MALVERN, PENN. — The 31st edition of the Chester County Antiques Show made a showy appearance in its new home at the Phelps School April 5–7. Located in the heart of “horse country,” the venue was well suited to the show, presented in the school’s indoor riding ring. The ceiling beams overhead served to accent the well-appointed booths below that were mostly filled with traditional antiques, fine art and Americana. Showgoers entered through the stables (sans horses) and the floor was covered with Astroturf for ease of passage.
A benefit for the Chester County Historical Society, the show was most recently staged for the last few years at the Westtown School, and with the show’s move to its new and distinctive venue, it has more of a Chester County flavor to it, with several historic boroughs a stone’s throw away.
Hailing from Malvern itself, Van Tassel-Baumann American Antiques displayed an attractive booth showcasing fine furniture and samplers. Furniture offerings included a diminutive mahogany Chippendale chest, Delaware Valley, circa 1770–80, with a case width of just 335/8 inches to a sublime specimen of Philadelphia craftsmanship: a Chippendale mahogany tea table with a 33-inch dish top and birdcage support over cabriole legs. Choice New Jersey samplers seen in the booth were a charming Nineteenth Century work executed in 1834 by Sarah An Stoy, of the Haddon Township Stoys family, and a Burlington County silk on linen sampler wrought by Ann S. Wallace, then 11, in 1827.
The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, Timonium, Md., offered a folky hooked rug titled “The Gentle Giant Patiently Waiting for a Drink of Water While Standing by a Colossal Sunflower”; a two-sided gameboard with great coloring, a small and a select grouping of rare layette pin cushions. Owing to their delicate silk or satin constitution and their extensive usage, few of these cushions survive intact today. Three of the cushions shown had inscriptions: May Providence Save, Welcome Little Stranger, Dear Little Girl.
H.L. Chalfant American Fine Art & Antiques, West Chester, Penn., offered a wealth of fine items for buyers to peruse. Highlights ranged from a paint decorated dumb stove fragment in the form of George Washington, probably made by Alonzo Blanchard, Albany, N.Y., circa 1843, to a fine example in tiger maple of a side chair, attributed to William Savery, with the elegant form he was noted for, with spooned back and “crookt” feet. A Queen Anne high chest in walnut with molded cornice, ten lipped drawers and a scalloped skirt over drake feet, Philadelphia, circa 1750, was another standout here.
An aisle over from Chalfant’s booth, a special exhibition area was titled “Architectural Elements from the Chester County Historical Society Museum Collection.” A paneled door in blue paint from the late Eighteenth Century was paired in the display with a Chester County paneled chest of drawers that was courtesy of H.L. Chalfant.
A Bird in Hand Antiques, Florham Park, N.J., offered a Blackhawk weathervane, untouched, in wonderful weathered verdigris surface, attributed to Cushing & White, circa 1880s, and a fine collection of seven grain shovels together hung on its back wall. The handmade shovels hail from New England, circa 1825–75, and some have hand painted scenes.
Among highlights in the booth of Kelly Kinzle Antiques, New Oxford, Penn., was a fine barbershop pole. A “John E. Frates Havana Cigar Manufr” triptych sign, and several fine tall case clocks were also displayed. The Hanebergs, East Lyme, Conn., offered all things great and small, from a Chinese Export soup tureen in the Mandarin pattern with wonderful decoration, circa 1830, to a bold tiger maple desk, circa 1760, with graduated drawers and center drop on the bracket base.
Circa 1770 Pennsylvania furniture was appropriately showcased here from a number of dealers, including John Chaski, Camden, Del., who offered a Philadelphia figural walnut Chippendale chest and at Hilary and Paulette Nolan, Falmouth, Mass., who had a Chester County walnut tilt top tea table with dish top, birdcage and a nicely turned shaft, and at SAJE Americana, Short Hills, N.J., which displayed a fine upholstered Chippendale chair, Philadelphia, with a serpentine front rail, shaped legs and a nice crown rail. Eye catching at R.M. Worth Antiques, Chadds Ford, Penn., was a very tall Federal corner cupboard in its original and vivid ochre paint from Lancaster County, circa 1780.
Steven Schuyler Bookseller, North Reading, Mass., is well known for his architectural titles, and at the show, he featured Colonial Ironwork, Cast Iron Decoration: A World Survey and several shelves of books devoted to restoration.
Offerings at Britannia House Antiques, Collegeville, Penn., ranged from silver, led by an American sterling silver footed inkstand made by J.E. Caldwell & Co., Philadelphia, with a swing handle quill holder, pounce pot and ink pot tray with applied shell border, that was a replica of the Philip Syng Jr inkstand used to sign the Declaration of Independence to a charming oil painting by Xanthus Russell Smith (1839–1929) titled “The Old Cottage by The Brook.”
Other highlights were a Queen Anne slant lid desk that has been in the Blaisdell family of Maine since its making in circa 1750 and now offered at The Fassnachts, Canandaigua, N.Y.; a stack of Nineteenth Century pantry boxes in their original dry paint, likely made by the same hand around the same time, likely from Maine, on offer at Salt Box Antiques, Sugarloaf, Penn.; and a pair of portraits of English gentlemen done by Francis Alleyne (1774–1790), circa 1785, on offer from James M. Kilvington, Dover, Del.
For more information, www.ChesterCoHistorical.org or 610-692-4800.