Published: May 8, 2001
By Genevieve Ward
WESTPORT, CONN. – One of the most outstanding shows of the Northeast celebrated its 37th anniversary April 26 through 29, just as spring truly began to emerge. opened its doors to a well-attended preview on Thursday, which was sponsored by Chase Manhattan Bank. The show, an historically successful benefit for The Near & Far Aid Association, Inc. is a beautiful display of top dealers and outstanding antiques.
The show, held at the Fairfield Hunt Club, offers a supportive committee and complementary programs as well as a spacious facility in which booths and aisles are wider than most shows.
Many Southport-Westport dealers also exhibit at the Winter Antiques Show, a testimony to the quality of the 71 dealers from as close as Southport to as far as Texas. Although many of Southport-Westport’s dealers are from Connecticut and nearby New York State, it is not a local show. This year, a particularly beautiful show, post-show speculations focused on the weather as the cause for a decreased gate, although some attributed the lack to the economy or to the close proximity of the Philadelphia shows.
The show did generate a lot of interest in very important works, and, while many dealers did not report their best show, a good number had sales consistent with their high expectations of Southport-Westport. Mary Beth Keene of Wayne Pratt reported that at least two curators, David Wood of the Concord Museum and Bill Hosley of the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society came out to take a look at their Eighteenth Century Connecticut Queen Anne flattop highboy with untouched red painted surface. Other pieces exhibited by Pratt included a Federal mahogany inlaid bowfront chest attributed to Joseph Clark (1767-1857, from either Portsmouth or Greenland, N.H. and a circa 1817 Federal mahogany tambour writing desk-and-bookcase, possibly from the Connecticut River Valley.
Cheryl and Paul Scott of Hillsborough, N.H. said that they sold practically half of the furniture they brought. Those sales included six hanging shelves, a round tilt top table, a card table, a stand and a Hepplewhite bow front bureau, which was one of Cheryl’s favorite pieces. A record for the dealers, they sold eight paintings, including two estate-fresh unframed landscapes that sold during preview for a customer’s summer home. In addition, the dealers sold all of their garden rdf_Descriptions including iron planters and marble urns, and a great terrarium. Two mirrors sold on Saturday; one, a ripple-framed mirror, was purchased by a husband as a mother’s day gift for his wife. The other was a European two-part gilt mirror.
Norma Chick/Autumn Pond of Bolton, Conn. reported, “I had a good show and sold two running horse weathervanes, a rooster weathervane, and quite a lot of Delft and English delftware, among other rdf_Descriptions.” There was also a lot of interest in a New England oval tea table and maple drop leaf table.
Peter Eaton of Newburyport, Mass. brought a pair of circa 1840 untouched portraits of sisters that descended in the family of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Also beautifully displayed was a collection of free-blown clear glass from New England or Pittsburgh makers, circa 1820-45. A standout piece in Peter’s booth was a rare Pilgrim century framed chest of drawers from the Connecticut River Valley, circa 1710-30, of which Peter said, “Any framed chest of an early period is rare.” The chest was dramatically grain painted circa 1830-50 over Eighteenth Century blue paint.
Janice Strauss of South Salem, N.Y. said, “We had serious interest in several pieces in our booth and sold a fine tiger maple desk, and a rare gentleman’s tiger maple travel case, which we had handled about 12 years ago, and recently had the good fortune to repurchase. We also sold an interesting oil on canvas of Mount Washington.” Also on display was a circa 1740-60 American Queen Anne tavern table and a Philadelphia dish top birdcage table.
Judd Gregory of Dorset, Vt. brought a circa 1825 blanket chest from South Shaftsbury, Vt., painted by the Mattheson family, and a circa 1760-80 Chippendale slant front desk from Salem, Mass., possibly by John Chapman Tuttle. It was a real treat to see a late Seventeenth Century pewter and brass sconce with great form that was probably Dutch.
Kent, Conn. dealer Elizabeth Mankin hung Nineteenth Century Grenfell Mission mats on her walls, and displayed furniture such as a circa 1720-30 New England Queen Anne four-drawer chest in old red-brown paint.
Fine art dealer John Formicola of Philadelphia, Pa. reported that the preview was well attended, but overall gate may have been down due to the beautiful spring weather. Although most of his sales were in the low range, John noted that there was a lot of interest from both dealers and customers in two specific works, “Calla Lily” by Jane Peterson (pictured) and “Hanging Grapes” by A.J.H. Way.
Peter Curran of Wilton, Conn., recalled, “It was a good show for me. I sold a cherry Chippendale secretary, a mahogany classical sofa, a carved wooden hearse panel in old paint, several quilts and some Tiffany silver.”
From Litchfield, Conn., Jeffrey Tillou brought a circa 1790-95 Hepplewhite card table, possibly New York, while Chippendale pieces included a Portsmouth, N.H. drop leaf dining table, circa 1770-80 and a Lancaster schrank in walnut and poplar, also circa 1770-80.
This was Jane McClafferty’s first year at Southport-Westport, and the New Canaan, Conn. dealer enjoyed a large booth to display an American maple tall post bed (1810-20), a circa 1780-1800 American maple tall chest and a 1794 cherry desk in old red wash from Bennington, Vt.
