Ellis Boston Antiques Show: An Edgy Display Of Fine Pieces

BOSTON, MASS. — Since the mid-Twentieth Century, the Ellis Antiques Show has delivered premier antiques to Boston each fall. When the former show disbanded in 2009, producers Tony Fusco and Bob Four launched the Ellis Boston Antiques Show in 2011. Fusco and Four have tweaked the show each year, giving it a distinctly Twenty-First Century appeal. Moreover, the two have incorporated various Boston institutions into the mix, devoting space to the worthy but unheralded. A keen mix of the fine antique with edgy design, from antiquities to current day pieces, prevails. The Ellis Memorial remains the beneficiary of the event, and this year’s gala on October 24 delivered. The show ran through October 27.

The most longstanding exhibitor, Boston’s Vose Galleries, has shown at Ellis every year save one since the beginning. This year, the Vose booth was front and center. A centerpiece was Boston artist William M. Paxton’s 1904 “The Sisters,” a portrait of his wife and her sister and a fitting acknowledgement of the next generation of Voses, twin sisters Elizabeth and Carey, who work with their parents. The Voses also showed “Moonrise on the Lagoon, Venice, Italy,” and “White Roses,” both by Herman Dudley Murphy. There was also Aldro T. Hibbard’s snowy landscape “Jamaica, Vermont, Nestled among the Mountains,” circa 1920.

Newport dealer William Vareika Fine Arts aptly hung a fine selection of Boston pictures, such as “Portrait of a Ship at Sea” by Boston, Salem and Newport artist Michele Felice Cornè. Danish American Boston artist Christian Gullager is represented by a portrait of a gentleman and Danish American artist Soren Emil Carlsen, who also worked in Boston, by “Marsh Landscape.” William Trost Richards’ “Beach at Beverly Farms, Cape Ann, Massachusetts” and “St Ives Cornwall” were also offered. Museum curators were observed in lengthy discussions with Vareika.

Arader Galleries came from New York with a selection of Audubon birds and mammals, antique maps and prints with local and international significance, a number of which resulted in impressive sales. Erik Brockett was busy with clients but managed to take the time to share the catalog of Arader’s upcoming auction of some 200 Audubon monumental works scheduled for November 9 at Guernsey’s Auctioneers in New York.

Harbor View Center for Antiques, Stamford, Conn., filled a double booth with a mix of contemporary art, period furniture and decorative accessories, such as a Charles X mahogany center table with a gray marble top similar to another example with a black top and brass inlay. An English burl walnut secretary bookcase from about 1870 had ivory inlay and was probably Anglo Indian. A pair of neoclassical Baltic satin birch commodes with gilt-metal mounts were for sale, as were two similar mahogany commodes from the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century, also with gilt-metal mounts. A first time exhibitor at the Ellis, the gallery had significant sales.

Ellis stalwart Charles L. Washburne Antiques specializes in exceptional Victorian English majolica and reliably brings rare and pristine examples to Boston from his Solebury, Penn., location. Impressive sales included a Minton majolica ice stand decorated with stags and foxes from about 1875.

New York silver dealer Robert Lloyd spices up his booth with selections from a collection of Guinness oil on canvas advertising proofs by John Gilroy for the S.H. Benson advertising agency, and they sell nicely. He brought impressive silver, including a Paul Revere porringer from about 1745 that sold during the preview. Lloyd also sold a Boston tankard by Benjamin Burt, circa 1770, an early George II beer jug and a vinaigrette, among other pieces. He offered an entire case of large English silver-gilt racing presentation trophies; a George III silver epergne, circa 1792; a George II tankard; and a Nineteenth Century Austrian ceramic memento mori tobacco jar in the form of a skull.

Bell-Time Clocks, Andover, Mass., showed clocks from the Eighteenth through the Twentieth Century. Unusual examples included several partners’ desk clocks — with a face on each side — by Waltham and Swiss makers from the 1930s, which sold. Dealer Bob Frishman also showed a fairly large Seth Thomas oak hotel clock with an early wake-up call system that had great appeal and attracted much interest. Frishman even had a swinger, a Huntress swinger clock.

Last Millennium Arts may take the prize for the most unusual offering, a carved and gilded gargoyle-form bicycle from about 1900 that is one of only six known. Dealer Rick Lee said he bought it from Arader Galleries 20 or so years ago. The Martha’s Vineyard gallery also had a Horner oak bar and games cabinet from about 1880, two table lamps and a floor lamp with spun Fiberglas shades and a midcentury pair of café chandeliers.

Sudbury, Mass.-dealer Keith Funston specializes in objects of natural history and wunderkammern, dating mostly from 1550 to 1800. His booth was itself a wunderkammer (a cabinet of curiosities) replete with collections within collections of butterflies, shadow boxes and dioramas, a giant bailer shell, still lifes with fruit, taxidermy, early mirrors and lighting, even a perky Nineteenth Century musician’s hat with red bristles. Funston brought along pieces of furniture suitable as wunderkammern: a Seventeenth Century Flemish table cabinet with abundant doors and drawers that Funston described as “revealing from concealment,” and from beneath which an Eighteenth Century pair of carved saint’s arms protruded. A George III satinwood bonheur offered ideal display space.

Boston’s Marcoz Antiques brought a taste of the offerings at its Back Bay gallery. A set of eight neoclassical chairs in white paint was mixed among other pieces, such as a period (early Nineteenth Century) French Empire travel clock supported by a patinated gilt-bronze figure of Atlas; a mahogany butler’s tray; an Eighteenth Century French campaign desk, circa 1810; and a Swedish chest from the second quarter of the Nineteenth Century.

Essex, Mass.-dealer Margaret Doyle made her booth a garden of earthly delights, ranging from a Nineteenth Century crest of gilt oak leaves and acorns from a Vanderbilt house that sold, a pair of antlers and a grand mix of classical and quirky furniture and decorations. An Eighteenth Century Danish slant lid desk in white paint sold, as did a group of three hay hooks to prominent restaurateur Lydia Shire, a pair of pub tables, sconces and candlesticks and a dandy kitchen trolley. She offered an 1805 four-panel French screen, English Regency pieces and a steel industrial lamp was front and center.

Like his next door neighbor on the Essex causeway, Andrew Spindler deals in the classical and quirky. He showed a Midcentury Modern architectural chest of drawers in light mahogany alongside a set of eight English Regency mahogany chairs, with two other similar examples.

A group of early glass included a Nineteenth Century American ship’s pitcher, hand blown with a wide foot and an elongated spout to add stability and accuracy of pouring aboard ship. An English industrial aluminum desk by designed by P.B. Co. and manufactured by Hunting Aviation, Ltd, was for sale alongside a Renaissance Revival hall bench made of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century elements. Spindler also showed carved and gilded American eagles with framed Folly Cove printed textiles.

Boston’s Gurari Collections showed contemporary renditions of antiquarian art. The star of the booth was the real thing, however: the Turgot Plan de Paris of 1739, a framed group of 20 highly detailed and accurate bird’s-eye view copper plate engravings of the map of Paris. Dealer Russ Gerard hung six images of central Paris, leaving the others at home. The group, created by Louis Bretez at the request of Paris mayor Michel-Étienne Turgot, will sell as an entire set.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society provided the loan exhibit for the Ellis show. Founded in 1845 as a genealogical and historical repository for records, registers and other artifacts, the organization has over the years received gifts of furniture, paintings and other objects. The loan exhibit included John Hancock’s mid-Eighteenth Century wingback chair, a portrait of sea captain John Bonner, who created Boston’s first engraved map in 1722, and an 1835 copy and the Folger family tree drawn by Nantucket genealogist William Coleman Folger in 1866, revealing that Benjamin Franklin was a descendent of the Nantucket family. A Salem mahogany slant lid desk on view was made by Elijah Sanderson around 1800, and the 1747 death portrait of Elizabeth Royall was made by Joseph Badger.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum exhibited examples from the collection, portraits, a rare flag, ship portraits and a cutaway model of a ship.

For additional information, www.ellisboston.com or 617-363-0405.


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