Published: October 31, 2006
Long touted as “The Best Little Show in the Country” by its promoters, the Washington Antiques Show boasted this year that it was “Even Better.” One thing is for sure, this charmer of a show continues to please the affluent clientele that comprise its patron list year after year.
The show, which opened with a gala preview party on Friday evening, October 6, and continued throughout the weekend, is a benefit for the town’s equally charming library, the Gunn Memorial Library and Museum. With an extended list of trustees, sponsors, committees, local supporters and those that have summer homes in this posh area of Connecticut, the energy level seen at the show is practically unsurpassed. The committee rolls out the red carpet for those in attendance, literally as well as figuratively, as a red carpet has become the norm extending from the stylish portico of the Bryan Memorial Town Hall to the circular drive.
With only 19 dealers participating in the show, one might get the impression that it would be a stuffy small-town event not worthy of a trip. How wrong could one be.
This show is lively and exciting. The merchandise is snappy, eclectic and serious all at the same time. It caters to the local clientele, yet it is also a show well worth shopping for collectors of a wide variety of merchandise. From Moderne to Eighteenth Century, from fun to formal, the show is well rounded. Much of the merchandise is ready for the home, and much of it seemingly finds its way there before Sunday afternoon rolls around.
This year’s show was also highlighted by two well-received lectures and a workshop at the Gunn Memorial Library, the first presented by Rosalind Benedict and dealing with antique textiles and carpets, the second by Chris Giftos, the acclaimed floral designer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than 30 years.
From Mount Kisco, N.Y., Fleur was in vogue with its display of ornamental garden benches, figures and urns. Among the assortment was an exceptional pair of cast stone urns on a grand scale with a carved lip and round beveled foot that was stickered at $15,000, a large rustic “White Birch” effect faux bois bench made of cast stone at $10,000, and a wonderful pair of late Nineteenth Century terra cotta dogs attributed to Manoville et Bernier. Also attracting quite a bit of attention from shoppers was a unique English oak trestle table inlaid with Eighteenth Century Portuguese tiles.
The upstairs booth of Dana Krauss’ Regalia is a popular spot for both men and women as the dealer displays an exceptional line of estate jewelry. All of the big names are represented such as David Webb, Seaman Schepps, Van Cleef & Arpels, Buccellati and Schlumberger, yet there is also a good line of costume jewelry offered as well. “We like to mix it up,” stated the dealer, “we like to have a good looking assortment of very affordable and very attractive costume jewelry as well as the selection of fine jewelry.”
Highlighting Regalia’s assortment was a rare Boivin diamond encrusted 18K gold necklace with accenting champagne diamonds, as well as a Boivin gold, emerald and diamond piece that is illustrated in the Boivin book. While not in stock at the show, Regalia also offers a fine selection of men’s strap watches.
The stage of the attractive building was filled with fine English furniture that was displayed by Gary Sergeant, Woodbury, Conn. Featured in his stand was an attractive serpentine case mahogany Chippendale bureau/bookcase topped by a pierced swan’s neck pediment that was centered with a brass finial, $75,000. The bookcase was flanked by a pair of Adam giltwood sconces, $14,500, and a rare George III mahogany stick barometer, circa 1760, $7,500.
A pair of painted pine upholstered chairs from the Gustavian period, circa 1790, were among the furnishings offered by Dawn Hill, New Preston, Conn. The rare pair of Swedish chairs featured the delicate carving typical of the period and was priced at $10,500. A slant-top desk with two-door cupboard top was also offered and while the white exterior paint had been refreshed, the interior retained the original stunning salmon paint, $16,000.
Sally Orent, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., offered up an attractive display with an English oak “iron mongers” cabinet, circa 1880, catching the eye of collectors early on in the show. The dealer also displayed a gentleman’s chest, circa 1880, $12,500, that was topped by several Black Forest figural carvings including a dog-form tobacco jar, $2,800, and a bear-form decanter set, $3,400.
Richard Rumi’s display was elegant with an inviting Louis XV walnut wing chair-form bergere at the front of the booth, creating a comfortable homey look. The French, mid-Eighteenth Century piece with carved foliate decoration and needlepoint upholstery was priced at $9,500.
Standing next to it was a late Eighteenth Century George III mahogany and marquetry cellaret on the original reeded stand, $6,800, and an Eighteenth Century Italian parquetry inlaid side table, $7,800, was on the other side.
Specialty dealers seemed to dominate the upper floor of the show with exemplary pieces of majolica displayed by Charles Washburne. One of the featured items in the booth was a large comical figure of Copeland majolica known as “sloth and mischief” that is comprised of a sloth riding atop a turtle and using a serpent as a bridle and reins, $26,875.
A three-piece ensemble of George Jones compotes in the dog and fox theme, circa 1875, were attracting looks from show patrons, $32,850, as was a Minton majolica Blackamoor garden seat, $27,500.
The stand of Eleish van Breems was filled with wonderful Scandinavian furniture including a rare Swedish painted pine buffet deux corps, dated 1848, from the northern province of Jamtland, $12,500, and a rare Swedish Eighteenth Century transitional Gustavian period settee, circa 1780, $10,500. Occupying the side wall of the booth was an exceptional Nineteenth Century Swedish gilt mirror, circa 1820, from Stockholm, that was priced at $16,000.
John and Patricia Snead offered a wonderful assortment of tall case clocks including a stately English mahogany long case clock with rocking automata, circa 1810. With a highly figured case and a bonnet topped with scroll-work and brass finials, the piece made a handsome statement. Somewhat less pronounced in its presence was a delightful Scottish mahogany tall case clock with simplistic yet refined lines.
For further information contact the Gunn Memorial Library and Museum at 860-868-7586, or www.gunnlibrary.org.
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