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The Brandywine River Museum Antiques Show

Lita Solis-Cohen | May 24th, 2013

This is a rare 18th-century brass dog collar for Israel Morris’s dog with his address on it, 67 S. Second Street in Philadelphia. Having a lock but missing the key, it was $1100 from Tucker Frey.

Steven Still of Manheim, Pennsylvania, asked $5400 for this set of six birdcage bamboo Windsor chairs in black paint—four side chairs and two armchairs; he sold them to Connecticut dealer Tucker Frey in the next booth. The Federal inlaid sideboard with figured mahogany veneer (back center) was made in the Middle Atlantic States ($6500). The paint-decorated blanket chest at left, dated 1832, was made for Lidia Hubner ($17,000). The painted tape loom on the chest, dated January 14, 1826, and with the initials IN, was found in western Pennsylvania and had once belonged to Pastor Frederick Weiser ($17,500). Still said that he sold a lot of small items at the show.

Mark and Marjorie Allen of Gilford, New Hampshire, asked $9750 for the circa 1760 New England maple drop-leaf table, $8900 for the four fan-back Windsor chairs, and $1500 to $1950 each for the four Dutch Delft plates with figures in a landscape. The 85½" high Pennsylvania chest-on-chest was $12,500.

J. Gallagher Antiques, North Norwich, New York, offered andirons priced from $1000 to $4500 and jamb hooks from $300 to $1400.

Dubey’s Art & Antiques, Baltimore, Maryland, wanted $14,000 for the Federal chest of drawers made in Exeter, New Hampshire, $3500 for the Connecticut side chair at left (it sold), and $4370 for the Massachusetts side chair at right. The 30" x 50" painting, View of the Susquehanna by Edmund Darch Lewis (1835-1910), signed and dated 1877, was in the original frame and cost $19,500.

Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

If Israel Morris’s dog had strayed, he could have been returned to 67 S. Second Street in Philadelphia, the address engraved on its brass dog collar that has a lock but not a key, so it cannot be removed. Tucker Frey of Woodbury, Connecticut, had it for sale in his booth. Frey also offered a carved and gilded frame that once surrounded an Albert Bierstadt painting of Yosemite with the label of Bierstadt’s gallery, Noyes & Blakeslee, 187 Tremont Street, Boston, on the back and “Yosemite” in script.

The folding wig stand displayed by Portsmouth, New Hampshire, dealer Ed Weissman was made of paktong, a copper, zinc, and nickel alloy that the Chinese made in the late 18th/early 19th century.

These were just a few of the treasures brought by the 30 dealers exhibiting at the 42nd annual Brandywine River Museum Antiques Show, held May 24-27 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The show, known for its preview party with good food and music, begins in the courtyard where seven dealers set up shop in the carriage sheds, and the 23 others fill three floors of the museum. There is food and drink on every floor, and the sushi bar on the third floor is very popular.

For the first time in memory, the weather at the preview party resembled March more than May. It was windy and rainy on Friday, but the clouds parted at about five in the afternoon, and the tarps that kept the stands in the carriage sheds dry were pulled down by the time the show opened at six. Unfortunately, few people stayed outside in the cold; they were drawn inside by the spectacular loan exhibition of weathervanes, most of them from a private collection. Installed in the glass-walled lobbies on the first and second floors and silhouetted against the sky, the weathervanes remained on view at the Brandywine River Museum until July 28.

The preview party is a social event, but some buying was done. “I sold a highboy at the preview,” said Lee Hanes of Hanes & Ruskin, Old Lyme, Connecticut.

“I had a big show,” said Tucker Frey of Woodbury, Connecticut, who rarely does shows. On Monday he said he had sold two chests of drawers, two card tables, three one-drawer stands, and paintings. Dealers and collectors made a beeline to Frey’s stand at the preview, and he continued to sell all weekend.

The show goes on for three days, and by Monday, Memorial Day, most dealers said they were in the black, and half a dozen said they sold very well. “I’d say that’s super in today’s market,” said Peter Chillingworth, who has been the manager of this show for the last three years and has been a dealer in Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania, for 52 years. He said the gate was about the same as last year, and last year it was up substantially from the year before.

“I sold furniture, not just jewelry, glass, and ceramics,” said Bill Schwind of Yarmouth, Maine. “I sold a fan-back Windsor, an oval-top tavern table with a tiger maple top, and a wing chair. It was surprising because furniture has been dead as a duck.”

