Sheba visiting King Solomon. The piece, probably worked at the Folwell School, Philadelphia, circa 1820, measured 28 by 35 inches sight and was of sequins, gold and silver braids, jewels and watercolor on silk. An interesting Poyen family genealogy, Massachusetts, silk on linen, measured 163/8 by 21¼ inches and dated circa 1806‱813.
Christopher T. Rebollo Antiques, Mechanicsville, Penn., showed a pair of Federal game tables, probably West Chester, Penn., circa 1790‱810, at the front of his booth. Each was inscribed “Capt Bush †Flag Nancy,” measured 29½ inches high, 36 inches wide and 177/8 inches deep, and was of mahogany, walnut, poplar and holly. Among the portraits offered was one of Eliza Schaum Muhlenberg, Lancaster, Penn., an 1816 oil on canvas attributed to Jacob Eichholtz (1776‱842). It was a wedding portrait, one of two of her done by the artist, and measured 29 by 24 inches.
A painted Plains hide, Crow or Shoshone, dating from the Nineteenth Century, hung on the wall opposite the booth of Brant Mackley Gallery, Hershey, Penn. On the back wall of the booth was a pictorial textile, Navajo, circa 1890, depicting many animals and human figures in dark brown and red/orange on white.
One of the stars of the show was a large Punch figure, over 6 feet tall on pedestal, that came out of a New York State private collection. Featured in the booth of Fred Giampietro, New Haven, Conn., it sold within the first five minutes of the show. A large copper rooster weathervane, American, circa 1895, was against the back wall, and an impressive tavern sign from the Union House, New York State, circa 1860, depicted a standing horse in a painted oval on one side, and a large eagle with shield and flags on the other.
Several cupboards were offered from the booth of Greg Kramer, Robesonia, Penn., including a two-part paint decorated Dutch example, the top section with two six-pane doors, the base with two drawers over two more doors. It was by Reinholds/Schoeneck, Lancaster County, and dated from the mid-Nineteenth Century. An Eighteenth Century painted corner cupboard had arched doors, each with four panes, keystone and shell carved pediment, dentil molding, and dated circa 1770‱780. It was Philadelphia or the Eastern Shore, Md.
Among the works of art offered by Schwarz Gallery, Philadelphia, were two portraits of George Washington, one by Rembrandt Peale, American (1778‱860), an oil on canvas measuring 30 by 25 inches. Inscribed on the reverse, prior to relining, was “painted by Rembrandt Peale in 1854 from his original portrait of 1795.” The second oil on canvas, 30 by 25 inches, 1850, was by Jane Stuart, American (1812‱888), the youngest daughter of the famous portraitist Gilbert Stuart.
An appliquéd friendship quilt, dated and signed “Sophia Pyle’s quilt pieced by her mother in 1848,” 102 inches square and containing 40 squares, was in the booth of The Herrs, Lancaster, Penn. “We took the quilt out of our collection, as well as the John Long Betty lamp that sold quickly,” Don Herr said. The lamp measures 4 inches high and was decorated with a bird and engraved “Fanny M. Erisman manufactured by John Long 1848.” The lamp had been in the Herrs collection for the past ten years.
H.L. Chalfant American Antiques & Fine Art, West Chester, Penn., showed a very rare walnut Chippendale circular tavern table with scalloped apron, splayed cabriole legs and ball and claw feet. Measuring 28 inches high, 32 inches in diameter, it was from either Virginia or Pennsylvania. A sold ticket was on a Queen Anne balloon seat side chair, yoke crest, spooned back, cabriole legs ending in trifid feet, of Philadelphia origin.
Continuing the lion theme set by Kelly Kinzle across the aisle. Diana Bittel Antiques, Bryn Mawr, Penn., showed a pair of recumbent cast iron lions on platforms, 18 by 16 by 42 inches, American and dating from the early to mid-Nineteenth Century, as well as a high relief lion head that was once part of a circus wagon. A circa 1870 lion face was surrounded by a detailed sunburst-type mane.
Two dower chests were stacked at the front of the booth of Philip H. Bradley, Downingtown, Penn., the lower one sulfur inlaid walnut, inscribed “Magtalena Fishborn 1781,” probably Dauphin County, Penn., measuring 28 inches high, 52 inches wide and 24 inches deep. On top of it was a blue painted example with star decoration, circa 1790, measuring 27 inches high, 52 inches wide and 22½ inches deep, and retaining the original brasses. It was probably from either Berks, Lancaster or Lehigh County.
Samuel Herrup Antiques, Sheffield, Mass., sold a walnut tavern table, Pennsylvania. Circa 1720-1760, with turned legs and scalloped apron on all sides. A miniature burl bowl, painted elm from New York State, Eighteenth to Nineteenth Century, was American Indian and painted green over the original red exterior with natural center. A mirror, dating from the early Nineteenth Century, measured 44 inches tall and was from Bilbao, Spain.
The first Philadelphia Antiques Show, 1962, netted $30,000 and as of last year, show beneficiary Penn Medicine has been enriched by $17 million. The show, managed by a board of 65 women and 200 volunteers, hopefully will add another $1 million after the costs are tallied this year, with proceeds to benefit the Penn Ovarian Cancer Research Center.
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