Published: August 8, 2016
Review and Photos by R. Scudder Smith
WOODSTOCK, VT. — They took up the ice in the Union Arena Community Center, put down a carpeted floor, set up some walls, invited 45 antiques dealers to come to Woodstock for a couple of days, and then the Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association was ready to open its annual show over the July 30–31 weekend. About 100 people were in line on Saturday morning, awaiting the 10 am opening of the show, and they were welcomed by a group of friendly exhibitors who presented an attractive show with many wonderful, and in some cases neat, things to buy.
For the most part Americana, leaning toward country, dominated the show, with a small showing of brown furniture. A couple of paintings dealers were on hand, along with a rug merchant and a scattering of jewelry. Without question there were things there to spark most any interest, and many shoppers left the show with package in hand. By the end of the second day a good number of dealers had done well, with a final gate of about 500 visitors.
Derik Pulito of Kensington, Conn., had one of the front booths at the show, offering a round New England chair table with old red base and scrubbed top, along with a matched set of six hoop back Windsor side chairs in black paint, Massachusetts origin, dating 1790. In excellent condition was a porcelain top kitchen table, white with red decoration, which was a fixture in almost every kitchen not so many years ago.
A collector of Vermont furniture and objects hit pay dirt in the booth of Stephen-Douglas, Rockingham, Vt., with the purchase of a set of four late Sheraton fiddle back side chairs, painted black, with the original label of the maker, D.M. Tuthill of Saxton River, Vt., on the back of each chair. One of the chairs, circa 1810, was tipped forward and displayed prominently to show the label. Of interest was a dome-top box, displayed open, showing the bold lettering and illustration of an American flag on the inside cover with lettering that read, in part, “forever float that standard sheet, where breathless the foe but falls before us.” A couple of colorful game boards hung near a wooden, running horse weathervane going downhill on the back wall, and a two-drawer lift top blanket chest, grain painted, was against the right-hand wall.
It should be noted that Stephen and Douglas have added a new member to the family, another beagle pup named Charlie Brown, who showed up ownerless at a nearby group shop. So far, he has run up a vet bill after eating a half-pound of chocolate and crashed through the screen door before it was opened. “But we are still going to keep him,” Doug said.
Missouri Plain Folk made the trip to Vermont from Sikeston, Mo., with a load of colorful pieces, including game boards, trade signs and furniture. One of the signs advertised “Dry Goods & Groceries” at E B Yard’s, Newtown, N.J., while another offered “Fresh Eggs, 15 cents Doz” and still another was for “Day Old Chicks” with a new baby illustrated. A six-board chest sported a blue-purple ground spotted with a diamond-shaped pattern in green, and a wind-toy came alive with a black lady washing a tub filled with clothes. Probably the tastiest things Tim Chambers had to offer was watermelon fresh from a Missouri farm. At first we thought he might be kidding, but when he popped the trunk of his little white convertible, there they were for easy picking.
One never knows what Pat Reese and John Rice of Portsmouth, N.H., will show up with. This time was no different, and objects varied from a carved wooden walking stick with a dog’s head handle to a small wooden churn with three wooden straps holding it together. A low back Windsor armchair had nine spindles and splayed legs, and a very early catcher’s mask looked as if it had seen more than its share of games.
“People are not crazy for butter prints at this show, so I brought a larger selection of furniture than usual as well as some great wooden bowls and scoops,” John Rogers of New London, N.H., said. A stack of three long benches was shown against one side wall, over three large salad bowls with wooden scoops and several cutting boards. Two six-board chests were offered, one with a bright reddish surface, and a child’s bench was on the right wall.
DBR-Doug Ramsay, Hadley, Mass., offered an Eighteenth Century round, drop leaf table, old surface and tapering legs, at the front of his booth, and a selection of doorstops included an elephant, a windmill, two dogs and three cats. One of his trademarks is weathervanes, and this time he showed a sheet metal locomotive with rusted surface, a full-bodied sailboat and a horse and rider in the jumping position, also full figure. In keeping with the summer fishing season, an early sign read “Fish Worms For Sale.”
Holden Antiques of Sherman, Conn., and Naples, Fla., had a nautical setting with a nice model of a captain’s tug boat resting on top of a Nineteenth Century ship diorama with a large vessel under full sail, believed to be in a Hudson River setting. Centered on the back wall was a large still life, oil on canvas dating from the Nineteenth Century, in a period frame, and a collection of corkscrews offered the wine drinker a choice of either a handcarved wooden handle or one of bone.
One expects Liberty Hill Antiques of Reading, Vt., to have on display a carpenter’s bench, a tool box and a selection of tools, and they were all there again this year. The bench, extra long, was in fine condition and had some tool neatly arranged on top as if the carpenter had just ended his day’s work. The tool box, also in great shape, held a selection of planes and was the perfect answer for an end table or attractive coffee table. A child’s ladder back armchair retained traces of the original red and had a rug-type fabric seat, and a large ship was the highlight of a selection of cast iron doorstops.
A tall Vermont apple ladder with traces of the original paint was leaning against the front of the booth of The Red Horse, Bridgewater, Vt., and a Noah’s Ark by a German toy maker was set up surrounded by its passengers, including Noah and two wives, plus a selection of 35 animals that, for the most part, were arranged in pairs. A ram and sheep doorstop sported original paint, and an English refectory table with stretcher base, walnut, dated circa 1780.