Jerry Brill of Newport News, Virginia, said, “If it were ten years ago, I would say I did OK. In this climate I had a good show. I sold a grandfather clock, Imari porcelain, and a Windsor chair signed ‘B. Green’ that is pictured in Nancy Goyne Evans’s book.”

Other dealers reported sales of Windsor chairs, corner cupboards, and paintings, including several portraits. Tom Brown of McMurray, Pennsylvania, said he sold six paintings, mostly landscapes, and some furniture. Ed Weissman sold three paintings, including a Bucks County, Pennsylvania, landscape by John Folinsbee.

Thanks to the loan exhibition, there was a good selection of weathervanes in half a dozen stands. Joseph Lodge of Lederach, Pennsylvania, sold a painted iron horse, and Dennis Raleigh of Wiscasset, Maine, sold a fish. Woodbury, Connecticut, dealer Harold Cole sold a 20th-century vane of a fisherman in a dory, based on a painting by Winslow Homer, and an early 20th-century vane in the form of a woman tennis player. Tom Brown sold a large wooden bird that once graced the porch of a house on Lake Erie, but probably it was not a weathervane.

Some dealers reported 15, 17, or 19 sales, many of them of small items such as creamware ceramics, transfer-printed historical blue Staffordshire, yellowware, redware, Chinese export porcelain, and glass. There were also buyers for silver and for tenth-anniversary tin.

Michael Weinberg of Pelham, Massachusetts, said the best thing that happened in his booth was the sale of a Pennsylvania sampler. “A woman came in and said she had two similar samplers made by two sisters that came down in her family. She knew there was a third but had no idea what happened to it until she saw it on my wall,” he recounted. “She was delighted to have it join the other two.”

The Brandywine show has a long tradition. It has remained popular for more than four decades, while other shows have withered. It offers plenty of reasonably priced furniture for younger people who are buying the old fieldstone houses in the surrounding Pennsylvania and Delaware counties and furnishing them with period antiques and accessories. Plus there is enough for the seasoned collectors who have lived by the motto “Thrifty till Fifty, Spend till the End,” which was quoted by Anna Brady in her not-to-be-missed “Dealers’ Diary” column in the British weekly Antiques Trade Gazette.

For more information, contact the Brandywine River Museum at (610) 388-2700; Web site (

The Hanebergs Antiques, East Lyme, Connecticut, offered three candlestands (from left): $775 for the tiger maple stand, $1500 for the Hepplewhite stand with oval top and vasiform baluster, and $1850 for the Chester County, Pennsylvania, stand with round dish top. The Porter family Connecticut bonnet-top cherry secretary, a Chapin school piece, was $35,000. The bird’s-eye maple inlaid games table, probably Boston, was $2950, and the pair of English knife boxes, circa 1780, $5500.

Pricilla Boyd Angelos of Meetinghouse Antiques, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, sold the tall-case clock. She also sold three green glass demijohns like the one on the Pennsylvania two-door pine dry sink. The dry sink was priced at $1400; the Pennsylvania pine blanket chest, $800; and the American diorama with a four-masted ship, $795.

This butternut and tulip poplar Hackensack cupboard from Bergen County, New Jersey, has reeded columns, a central drawer flanked by candle drawers, and shaped shelves in the interior. Joseph Saviano of Park Place Gallery Antiques, Delton, Michigan, priced it at $19,500.

James Kilvington of Dover, Delaware, back at Brandywine for the first time in more than three decades, asked $9500 for the Queen Anne Philadelphia walnut side chair made for Nicholas Waln, a Quaker lawyer turned minister, and $3950 for the English oak vernacular tea table (it sold). The Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, inlaid blanket chest at left, dated 1777 and with the initials I.S., was priced at $65,000. The pair of Irish back stools covered in tomato red damask was $12,500, and the small English sideboard was $12,500. The Chester County, Pennsylvania, bird’s-eye maple chest at right was $7500.

  The paintings are mostly Brandywine school paintings by illustrators who were students of Howard Pyle. Over the sideboard is a landscape ($4300) by George Whitney, who was a teacher at the Westtown School in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The painting to the right is by illustrator Gayle Porter Hoskins (1887-1962). I Will Carry Him Up to the Bedroom” ($16,500) was an illustration for a story in Redbook in 1912, and Howard Pyle is said to have been the model for the older man in the picture.

Douglas Constant of Orient, Long Island, New York, sold this English sideboard. The painted chairs are two from a set of six priced at $650 for the six.

Originally published in the September 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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