MALVERN, PENN. — The 32nd annual Chester County Antiques Show lived up to its theme of “Recreation, Hobbies and Leisurely Pursuits” with a carefully curated selection of antiques and art embracing a diverse range of collecting pursuits at its April 4–6 edition.
Whether one was interested in American furniture, decorative arts, nautical, equestrian, quilts, folk art, garden antiques or another specialty, the show offered something for everyone and, for the second year now, made an attractive appearance in the barn at the Phelps School.
A benefit for the Chester County Historical Society, the show renamed its annual show lecture this year as the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Memorial Lecture in honor of the society’s longtime volunteer and trustee, who died last summer. Dealer Jan Whitlock presented the lecture, “American Sewn Rugs and Other Decorative Arts.” This year’s show catalog also paid tribute to Don Baumann, who also recently died.
Chester County is horse country and an equestrian theme was well represented at the show. Joseph J. Lodge, Lederach, Penn., offered a fine horse and jockey weathervane, attributed to Fiske, retaining a great surface, circa 1895, while a hooked rug showing two gray horses racing around a track was featured at School House Farm Antiques, New Holland, Penn. Also offering a horse vane was Dover House Antiques, Louisville, Ky., while Kelly Kinzle Antiques, New Oxford, Penn., had a carved and painted wooden horse in running form. James M. Kilvington, Dover, Del., had a framed broadside advertising a horse race at the West Chester track on October 30, 1869.
Pennsylvania furniture and decorative arts fittingly take the spotlight at this show, especially among Keystone State dealers like Greg K. Kramer, Robesonia, who had a two-part corner cupboard in cherry, having a rare form, Berks County, with folky rosettes and original finials; and Salt Box Antiques of Sugarloaf, which hung up a wonderful two-sided sign for the Briar Creek Hotel.
Fine oils on canvas on view at Dixon-Hall Fine Art, Phoenixville, Penn., included Herbert (Hobart) D. Stitt’s “Lady Fox Hunting,” oil on canvas, formerly part of the Dupont estate in Wilmington, Del., and Pennsylvania painter and gallery favorite Mildred Bunting Miller’s “After the Thaw, Chester County.”
A wide and sublime assortment of Oriental rugs was on offer at Gallery 51, Philadelphia; Holly Peters, Kennett Square, Penn.; and Michael Haskins, Palmyra, N.Y.
West Pelham Antiques, Pelham, Mass., offered a diverse booth, ranging from a fine blanket chest in nice paint to several samplers and a “Ham” trade sign in the form of a pig.
Good nautical paintings could be found all around the show floor, including the booths of Hanes & Ruskin, Old Lyme, Conn., and Stevens Antiques, Frazier, Penn.
Van Tassel-Baumann Antiques, a longtime veteran of this show, was on hand again with a fine selection of Don’s American furniture and Ruth’s schoolgirl samplers. Don’s presence was missed, but Ruth was not flying solo; she had a couple of good helpers on hand during set-up Friday.
Heller-Washam, Portland, Maine, offered a graceful Queen Anne table with drawer, probably Connecticut, circa 1750; Walter Farndon’s impressionistic “White House on a Hill, An Autumn Landscape,” circa 1920–45, probably New York; and a captain’s liquor box in original painted surface, Samuel Barret, whaling master of Sally, Nantucket, Mass., circa 1821.
Spencer Marks, Southampton, Mass., filled its booth with choice silver, from an American Aesthetic Movement silver water pitcher by Tiffany & Co., circa 1880, to a rare surviving Gorham table garniture, circa 1865–69, that had boldly cast female figures and Renaissance-inspired designs.
SAJE Americana, Short Hills, N.J., featured a four-drawer bowfront chest with lovely proportions and a labeled Boston mirror, a Cermenati and Bernarda tabernacle example making a dramatic statement owing to its large size at 49 inches tall, circa 1805–06. A rare New Jersey fireboard that was made for the Garriel Houston house in Sussex County, circa 1831, had scenes of a fox hunt, a church and assorted animals and houses on a black ground.
Rounding out the show offerings were Paul J. DeCoste, Newbury, Mass., offering a Delaware Valley carved ribbon back armchair in mahogany, having molded legs and a fine old surface and Port ‘N Starboard Gallery, Falmouth, Maine, with a large, gilded spread-wing eagle plaque holding a “Live And Let Live” banner in his beak. Eve Stone Antiques, Woodbridge. Conn., had everything a chef or copper collector would want — a booth full of shiny copper wares from ladles and molds to a large pot on raised feet. A large and folky hooked rug, depicting white houses and a barn, each having a red roof, was a standout at Malcolm Magruder, Millwood, Va.
For additional information, www.chestercohistorical.org or 610-692-4800.