A pair of weathered doors, with the original hardware, flanked a New England portrait of a young lady holding a rose, oil on canvas, circa 1850, in the booth of Baker & Co., Delmar, N.Y. A Hudson River sand paper painting hung nearby, and a trio of firkins, red, blue and green, were displayed on a bench and a stack of kitchen boxes showed various paints.
A large, white painted sheet metal figure of a pig stood at the front of the booth of West Pelham Antiques, Pelham, Mass., a sculpture that “would be great for a BBQ restaurant” Michael Weinberg, owner, said. He also offered a clown sign that was designed for kids to stand beside to determine if they were tall enough to go on certain carnival rides, and a child’s chair, with the sides cut out in the shape of elephants, belonged to “Donald,” as painted on the back rest.
A New England tavern table with dovetailed drawer, all maple with no secondary woods, Connecticut origin and dating from the first half of the Eighteenth Century, was among the furniture offered by Hanes & Ruskin of Old Lyme, Conn. Against the back wall was a Queen Anne highboy in curly maple, Rhode Island origin, circa 1740–60, that measured 70½ inches tall.
A large round sign, green ground with white lettering, announced the “Spring Brook Camp Grounds” from the back wall of the booth of Home Farm Antiques, Bolton Landing, N.Y. On the side wall was a New England plate rack in old surface, with three shelves, and against the back wall was a baker’s cabinet with metal-covered surface and small drawers in the top section.
Your attention was drawn to an artist proof by Sabra Field, colorful and very striking, that hung on the back wall in the booth of Lucinda and Michael Seward of Pittsford, Vt. Field was well known for her woodcuts and established the Tontine Press. Hanging next to it was a Nineteenth Century basket of flowers embroidery and a glass top case enclosed a selection of silver flatware. A Nineteenth Century armchair retained the original finish and had the original woven rush seat. “We have been busy, the way we like it,” Mike said while thumbing through his sales book.
Greg Hamilton was kept more than busy setting up his booth, Stone Block Antiques of Vergennes, Vt., as well as serving as manager of the antiques show and all that goes with it. “The show generally runs pretty smoothly, but there are always a few lighting problems, we keep the lobby area neat, and I am on the speaker system a few times to remind our dealers that parking is to the rear of the lot, not up front as we save those spaces for our visitors,” Greg said.
When he finally got his booth arranged to his liking, a set of four blue painted shutters with spade cutouts hung on the back wall, a wire rendering of a bridge was on a shelf, a large corner cupboard with arched door on top and three drawers in the lower section was filled with a selection of brass candlesticks, and among the works of art was a winter scene with mountains in the background, an oil on canvas by James Bonnar (1885–1961). Attracting lots of attention, and selling soon after the show opened, was a great-looking coffee table, a large and colorful slab of petrified wood mounted on an iron stand. It was positioned at the front of the booth, between two comfortable upholstered armchairs that always seemed to be a resting spot for someone.
One never knows what Tommy Thompson of Pembroke, N.H., will bring to the show, but there is always color. Three-tier glass stands, two of them loaded with stone fruit, were at the front of the booth, and the back wall had his traditional Nineteenth Century weaver’s spool rack. A brightly painted German village of small buildings included a number of houses and a church, a wooden box contained nine cutting boards, mostly in the form of a pig, and a stack of wooden gilt-covered letters included a Y, U, P, O and L, giving Tommy a real challenge to come up with a word.
“Bet you have never seen a sailor’s valentine like this one,” Justin Cobb of Captain’s Quarters, Amherst, Mass., said as he retrieved an inlaid box from the back table in his booth. The box had two drawers and each contained a square valentine, the top drawer with “Farewell” written into the design and “Home Again” on the lower one. Several other traditional valentines were offered, along with a large woodcarved salmon and a painted and gilded carved wood eagle holding banner reading “Live and Let Live”.
A country-style secretary, circa 1840–60, in the original red paint was in the booth of Mill Brook Antiques, Reading, Vt., and at the front of the booth was a small-size cobbler’s bench, Nineteenth Century. Dating from the mid-1800s was a sheet metal horse, probably an early sign or stable decoration, found in a barn in central New York State.
Dennis and Valerie Bakoledis, Rhinebeck, N.Y., offered a Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania or New York State corner cupboard with a nine-light door on top, along with a 6-foot-tall carnival sign depicting a jolly, fat man holding a “start” button. “What his real function was we really don’t know,” Dennis said, “but he makes you smile.” Measuring 5 feet long was a tennis racquet, an advertising piece for Donnay.
Enfield, N.H., dealer Pewter & Wood showed a lift-top tall blanket chest over three drawers, late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century, in old red paint, and an Eighteenth Century bench with the original stenciling was occupied by a happy stuffed bear and a horse-drawn wagon. A farm table with scrubbed top, old red painted base, Nineteenth Century, was covered with a selection of Bennington pieces, including plates, bowls, flower pots and a pitcher.
Among the furniture shown by New England Home Antiques, Wethersfield, Conn., was a game table in mahogany, inlaid with flame birch, all set up for a couple of players with cards, candlesticks, wine glasses, a cup of dice and ten English fish-shaped gaming counters. Nearby was a circa 1810 velvet-lined liquor box with the original blown and gilded bottles, English or Dutch origin.
This was the 42nd annual VADA Antiques Show and, according to Greg Hamilton, “year 43 will probably be right back here in Woodstock and definitely at the same time period, the last weekend in July.” And certainly those who make this show part of their annual schedule of places to visit have already marked their calendars.
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