Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
BROOKFIELD, MASS. – Walker Homestead, a Massachusetts house built in the 1690s, and its surrounding field were the backdrops for the June 17 antiques show that bore its name and was hosted by homeowners Kris and Paul Casucci. About 50 exhibitors filled the small farm yard, pitching tents, which were then decorated in Pilgrim or pioneer style, showing a great deal of wood in its naturally aged colors or with limited paints or stains on the walls and furniture – all simply to enhance the American-made Jacobean and early Georgian period antiques that many of the exhibitors were offering.
Kris Casucci, promoter, said, “We are full. The capacity of our fields has been met with wonderful antiques from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries along with some later textiles, silver and accessories.”
Hands of Time Antiques was just one of the exhibitors offering the early American furnishings. This Palmyra, Penn., dealer had an early hutch table in the center of a temporary “keeping room” surrounded by a large Eighteenth Century hanging corner cupboard, a primitive painted wooden wing back armchair and two rugged worktables. The accessories included several American-made jugs and crocks, carved wooden bowls, baskets and even a cider keg.
Nearby, Hometown Antiques of West Brookfield, Mass., offered a collection of mostly pre-Revolutionary home accessories and small furniture pieces. Several Eighteenth Century hanging painted cupboards were available – one all drawers, another two drawers. Also offered were a variety of very early kitchen tools, including several carved bowls, mortar and pestle sets and various wooden containers.
Creating a Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century keeping room, Robin Rock of Milltown Primitives was really into the show’s colonial attitude. This North Stonington, Conn., dealer exhibited merchandise from the earliest times of European settlers in the colonies, including a spinning wheel, earthenware bowls and jugs, baskets and a good deal more of handcrafted goods made in America for domestic use.
Working together, Ware, Mass., exhibitors Linda Burr and Jane Desjardin offered a combination of 200-year-old home implements and an unusual braided runner rug in excellent condition. The runner, unusual because most braided rugs are round or oval, was attracting a great deal of attention from its position hung on the dealers’ back wall.
In the next exhibit, Lucille Festa of American Country Rugs, East Rupert, Vt., displayed some of her collection of hooked rugs and mats.
Royalton, Vt., exhibitor Richard Fuller had his collection stacked with English Jacobean through American early Nineteenth Century furniture. Standing out was a Jacobean bible box, probably about 1650-1700, in English hardwood and excellent condition.
Again with the early American period antiques, Thomas Thompson, Pembroke, N.H., put out some Eighteenth Century accessories. Hanging from the back brace of his tent was an oxen yoke. The tables were primitive sawbucks, covered with a selection of mortar and pestle sets, wooden plates and bowls. His lighting assortment included several pierced tin barn lights ready for home use with candles.
Three Connecticut dealers, Ian McKelvey, Brian Bartizek and Kevin Shaughnessy, shared an oversized space, filling it with antiques from about 300 years of styles. Among McKelvey’s first sales of the day was a Flemish brass chandelier, from about 1750 or before, in good condition. There were weathervanes, garden pieces, a hired man’s bed, a pair of demilune tables and a half dozen tables filled to overflowing with accessories.
John Melby came down from Eastport, Maine, made his tent look like a room in an Eighteenth Century home and then filled it with appropriate furniture and accessories. His corner cupboard had been built in somewhere; it was showing an old coat of light blue milk paint and was filled with pewter. Further into his temporary room was a pantry cupboard in red milk paint, filled with stoneware, game boards, candle-fired light fixtures and baskets from Maine and the Canadian Maritime provinces.
Nancy Breyer and family returned to Connecticut recently, now residing in South Glastonbury where they keep their business, Log Cabin Country Primitives. Here, she was busy from the starting bell, selling from an inventory of mostly early painted furniture including a large stepback cupboard with traces of red, a blue corner cupboard, a pantry cupboard, also in blue, as well as small lighting and woodenware for the Pilgrim kitchen.
Sherman Alden Antiques, Falmouth, Mass., offered both pre-Revolutionary and Nineteenth Century furniture and accessories. Perhaps the most colorful piece in the show was a red and blue stepback cupboard at the opening of the tent.
Sandwich, Mass., exhibitor Jerry Mayhew showed mostly little things, but, of course, she had a Sandwich onion lantern.
Pantry Box Antiques, Stafford Springs, Conn., sold from its stock of stoneware and also offered fresh plants for spring plantings.
Sandra St Pierre, Cape Elizabeth, was selling from her eclectic collection of antiques found while shopping throughout Maine. This included several small hanging cupboards in original paint, a fireplace mantel, a collection of wooden buckets and an assortment of textiles.
Two dealers have to pick shows where they can work only the weekends – Steve Cirillo from Castleton-on-Hudson, N.Y., and Jamie Heuschkel, Pleasant Valley, Conn., both have other work and family commitments. Cirillo came with a selection of primitive furniture, most showing traces of original painted surfaces, including a tilt top tea table that was getting a good deal of attention. Heuschkel was more into the little things, and among his first sales was a 100-year-old sign proclaiming “QUILTS.”
Walker Homestead is a twice-a-year event, with the second edition planned for September 23. It is also the site for the Tailgate Antiques Show, generally the last Thursday of each month from now through October, 9 am to noon.
For additional information, www.walkerhomestead.com or 508-867-4466.