Pat Guthman of Southport brought a wide range of kitchen antiques and American furniture. She reported a lot of interest in the French pottery and the copper and sold a hutch table and an armchair, as well as a circa 1780 New England desk in original red paint.
Hanes and Ruskin of Old Lyme, Conn. brought a 1780 New England Chippendale four-drawer chest, a diminutive circa 1770 Newport highboy and a circa 1780 Rhode Island Chippendale figured maple desk with original brasses.
Early American furniture from Anthony Werneke of Pond Eddy, N.Y. included a circa 1720-30 Connecticut River Valley cheery and white pine butterfly table, a stretcher-less American Hepplewhite wing chair from Massachusetts, circa 1785, and a circa 1760-75 American Chippendale slant front desk from Essex in walnut and white pine.
Westport, Conn. dealer George Subkoff brought English furniture and highlights included a circa 1750 George II mahogany card table and a circa 1810Regency rosewood sofa table. On the wall was a set of eight gouache view of Mount Vesuvius erupting, from Naples, early Nineteenth Century.
Classical furniture is the forte of Carswell Rush Berlin, and he brought with him a rare classical tiger and bird’s-eye maple sofa, from Boston, circa 1815-25 and a set of eight mahogany klismos dining chairs from Philadelphia, 1815-20. Not forgetting his own city, a Federal gilt and rosewood-grained painted settee from New York dated circa 1810-20.
Gary E. Young of Centreville, Md. brought a circa 1830 William IV rosewood center table, a circa 1725 English slant front bureau and a circa 1755 George II marble top serving table.
Diana Bittel of Wynnewood, Pa. had a great selection of sailor’s woolwork portraits, as did Leatherwood Antiques of Sandwich, Mass. Each dealer fortified their respective booths with other categories; Mo Wajselfish of Leatherwood enjoys dealing in Black Forest rdf_Descriptions and children’s jugs, while Diana’s furniture included an impressive circa 1770 New Hampshire Queen Anne New Hampshire tiger maple highboy and a Pennsylvania painted blanket chest decorated with flowers, circa 1830.
The show is as strong in specialists as it is in dealers who carry furniture and more. The Finnegan Gallery of Chicago was on hand with garden antiques, Sallea of New Canaan brought a wide selection of boxes, Oriental Rugs Ltd., of Old Lyme, Conn. had an established presence, and Paul DeCoste of West Newbury, Mass. brought nautical and scientific instruments. James Labaugh of Pound Ridge, N.Y. had cases full of Chinese export porcelain. Highlights included a pair of circa 1825 octagonal jars that looked like Imari, but were actually made in England and decorated in a Japanese pattern. One of the dealer’s favorite pieces was a miniature watercolor on ivory framed in glass, depicting the Hongs at Canton, 1810-20.
In addition to their great selection of Eighteenth Century creamware, redware, and saltglaze pottery, Maria and Peter Warren of Southport exhibited works by artists including J. Howard Euston, Christopher Shearer, Cesare Ricciardi, Emile Gruppe, Elliot C. Clark and Marion P. Sloane.
Also exhibiting pottery was Suchow and Seigel, Southport dealers for about 26 years. The Manhattan dealers also exhibited interesting objets d’art including Nineteenth Century carved sycamore snuffboxes, two in the form of a wolf and a lamb. This being their only show outside of the Manhattan Art and Antiques Center, they enjoyed sales in delft, Chinese export and objets from their cases.
Clocks were well represented by Charles Edwin of Louisa, Va. Dealer Chuck Probst recalled, “We did have one very good sale to a local couple, a nice long-case clock. It seemed like a time to look and remember, but not actually purchase the bigger ticket rdf_Descriptions. We had quite a few good conversations about the more expensive things that we brought. We tend to get good follow-up from Southport, so some of it may come to pass yet.”
Hastings House of Essex, Conn. displayed a late 1700s Chinese JuMu table carved with stylized foliate and dragon designs, as well as a mid-to-late 1800s Chinese elmwood low table that was boldly grained.
Early furniture at John Keith Russell included a circa 1780 Rhode Island Windsor side chair in maple and pine ash, and a circa 1760 Connecticut Queen Anne tall chest in a red stain.
Elle Shushan of Augustus Decorative Arts, New York City, reported, “Interest this year was primarily in European miniatures, and the sales were predominantly English pieces, including an important portrait of William Pitt, Prime Minister to King George III by Henry Edridge, A.R.A., circa 1795.”
Fred Giampietro of New Haven arranged an imaginative display of American folk art including a pair of circa 1880 cast iron dogs, a circa 1910 set of snowshoe chairs and table by Tubbs of Wallingford, Vt., and an intriguing “dancing dolls” toy from Georgia, circa 1870.
Kyser-Hollingsworth attracted a lot of admirers of a stunning circa 1827 Thomas Sully (1783-1872) portrait of “Mother and Child.” The Washington, D.C. dealers also brought Nineteenth Century Chinese scrolls done in watercolor and ink, as well as a circa 1790 Massachusetts Federal tambour desk.
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