Karen DiSaia (right), manager of the show, is shown with Claudia Pfeiffer, the George L. Ohrstrom Jr. Curator, National Sporting Library and Museum, Middleburg, Virginia. The display behind them features the early 20th-century English sterling silver centerpiece on a marble base that was used on the cover of the show catalog and as a focal piece for the lobby display. The intricately detailed piece is a replica of a park drag coach and four. Park drag coaches were often the transportation of choice for sporting spectators and are used today for various coaching events. They are easily identified by the open-air seating on the coach’s roof. This model was crafted by Elkington & Co., Ltd., London, and is part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Sumpter Priddy III wears many hats. He’s an antiques dealer with a shop in Alexandria, Virginia; a respected antiques author, educator, and researcher; and first and foremost an unapologetic promoter of southern antiques. On Saturday he spoke from his booth on the general topic of “Why Consider Southern Antiques?” He is shown with a large decorated punch bowl, explaining its southern connection.
Fletcher/Copenhaver Fine Art, Fredericksburg, Virginia, featured many works by Alix Aymé (1894-1989). Aymé’s drawings and paintings are primarily images drawn from her long association with Southeast Asia. Partners John Copenhaver and Joel Fletcher are experts on her work and were instrumental in arranging the first American exhibition devoted to the artist, held at Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen Museum in Baltimore in September 2012. They are now compiling a catalogue raisonné of her works. Here, John Copenhaver waits while Frederick Lowther of Alexandria, Virginia, takes a close look and ponders an Aymé 1930’s sketch, Studies of Young Girls, priced at $25,000.
These French majolica plates and mugs are stamped with the name of importer and retailer Higgins & Seiter, New York City. Each piece of the so-called “bunny” pattern porcelain is decorated in a slightly different manner. They were priced from $200 to $500 each. They were offered by James Gallagher of J. Gallagher, North Norwich, New York.
Washington Winter Show, Washington, D.C.
The weekend of January 11-13 marked the fourth installment of the newly reconstituted Washington Winter Show of antiques and fine art. Karen DiSaia Management of New Lyme, Connecticut, has handled the show since it was reformed and moved to the Katzen Arts Center on the campus of American University in 2010. The show is organized as a nonprofit. Proceeds benefit several charities for children and families in need in the Washington, D.C., area.
The theme of this year’s event was “The Thrill of the Chase: Antiques of the Sporting Life.” Honorary chairs of the show were Penny Chenery, breeder and owner of Secretariat, the legendary Triple Crown winning thoroughbred; and His Excellency the Ambassador of France François Delattre and Mrs. Delattre.
The weekend’s events included a reception and gala for sponsors, benefactors, and designers Thursday evening as well as a full slate of lectures, show tours, and appraisals each day of the show. On Friday, Ménéhould de Bazelaire, director of cultural heritage for Hermès of Paris, delivered a lecture entitled “Chic le Sport.” Few things are more chic than the Hermès brand of personal furnishings, but the company’s origins were with its fine leather harnesses and related equine equipment. Saturday’s lecture went to the dogs. “Westminster: America’s Dog Show” was a talk given by Thomas H. Bradley III and David Frei. Bradley is the show chair and president of the Westminster Kennel Club. Frei is the club announcer.
On the show floor, “Dealer Talks” offered patrons an opportunity to hear informal presentations by several of the show exhibitors. The presentations of about 15 minutes each drew patrons. For example, a discussion of presentation silver pieces was held at the booth of Spencer Marks, Ltd.; Sumpter Priddy extolled the virtues of southern furniture; and Donald Cresswell of Philadelphia Print Shop discussed sports as recorded through historical prints.
As patrons entered the show, they were greeted by an extremely well-designed and appropriately themed exhibit, “Sporting Pastimes: Art and Objects of Leisure,” on loan from the National Sporting Library and Museum (NSLM), Middleburg, Virginia. Claudia Pfeiffer, the George L. Ohrstrom Jr. Curator of NSLM, had assembled a wide variety of the objects from the museum’s collections. The displays were divided among various sporting classifications: angling, shooting, coaching, fox hunting, steeplechasing, and horse racing. Among the items exhibited were rare books with fore-edge painted sporting scenes, a John Emms (English, 1841-1912) oil on canvas, Foxhounds and Terrier in a Stable Interior, a 5' long brass and copper mail coach post horn, and the familiar blue and white checkered riding silks from Secretariat’s Virginia home stable, Meadow Farm.
Karen DiSaia had arranged the 45 exhibitors on all three floors of the Katzen Center. While it may seem that a three-story vertical distribution of dealers would present a challenge for patrons, the arrangement worked very well. Elevators, wide stairways, and inclined walkways simplified access to all of the booth spaces.
Aisle space was ample, and much appreciated as Saturday wore on. By early afternoon a substantial uptick was noticeable at this busy show. It has been a long time since I have been able to use that adjective. I was not alone in my observation. Several dealers mentioned the size of the crowd. One quipped, “Unless I’m dreaming, we won’t be able to have our usual dealer bowling tournament [in the aisles] this weekend.”
Catching up on the numbers after the show, Karen DiSaia stated that the show’s attendance was up 20% over last year. She added, “Patrons were excited and were looking to buy.” All of the dealers I spoke with were not only pleased with the size of the crowd but reported excellent sales for the weekend. There was even a report that at least one dealer had to remain in town longer than expected in order to fill call-back orders.
If the Washington Winter Show is any indication, there are definitely encouraging signs for the future of intermediate-size shows. Karen DiSaia credits the show’s success to the hard work of the various committee members. “They have made a huge effort to build this show. They have worked to attract new and younger patrons, and their efforts paid off.”
For additional information, contact Karen DiSaia at (860) 908-0076; or on the Web site (www.washingtonwintershow.com).
Bill and Susan Beck of Beck’s Antiques and Books, Fredericksburg, Virginia, were first-time exhibitors at the show. This desk box with a fold-out writing surface was a gift from Venezuela’s first president, José Antonio Páez (1790-1873), to American banker and financier Morris Ketchum (1796-1880). Ketchum was one of the founders of the Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works of Patterson, New Jersey. The box is intricately inlaid and displays Páez’s initials on one inner surface. The box was tagged $2750.
The booth of Joyce and Ron Bassin of A Bird In Hand, Florham Park, New Jersey, came alive with folk art. The circa 1880 cow weathervane is in exceptional condition. The head and horns are cast and attached to a molded copper body. The vane is 39" in overall length and displays a naturally weathered surface including a couple of small-caliber bullet holes. The vane was $25,000. The small hooked mat is by Grenfell Labrador Industries of St. Anthony, Newfoundland. Depicting a three-dog team and driver with medical supplies on the sled, the mat dates from circa 1925, retains its original Grenfell tag, and was $3300.
Rick Scott of San Francisco, California, displayed a large array of European tea caddies. Included in this group are a caddy with inlaid shell designs, a large double-compartment caddy with inlaid medallions and leaf and vine decoration, and a ten-sided parquetry-decorated example. Prices ranged from $1000 to $2800.
Gary P. Sergeant of Woodbury, Connecticut, trades as G. Sergeant Antiques. He displayed a Regency period toleware tea set. The set is complete and was offered in its original fitted campaign-style mahogany case. The tray fits neatly in the lower drawer. The set dates from the first quarter of the 19th century and was tagged $3900.
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest