Published: November 29, 2011
There is a small nest of antiques shows that run every year, without fail, and with little fanfare, but continue to draw a full slate of exhibitors and a faithful audience. One such show is the Wethersfield Antiques Show, an event that just celebrated its 11th year on Saturday, November 19. This event, a benefit for the Wethersfield Historical Society, hosted 42 dealers, filling three rooms of the Pitkin Community Center.
Elaine St Onge, program coordinator for the society, took over the management of the show this year and said, “The gate was down only very slightly from last year, as was the opening party on Friday night.” As for dealer business, “Many of them did less than last year, but were still pleased to be in the show and have an interest in returning next year,” she said. She believed that both attendance and business were hurt by the hurricane and the recent snowstorm, and “people are still cleaning up after it all and it is very costly for some,” she said.
This year 33 out of 42 exhibitors were returnees, offering a variety of antiques including a selection of brass and copper, especially candlesticks, carvings, early furniture and some brown furniture, painting and prints, and countless other things, all arranged in tasteful booth settings.
A Shaker sewing table, circa 1830, with three drawers on top over one long drawer, attributed to the Harvard Shaker School, Harvard, Mass., was shown by the Country Peddler Antiques, Burlington, Conn. A Chippendale graduated five-drawer lift top blanket chest, with the original snipe hinges, dry red surface over the original green, measured 42 inches high, 37 inches wide and 19 inches deep. The two bottom drawers were working drawers.
Pewter expert Ron Chambers of Higganum, Conn., offered a large collection of pewter, including nine porringers, one probably by Elisha Kirk, York, Penn., circa 1780, with tab handle. A pair of black painted bowback Windsor side chairs, circa 1780, flanked an oval scrubbed top tea table, all original, and dating circa 1740.
Denise Scott of East Greenwich, R.I., had a nice selection of furniture that included a birch tilt top candlestand of the Federal period, circa 1810, probably of New England origin, and a Hepplewhite drop leaf American table in cherry, circa 1790‱810. Standing against the left-hand wall of the booth was a walnut Chippendale highboy with cabriole legs and stocking feet, circa 1770, from either Pennsylvania of New Jersey.
A “new and correct” chart of the seacoast of New England from Cape Cod to Casco Bay, dating from the Seventeenth Century, hung in the booth of Stuart Magdefrau of Ellington, Conn., hanging over a draught of Virginia featuring the York River, London, 1730.
Ten decoys were displayed on a three-tier bucket bench, blue-green painted surface, cutout ends, in the booth of West Pelham Antiques of Pelham, Mass. A 12-piece miniature pewter tea set, with four cups and saucers, probably American, was shown near two miniature candle molds, each with six tubes, one on an arched base and one for tapers. An oil on canvas depicted the Amos Ray Homestead, Gardner, Mass., attributed to Charles A. Ray and dating from the late Nineteenth Century. In the picture were five figures, chickens, cows and a well in the front yard.
A set of seven chestnut bottles, ranging in size from 5 to 5¾ inches, was shown by Derik Pulito, Kensington, Conn., and furniture included a circa 1790 Connecticut River Valley Pembroke drop leaf table with serpentine top. Chadds Ford, Penn., dealer Ayscough Antiques showed a circa 1820‱840 New England worktable with one board top, tapered legs and red base, and a portrait of Amand Merril of Exeter, N.H., wearing a lace bonnet. This oil on canvas dates circa 1830‱840.
Jane McClafferty of Bloomfield, Conn., formerly of New Canaan, had the game of bagatelle all set up and ready for play, complete with the original book of instructions, and a circa 1780 American corner chair in maple with new rush seat. Lewis Scranton of Killingworth, Conn., had an early round top chair table in old red, a nice pair of decorated dome-top document boxes and a large watercolor of Sunny Side, the home of Washington Irving in Tarrytown, N.Y.
A maple Federal candlestand with octagonal top, beehive turned pedestal base, American, was shown at the front of the booth of Mad River Antiques, North Granby, Conn. An energetic figure of Santa, all in red with long white beard, did his dance routine on a table near a tree decorated with old ornaments. A Nineteenth Century sandpaper charcoal drawing depicted a castle near a river and falls, with sheep on the bank and a man and woman overlooking the water. It was in a bird’s-eye maple frame.
“One of the best carved chairs we have ever owned,” John Maggs said, referring to a William and Mary side chair with upholstered seat, circa 1690, Dutch, with delicate and extensive carving to the back and slats. Jan and John Maggs, Conway, Mass., offered several paintings, including “Evening Chores,” an oil on canvas by the American painter Dennis Sheehan (b 1950).
In addition to the show, two booth talks were presented, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Speaking on the early use and importance of tavern tables and cupboards, dealer Janet Tedesco also shared her interest in early painted and patinated surfaces. Lorraine German of Mad River Antiques presented “How Santa Claus Came to Town,” a talk that traced the history of the American Santa Claus and included the role that his predecessors played in pre-Christian and Christian traditions.
And for those who came to the show hungry, the Sunflower café was open most of the day.
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