Published: July 1, 2003
– The Rye Historical Society Spring Antiques Show took place Friday, May 9, through Sunday, May 11, from 11 am till 6 pm, at the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College. A preview opening Thursday evening added to the upscale ambiance of the event. Show manager Susie McMillan of Charity Antiques Shows produces numerous antiques events throughout the Eastern United States as fundraisers for sponsoring organizations.
The Rye show raised money for the historical society’s museum and its educational and outreach programs, and was a success through what was brought to the public. More than 40 dealers from as far away as Kansas and Missouri — even England — offered antiques of many styles and purposes. While this was the first show for this sponsor, the two trustees who acted as co-chairs said they “planned and brought this event to fulfillment in full expectation that it will be the first of many to come.”
The facility was very well turned out, but improvements for 2004 might include better lighting, as most booths even with dealer-supplied lighting were dark, and a change in layout, as food service and restrooms required the customers to leave the area of the antiques.
McMillan seems to have found dealers who can offer museum-grade rdf_Descriptions at prices people should be able to afford. A Massachusetts North Shore highboy, for example, circa 1760, was under $20,000 in very good original condition, and tall-case clocks from about 1800 were priced around $12,000.
Fiske and Freeman are residents of Belmont, Vt., but John Fiske is an Englishman who still shops there. At this show he had a late Seventeenth Century tap table and chip carved document box and an Eighteenth Century inlaid chest of drawers. They also had some early samplers that are pure art forms; now those are expensive but great to see.
From his shop in Chapel Hill, N.C., David Lindquist brought a house full of furniture, all in the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century styles with either English provenance or influence. His dining table was set for 12, complete with the dishes, with a handsome four-drawer chest to the side.
Sara Breiel comes from Cincinnati, Ohio. For the show she offered an overly full living room that appeared to be from Paris, circa 1840 or earlier, but with electric lights. Of particular note was a slant front Louis XVI desk in various wood veneers.
There were two dealers from Nashua, N.H. with widely varied offerings. James Butterworth Antiques had fine hardwood and hardwood veneer furniture from Hepplewhite to Regency periods (1770-1840), while Michael Donovan could furnish an entire house in wicker furniture, including the early Twentieth Century wicker lamps.
Virginia was represented by Robert Blair Antiques of Richmond and James Wilhoit of Alexandria. Blair’s associate Margie Couch said this was their first venture this far north with their mostly English Seventeenth through Nineteenth Century inventory. Wilhoit, on the other hand, mixes late Eighteenth Century furniture and furnishings from England, China and America.
Of those traveling the furthest, American Spirit Antiques of Shawnee Mission, Kan., and David Weston, Kent, England, get the prize. American Spirit had a great many outstanding pieces of early American-made furniture, including the highboy mentioned earlier in this report. They also had a Rhode Island upholstered wing chair, circa 1780, original frame, newly covered. Its shape was especially attractive with a flared top to the wings and back not often seen. Weston brings mostly small antiques from his native home. He comes to the United States for several shows each year, usually bringing more merchandise each trip.
Another stuffed booth belonged to David Storrar Bethune of Bridgeport, Conn. He was too busy selling to be interviewed but his collection could have been a set for Henry Higgins’ library of My Fair Lady, minus the books. We especially liked his booth rug, a Persian in blue and pale red that showed off his early tilt-top table so well.
Fairfield, Conn.’s Patricia Barger was there but without her unusual booth full of early clocks. She knew Ron Lotz was coming so she brought a few clocks and a great collection of early furniture and accessories. Her centerpiece was another early highboy, a flat-top from New England.
Shorr & Dubinsky, Reading, Penn., brought Art Deco and Art Nouveau from early 1900s. A set of steel chairs, likely for a Florida room or porch from the 20s, were $1,400.
Running Battle Antiques, Millbrook, N.Y., had an early coffer, chip carved blanket chest. The term coffer (also spelled cofer) comes from the Latin and Greek languages and refers to a solid, strong box that would protect its contents, often money or valuables. By the Seventeenth Century, a coffer was made of single planks all around, in the manner of a six-board chest, tight at all corners and featuring bottom seams with dove tail joints or pegs. The carvings on this great piece were of a double sunrise on the front arising from a crosshatched horizon.
Susie McMillan and The Rye Historical Society are planning to do this again. Susie can be reached at PO Box 812057, Wellesley, MA 02482 or 508-655-4533. The society can be reached at 914-967-7588. It has a fully accredited museum as part of its contribution to the public; call them for open hours.
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