Published: July 18, 2006
For the last couple of years the weather has not been very kind to the Litchfield County Antiques Show. Last year blistering heat was the order of the day, and this year, June 24-25, the heat was coupled with lots of rain, including several downpours during the Friday evening preview. “We packed out Sunday in a downpour,” Karen DiSaia, Antiques Council liaison said. Usually the dealers are on their way by about 7 pm, but this year it was 10 pm before the place cleared out completely.
“I have the usual report, some of the dealers did well, some not so good,” Karen said the next week, “but that is to be expected.” The gate ran about the same as last year, but most of the dealers felt that those who came were there to buy if a piece caught their interest. Fourteen new dealers were in the show this year and so far, “None of the exhibitors have indicated they would not be back next summer,” Karen said.
This is the first year that an air-conditioning system has been in place, but it was not put to the real test. “The temperature did not go over 78 degrees and it was overcast a good part of the time,” Karen said. She did indicate that the system would be stepped up a bit for next year to make it more comfortable for both the dealers setting up and the visitors.
Staged in the hockey rink facility at the Kent School, thisAntiques Council event hosts 39 exhibitors offering a wide interestof collecting. Furniture, ceramics and pottery, paintings andprints, country objects and garden antiques filled the rink, makingfor one of the best-looking summer shows. Preview night drew a goodcrowd, with lots of attention given to the raw bar, and the showwas a benefit for the Greenwoods Counseling Services, Inc.
A “press bed,” all original with a beautiful headboard, late Eighteenth Century, with full size overrails and found in Kensington, N.H., was an attention getter in the booth of Colette Donovan of Merrimacport, Mass. Standing next to it was a demilune dressing table with three mortised legs, medial stretcher, in pine. Of New England origin, late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century, this table had an untouched attic surface.
Two card tables flanked a slant front desk in the booth of Gary and Martha Ludlow of Lyndhurst, Ohio. The table on the left was Hepplewhite, mahogany, with veneered and inlaid skirt, probably from Rhode Island, circa 1790-1800. On the right was the other Hepplewhite piece, ovolo corners, inlaid top and edges, tapered legs with crossbanded cuffs. It dated circa 1800 and was from either Massachusetts of New Hampshire. The Chippendale slant front desk had an interior of small drawers and pigeon holes, with shell-carved center door, ovolo corners and ogee bracket feet. It is from either Rhode Island or Eastern Connecticut, circa 1760-1780.
Yarmouthport, Mass., dealer Stephen Garner offered a pair ofRhode Island country Chippendale side chairs in maple, circa 1800,original finish with slip seats, and a two-part campaign chest incamphorwood, circa 1850, old surface, China Trade.
The Cooley Gallery of Old Lyme, Conn., had a booth perfectly suited for the display of paintings as it was at the end in the center of the show, with accessibility from the aisles on each side. Jeff Cooley offered many country scenes, including “Homestead, Litchfield, Conn.,” an oil on canvas by A.T. Van Laer (1857-1920). It was signed lower right and measured 20 by 27 inches. “View from the Orchard” by Newtown, Conn., artist Henry Ernest Schnackenberg (1872-1970) was a 24-by-30-inch oil on canvas, signed lower right, depicting his home on Taunton Hill Road. A Hudson River View was by George L(afayette) Clough (1829-1901), an oil on canvas measuring 13 by 24 inches and signed lower left.
A rare mid Eighteenth century open dresser or pewter cupboard, originally built into a house in Essex, Mass., original red interior and measuring 85 inches high, 62 inches wide, took up the major portion of the side wall in the booth of Peter Eaton and Joan R. Borwnstein, Newbury, Mass. Decorating the walls were a number of portraits including a pair of folk paintings, Prior Hamblin School, probably from the Orrington, Maine, area. Captain Elihu Hoxie was shown holding a copy of Coast Pilot with his ship Tamoree flying an American flag in the background. His wife, with white hankie in her left hand, sat in a chair in front of a window with an ocean view. An interesting and local family record was from Armenia Academy, Armenia, N.Y., showing a large yellow house with red roof and fenced in yard at the bottom. It was signed by the maker, Serepta Masill who was born in Torrington, Conn., 1803.
SAJE Americana of Short Hills, N.J., showed a classical Salemsideboard with a basket of fruit and foliate carving on thebacksplash, circa 1815, attributed to Samuel Field McIntire. Itmeasures 691/2 inches wide, 501/2 inches high, and the provenancelists Abijah Gilbert, the founder of Gilbertville, N.Y. A sheetmetal weathervane, in the form of an eagle, dated circa 1880 andwas found in Vermont.
Brian Cullity of Sagamore, Mass., offered a paint decorated, dome top Vermont trunk, circa 1830, in black and mustard, and a drake and hen pintail heads, carved, painted and mounted on plaques, circa 1930, were signed by Elmer Crowell.
A rare neoclassical desk in mahogany, circa 1830, was labeled by the maker, Stephen Smith, 151 Cornhill, Boston, in the booth of Artemis Gallery, North Salem, N.Y. It measured 72 inches long, 381/2 inches wide and 301/2 inches high. An assembled set of ten mahogany dining chairs was shown at the front of the booth, saber legs, circa 1815, and of Philadelphia origin. There were eight side chairs, two arms, and priced separately or as a group.
