Published: December 7, 2004
Heart of Country
Elizabeth and Richard Kramer were again the hosts to Heart of Country Antiques Show at Gaylord Opryland USA Resort October 27-30. Now, two decades after starting the twice-annual event, they have lost none of the enthusiasm for organizing more than 100 dealers who specialize in collecting and offering antiques from America’s early and pioneering times.
This fall there was a special exhibit on early sugar chests curated by Robert Hicks and Benjamin Caldwell featuring more than 20 of this rare furniture form that was most popular in the Southern Colonies in the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries. The form was important in its day due largely to the value and demand for the sugar itself in that it would be subject to being purloined by unauthorized members of the household, i.e. children, staff and vermin. The chests in their time became a symbol of affluence and sophistication, a prominent display in the house for those who could afford to own one and more to keep a reserve of sugar on hand.
The Kramers have for many years been setting a special exhibit as the focal point only to underscore their Americana theme to the show. This coupled with the festive party atmosphere makes it an event not to be missed. In fact for their preview party with a $60 per person admission fee there were more than 700 people on line a half hour before the opening. And they found Americana…
Ashley Dettor is a regular exhibitor at Heart of Country. She has a shop in Verona, Va., and does various other shows in the Northeast in summers for she has a second home in Maine. Her collection at Opryland USA included some Adirondack furniture, early painted furniture and accessories.
Country Meadows is the business of Gary and Pam Voyles, Alton, Ill. They came with a booth filled with household accessories including firkins, baskets, wooden bowls and trenchers, even some vintage linens and early store signs.
Rose Adams Holbrook is from New Mexico and so is her collection. This gives her booth a completely different look from the Eastern dealers, with hot colors in a large collection of textile rdf_Descriptions. Her quilts and coverlets were made in the late Nineteenth Century with bright yellow and red colors and earth tone contrasts. She displayed a braided rug in deep shades of red with a hot yellow rocking chair on it.
Bill Kelly and Kelli Martin are residents of Greenville, Va., and show the regional nature of country. He is a native of the Northeast, living most recently in Limington, Maine, but she is a Virginian. The display included Shenandoah Valley painted furniture and some finished northern hardwood pieces including a pewter cupboard and a lowboy.
Tennessee dealer Trace of Time Antiques offered a Tennessee-made chest in mixed hardwoods and hardwood veneers, in Sheraton style from the early Nineteenth Century for $2,850. Another Tennesseean, Michael Hall, had a minimalist booth with about ten pieces of early furniture and only a few accessories while Georges Antiques brought a large collection of early lighting mostly candle holders from his Atlanta home.
Roe House Antiques is the business of Illinoisans Dan and Kathy Roe who mixed their booth with painted furniture from the early 1800s into the early1900s and they made wall hangings out of early textiles, wash sticks and signs. Painted furniture from Maine was the primary focus of Debraelizabeth Schaffer’s display but then she is from Wiscasset. She also offered an early 6-foot-long harvest table in pine, drop leaves in excellent condition for $3,600.
Also a resident of Wiscasset, Dennis Raleigh has been doing Heart for years and his inventory was mostly a New England look. Dennis seems to focus his buying on folk art and wall hangings. Another Wiscasset dealer at the show was Bob Snyder and Judy Wilson and their cutest piece was a steam powered small pond boat.
Bud Weinert had a Pontiac car dealership sign on the wall but then he is from that part of Michigan. Also from Michigan was Douglas Wyant with a booth overflowing with early and old painted rdf_Descriptions including a whirligig that was so big it was almost a windmill.
David Drummand is a regular at this show but keeps people guessing as to what he will be displaying. This makes his booth a must-see at each Heart with this most recent event featuring brightly colored textile accessories to mostly painted furniture and even a pair of leather upholstered chairs.
Mother and daughter dealers Munday and Munday, from Illinois, are collectors of American stoneware and pottery. Here their exhibit included a large assortment of yellowware and cream ware.
Tappahannock, Va., dealer Brian Penniston had a Virginia spice cabinet made of mahogany circa 1790 priced at $38,000. The piece was only 2 feet tall with ten drawers and a front door inclosing them; Hepplewhite design with French foot base.
Newville, Penn., is home for Terry and Brenda Daniel. It is about 30 miles west of Harrisburg and the shopping in their area obviously is good for early American primitive and country articles. In the front of their area was a large harvest or winnowing table used to separate the grain from the shafts of straw and grass. There were also several cupboards and a pie safe along with a collection of early baskets.
This show had a little of everything for those who looked hard enough.
Held twice each year the next will be February 10-13, returning to the traditional Thursday preview opening and Sunday closing. There is a package plan to the show and Opryland USA but check with the Kramers for details at 314-862-1091 or visit for more information.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm