Boston Antiques & Design Show Shuffles The Deck

WILMINGTON, MASS. — The Boston Antiques and Design Show and Sale, known to most as the January Wilmington show, shuffled the deck this time and came up with a tighter, more focused event on January 11–12, where nearly every dealer was pleased with the results.

Front and center was Richard La Vigné of Knollwood Antiques in a double booth that he filled with the sophisticated furniture and accessories for which he is known. An Irish country house console table from the 1860s was carved with an armorial shield, acanthus and scrolling, all of which was highlighted by water gilding and bronze gilt. He had a very chic pair of Eighteenth Century French walnut bèrgeres carved with dogwood blossoms and anthemion. A large abstract oil on canvas by Montreal artist Domenic Besner, “La Garde des Dames Singuleire,” hung along the back wall, and a pair of English spelter wall-mounted plaques of lions rampant hung around the corner.

La Vigné, who reported solid sales early in the show, told us that Knollwood has recently moved to Thorndike, a village of Palmer, Mass., where the business will operate from a carriage house on the property, but only during Brimfield.

Knollwood’s booth space is usually occupied by Webster Greene Antiques of Methuen, Mass., but an accident prevented Webster Greene from doing the show.

Stone Block Antiques of Vergennes, Vt., had a monumental pair of Meiji period bronze vases wrapped with serpents atop a pair of Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century Chinese demilune tables. A Chinese altar table held two tree roots and the walls of the booth were hung with good paintings and some ornithological prints. Among a case of interesting smalls was a set of two French silver, swan-form salts and two related pepper shakers. Early in the show, sales included a nice corner cupboard, an altar table and a Chinese panel, a carved lamb and other good smalls.

The Fez room, which usually houses book and paper dealers, was closed and those dealers were located in several groups on the main floor, where the bright lights and open spaces afforded visitors a good look at their merchandise. The results were good, as most booths we observed enjoyed high traffic and consistent sales. Palmer-Bale of Waterbury, Conn., had, in addition to books, interesting smalls and prints, including the Lucy Martin Spencer lithograph “Power of Fashion,” and an as-yet unresearched primitive carving of an animal head.

Boston dealer Peter D. Murphy had three American walnut nesting tables, each with an inset watercolor landscape. A turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century armchair had carved rams’ heads on the arms, brass inlay and a slightly ecclesiastical look. Murphy also showed a walnut prie-dieu carved with lions and a human figure. It was used as a kneeler in a church, convent or home, and would make a great hall stand with compartments for hats, gloves, mittens, boots and umbrellas. A Nineteenth Century Dutch mahogany window bench with marquetry inlay was for sale, as was a pretty stand inset with French hand painted tiles, tole ware, porcelain and a fine stool. Traffic was steady and sales were good.

Bert Rosengarten of Medfield, Mass., had, among other objects of desire, a brass and glass étagère that attracted the attention of knowledgeable showgoers, and Brett and Ellen Downer showed an étagère that attracted the attention of several knowledgeable collectors.

Go Red Rooster of Leominster, Mass., showed a Limbert two-door bookcase cheek by jowl with a giant strainer by Curtis Jere, who was also represented by a large whisk. A set of barrister bookcases was for sale, along with midcentury chairs, lighting and ceramics.

Massachusetts fine art dealers Roy and Sheila Mennell of Bradford Trust in Harwich Port shared a spacious booth with another Massachusetts fine art dealer, Donna Kmetz of Douglas. Early in the show, sales occurred often for both dealers, who were pleased. Kmetz had sold work by Joseph Greenwood, H.P. Giles and Michael Graves and was concluding other sales when we visited. Kmetz showed “Cats” by an artist known only as “MW,” Michael Graves’ “Gloucester,” and snowy landscapes “Winter Light” by Carl Nordstrom and “Winter 1924” by Arthur Lingquist, among other desirable pictures.

Bradford Trust had already sold a Charles E. Cahoon, two English sporting prints and a Helen Sawyer watercolor. The Cape Cod gallery showed a colorful mudhead portrait by Henry Hensche, who taught his students in his Provincetown classes to make such pictures. “Lakeside” by Charles D. Cahoon, Helen C. Stein’s “Autumn Walk” and “Provincetown Beach” by Michael Davis were also for sale.

Two Sides of a River Antiques of New London, N.H., specializes in refinished oak antiques and showed an oak Larkin cabinet, which was sold, a lyre-base library table with one drawer, an oak ice chest and a Hoosier cabinet. A selection of stoneware bowls and jugs was also for sale.

Gloucester dealers Quelle Surprise sold glass, sterling and a nice English perfume. A Nineteenth Century English cruet stand with three teal glass bottles was for sale, as was a set of four claret classes in the same elegant color. Ceramics, prints and glass were also on offer.

From West Windsor, Vt., Spotted Horse Antiques offered a sophisticated blend of Midcentury Modern and Native American. A joyful figural steel loveseat and a pair of chairs by John Risley appeared whimsical, but were anything but. Risley’s steel work is highly desirable and the furniture pieces modeled on couples are stellar.

Jan and John Maggs of Conway, Mass., offered Seventeenth Century oak pieces that were well received. They showed a Seventeenth Century carved overmantel that could also serve as a headboard, a selection of joined stools, a four-drawer chest and a large gateleg table. Among the paintings was “Sky on Fire” by contemporary artist Dennis Sheehan, and “First Snow” by Twentieth Century Swedish artist Gideon Isaksson. Sales were good and included furniture and several paintings.

Early in the show, Scott Smith from Wells, Maine, could already account for 14 sales. He still had a gigantic steel bowl, a flight of three carved and painted seagulls, a country table, a trade sign in the form of a clock and garden pieces. Smith created a harmonious mix of antique and Midcentury Modern. Frames and paintings were also available — and sold. Several tables on view had iron bases, marble tops and iron decoration. He also had a large demilune cabinet with two drawers.

Lincolnville, Maine, Americana dealer Martin J. Ferrick’s booth was sprinkled with red sold tags and empty spaces early in the show. He had a fine Hepplewhite chest, a large five-drawer Chippendale chest on a bracket base, several stands, good paintings and mirrors, andirons and lighting.

Signature Antiques came from North Andover, Mass., with a wide selection. The booth offered a set of Bobbsey Twins books, a fine chess board and pieces, a Louis Vuitton golf bag with vintage clubs, along with other Vuitton pieces, porcelain, paintings and a gilt convex mirror with an eagle crest. Of particular interest was a small tartan ware bookrack filled with small books covered with various tartan plaids, and sales were steady.

New York’s Kairos Gallery had a large space in the lobby filled with Asian material and smalls, and sold well and early.

Medfield, Mass., dealer Bert Rosengarten showed a number of appealing pieces, chief of which was a nice brass and glass étagère, while Ellen and Bret Downer were so busy that their booth was full most of the time.

This was a fine show from which dealers and buyers went away happy. For information, 781-862-4039 or


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