A sculpture of a child with raised arms by Francois Loun Viriene, French, was in the booth of Autumn Pond, Woodbury, Conn. This piece won honorable mention in 1905 at Salon eles Artiotes Francais and is signed on the base. In contrast was a handwrought iron trade sign in the form of a ram, circa 1900, from northern New York State.
A Federal tilt-top breakfast table, oval top above a turnedurn-form column on reeded saber legs with acanthus carving and pawcasters, mahogany, Philadelphia, circa 1800-1815, was in the boothof Jeffrey Tillou of Litchfield, Conn. Other furniture included aChippendale inlaid slant -front desk, Connecticut River Valley,circa 1770-1785, in cherrywood with maple inlays. It had carvedclaw and ball feet, old refinished surface, and measured 443/4inches high, 393/4 inches wide and 251/4 inches deep.
From Colchester, Conn., Nathan Liverant and Son offered an oil on canvas landscape of Wolfboro, N.H., mid Nineteenth Century, depicting a lake with homes in the background, a horse-drawn coach, and a couple in the foreground. A Chippendale tall chest in maple, circa 1780-1800, was from either eastern Connecticut or Rhode Island, and a Chippendale drop leaf table in walnut with ball and claw feet dated 1765-1785. It was in fine condition, Philadelphia School.
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, Dillsburg, Penn., showed a pair of architectural elements from a Chicago theater, circa 1920, terra cotta, with wonderful surface and condition. A podium eagle, circa 1840-80, was of large size, bold form, with gold painted surface, and a codfish weathervane was by Washburne, 18 inches long, circa 1880-1910. “It is the smallest full-bodied copper vane I have ever had,” Jeff said.
Dawn Hill Antiques from nearby New Preston, Conn., had a very striking booth with many pieces of white painted furniture including a set of six Gustavian period side chairs from Sweden, circa 1790, attributed to Erik Ohrmark. They were of white wood with upholstered seats and backs. A Swedish neoclassical settee, dry-scraped to the original surface with some gilt still showing, 78 inches wide, dated circa 1800-1810.
Elliott and Grace Snyder of South Egremont, Mass., offered aQueen Anne drop leaf table in maple and pine, New England, circa1760, 28 inches high with a 42-by-43-inch top, and an Americanarchitectural birdcage in the original red paint, circa 1830,possibly from Vermont. “There are house in Vermont with exactly thesame architectural features, including the finials,” Elliott said.A set of six transitional Queen Anne/Chippendale side chairs,splats boldly pierced with heart cutouts, Nineteenth Century,grain-painted over the original red, was from the North Shore.
Terry and Angela Brinton of Racine, Wis., showed two workbenches, the smaller one a gentleman’s or student’s bench in maple with a Chicago label, circa 1920, the larger a cabinetmaker’s bench in maple with a base of mixed woods. The base had four short drawers over one long drawer for tool storage.
Thomas Schwenke of Woodbury, Conn., had a Sheraton carved and inlaid maple and mahogany elliptical swell front chest from Portsmouth, circa 1810-15, that measured 431/2 inches wide, 37 inches high and 191/2 inches deep. A Hepplewhite sideboard of inlaid figured mahogany, swell front, string and triple line inlaid top, was of English origin and dated circa 1785-1800. It was 56 inches long and had square tapering legs ending in spade feet.
Fletcher/Copenhaver Fine Art, Fredericksburg, Va., hung a large collection of works of art including “The Young Horseman,” an oil on canvas of a rider entering a stream with a man fishing in the background, by Emile Meyer. It was signed lower right, dated ’87, and measured 20 by 30 inches sight.
A very large Meiji period bronze lotus form urn (planter), Japan, 1868-1912, was at the front of the booth of Cunha-St John, Essex, Mass., and of interest was a Hepplewhite semicircular drink table on square tapered legs, mahogany, with removable cooler covers and rear drop leaves. It was of English origin, circa 1790.
“We have brought some very rare items to this show, includinga circa 1800 flagon, dovetailed, probably American, with taperedhandle and finial and raised lid one piece of copper,” MichaelWhitman said. The Fort Washington, Penn., dealer also had a pair ofEnglish brass chimney sconces, circa 1880; a Dutch copper teapotwith faceted spout and handle, dovetailed and signed, circa 1840;and a German decorated copper wine flagon, circa 1800, dovetailedconstruction.
“These pond boats are really different, especially since they have the original paper sails,” Dana Tillou of Buffalo, N.Y., said of the pair displayed on a shelf at the left of the booth. The boats were guff rigged, circa 1890, original surface, and one had a single mast while the other had two. A New England tall case clock in cherrywood, swan neck pediment, eight-day brass works, dated circa 1800-1819, with inlaid square columns and inlaid pinwheel decoration.
White and White, Skaneateles, N.Y., brought a mix of things ranging from a rattan coffee table, couch and chair with ottoman, to a child’s Salem-type rocker, circa 1820, from New England with the original yellow paint and grape pattern decoration. The rocker had wagon striping and grain painted seat and “it came right out of an attic in my town,” Steve White said.
The liaison from the Antiques Council usually runs a show for four year before a replacement comes along. “I have been running this show for seven years now,” Karen DeSaia said, “and it is time for a change.” Next year the show will be in the hands of Marty Shapiro and Kay Gregg, The Finnegan Gallery, who are moving from Chicago to Rhinebeck, N.Y.
The Antiques Council manages three show per year, the next one in Nantucket on August 4-6, and the Washington, D.C., show in January.
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