If good things come in small packages, the 24th annual Washington Connecticut Antiques Show is a gem of a show.
A benefit for the Gunn Memorial Library & Museum, the show was undeniably attractive. From the majestic, showstopper arrangements of flowers in large urns that greeted visitors in the lobby of the Bryan Town Hall to the sumptuous displays of antiques and artworks that were elegantly displayed, the show was a diverse affair in terms of “merch” as well as dealers. About half of the exhibitors were returning favorites with a new cadre of dealers sprinkled in to mix things up.
Diversity was also the word of the day at Leatherwood Antiques, Sandwich, Mass., who had the first booth on the right as visitors entered the main gallery. The dealer took care to fill the booth with a pleasing array of figural carvings, small antiques, wall art and more.
Highlights here included an unusual, carved and gesso-gilded double tazza grotto stand from Italy, circa 1840; a rustic painted copper sheet and wrought iron hanging inn/pub sign, English, circa 1860; and a rare rustic folky desk on a root base with applied decoration depicting a house, French, late Nineteenth Century. A trifecta of sailors’ Valentines on the wall bore such sentiments as “Ever Thine,” “Remember Me” and “With Love.”
KMR Arts, Washington, Conn., did not have far to travel to the show and offered a clean booth that was elegant in its sparing simplicity. Around a dozen carefully chosen framed photographs were hung, mostly black and whites. Vying for attention was a large and sensuous photograph, an extreme close-up of a cream-colored flower with red anthers; and a close-up black and white of a hand holding a small black bird.
Fine examples of antique wicker furniture are the stock and trade of Corner House Antiques, Sheffield, Mass., and the Tetros’ booth did not disappoint. Standouts included a high-style stick wicker, deep-seated sofa and matching armchair in a dark natural stain with an unusual high-backed wing design and vertical paired reeds, along with a wicker drop-leaf teacart with a removable serving tray and a wicker floor lamp modeled after the Eiffel Tower with a large dome shade.
Yellow Church Antiques, Millbrook, N.Y., built a luxe look in its booth from the ground up, starting with a Khotan Gallery carpet from East Turkestan. The circa 1930 carpet was a stunning example of the region’s noted pomegranate design. A Chinese Export black and gold lacquer triple-back settee with gilded red leather seats, circa 1920s, was pure eye candy. Hung on the wall was a fine English oil on canvas of a pair of horses by George Jackson, dated 1845.
Earle Vandekar of Knightsbridge, White Plains, N.Y., is noted for antique ceramics. At this show, the dealer offered a pair of Anglo-Indian bone candlesticks in the form of lighthouses, circa 1880‱900, and a pair of rare Continental faience tureens in the form of snails, probably Holitch, circa 1760‷0, measuring but 3 inches tall. Choice examples of maritime paintings of ships and sailors’ woolies rounded out the booth.
R.T. Facts, Kent, Conn., always seems to find interesting examples of garden antiques and architectural/industrial items. A machinist con rod lamp, limited design, was a standout here as was an industrial work table with three bin drawers.
A large and colorful jacquard coverlet, made by the Craig Brothers, Indiana, circa 1850, was an attention-grabber at Eckert Fine Art, Kent, Conn. It was hung on the wall and looked to be around 6 feet tall. Also on view was a fine oil on canvas painting, “Hitchcock Chair Factory, Riverton, CT” by Harry Ballinger (American, 1892‱994) and a massive Eric Forstmann (b 1962) oil on board painting, titled “Six Between Two and Three,” depicting six men’s shirts on hangers.
Berkshire Home & Antiques, New Preston, Conn., created a warm and inviting booth with several fine sconce and chandelier lighting pieces. A standout on the back wall was an industrial-style cabinet, with a wooden frame enclosing six rows of punched-tin bins, six bins per row.
Mill House Antiques, was afforded the entire stage area and split its booth with a divider wall, creating two room settings; while similar, each had a different focus. A Welsh oak dresser on cabriole legs, circa 1850, a French painted tall case clock, circa 1860, and a Scottish long case clock in a mahogany case with an engraved steel face, John Garthy, Aberdeen, were standouts in one room.
In the other room, highlights included a French polychrome bench with leather upholstery and horsehair stuffing, along with an English oil portrait of a gentleman wearing glasses and a bronze dore mantel clock, circa 1870.
Silver Plus, New York City, offered a silver centerpiece with a cut and engraved bowl, London, 1796, Henry Green; antique Sheffield; as well as Irish and Scottish silver. China Trade silver offerings included a circa 1900 bowl by the silversmith Hung Chong.
Standouts at Roberto Freitas American Antiques & Decorative Arts, Stonington, Conn., included a mid-Nineteenth Century horse and rider weathervane, attributed to A.L. Jewell and Company; an oil on canvas titled “Dunes in Provincetown, Mass.,” by George Noyes, a rare walnut bonnet top highboy in two parts, with a molded broken arch top and three finials over a central drawer, Boston, circa 1760.
Summer might be technically over but the collection of garden furniture and antiques at Bob Withington Antiques, York, Maine, seemed a perfect fit here at the show. From a fine marble chip urn, circa 1920s, to a circa 1900 terracotta sculpture from an early country store in Maine, and a white painted mahogany sideboard, mid-Nineteenth Century, Withington’s booth was a breath of fresh air.
The offerings perfectly complemented many of the “indoor” antiques on view across the aisle †right down to an Eighteenth Century Italian carving representing “The Wind,” one of the four elements (Earth, Wind, Fire and Water).
Nemati Collection, New York City, was upstairs at the town hall with a small room to itself to best display its fine carpets. Offerings were led by a Turkish “Alcaraz” carpet, circa 1820‶0, measuring 5 feet by 9 feet 8 inches. The unusual rug is a version of a famous, earlier Spanish Alcaraz carpet that is in the collection of the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. The field design on this example, with blue and gold tones, is of a phoenix rising surrounded by wreaths and other motifs. Another great find was an Khila rug from the Baku area, Azerbaijan, circa 1880, and measuring 4 feet by 8 feet 6 inches. The design elements were common to village rugs, but this example also borrowed tribal elements.
A diverse and attractive selection of books was displayed at Johnnycake Books, Salisbury, Conn., including Robert Hunter’s The Links and a gilt-bound copy of Illustrated Botany . Also on view was a costume sketch in pencil of Katherine Hepburn on gray paper from Cecil Beaton wearing a Chanel suit in a magenta-plum hue.
Anita S. Taub, New York City, was the only jewelry dealer at the show, and her booth was a treasure trove of glittering jewels and diamonds. The fashionable buyer could have walked away from here with a slim Patek Philippe lady’s 18K gold wristwatch set with sapphires and diamonds or a colorful antique slide bracelet in 14K yellow gold.
Rigmarole, Washington, Conn., took a front and center position at the show, with its booth located in the center hallway, with the entry doors to the main gallery flanking its booth. Set up behind a showy flower arrangement in a large urn, the dealer made its own showy display with a massive and ornately carved dresser. The doors were swung wide open to reveal a charming assortment of fine porcelains, plates and smalls.
For information, 860-868-7586 or www.gunnlibrary.org .