by David Hewett
Longtime show exhibitor and member of the New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association (NHADA) Peter Eaton of Newbury, Massachusetts, has resigned from the association, which automatically ends his 40 consecutive years as an exhibitor at the show that gave birth to Antiques Week in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Antiques Show (popularly known as the dealers' show). That event was first held in Concord's old Highway Hotel (now a shopping center) and currently takes place in Manchester's Radisson Hotel.
That news was revealed when Karen DiSaia of DiSaia Management announced recent additions to the list of exhibitors scheduled for the August 7 and 8 Antiques in Manchester: The Collector's Fair at the JFK Memorial Coliseum in Manchester. Among the list of five new exhibitors were Peter Eaton and his wife, Joan Brownstein. Eaton is one of New England's premier exhibitors of period 18th-century American furniture and accessories; Brownstein deals in upper-level folk art and New England portraits, schoolgirl art, and portrait miniatures.
The dates announced for DiSaia's show clash with the August 8-10 dates scheduled for the 56th annual New Hampshire Antiques Show. Beside the fact that it's nearly physically impossible for a dealer to set up and exhibit at both high-level events, Eaton and Brownstein have resigned from NHADA. All exhibitors at the NHADA show must be NHADA members.
When we reached Eaton and asked what led to the breakup, he gave us this statement (later confirmed in an e-mail message): "Joan and I feel, both personally and professionally, that it is time to move on—and we're enthusiastic about the opportunity to participate in the DiSaia's Collector's Fair next August in Manchester." He declined to comment further at this time.
For many, Peter Eaton was the very embodiment of an NHADA exhibitor. His booth in Manchester's Radisson Hotel was front and center, facing the entrance and just across the aisle from Peter Sawyer's booth, with its equally impressive selection of American furniture and clocks. Over the last 40 years some amazing rarities have been sold from Eaton's space. It will be interesting to see whom the NHADA organization chooses to fill his spot.
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2012 Maine Antique Digest