Purchase Story

Holiday Antiques Show Offers Some Show-Stoppers

Williamsburg, Virginia

The 36th annual Holiday Antiques Show was held the weekend of November 24-26, 2017, at the Doubletree by Hilton, Williamsburg, Virginia. The event has become a mainstay for Black Friday shoppers who wish to avoid the hassle of outlet malls and standstill traffic.

This copybook is dated 1853 and is identified as being the work of M. S. Bidwell of New York. The book displays a detailed drawing of a frigate with each part of the ship numbered. On the facing page is a list identifying each of the numbered parts. The book was priced at $3800 by Malcolm Magruder Antiques, Millwood, Virginia.

This attractive diminutive one-piece corner cupboard dates from the late 18th century. It features an upper section with dramatically scalloped shelves over a lower storage compartment. The doors display raised panels and are pegged mortise-and-tenon construction. The cupboard was marked $2950. The carved burl bowl is 15" in diameter, and it was priced at $3250. The grain-painted miniature chest was tagged $2850, and the shaped beveled-glass mirror was $4800. These items were found in the booth of Marc Witus of Gladstone, New Jersey.

The Davis family of Williamsburg entered into a brief discussion regarding the purchase of this 19th-century mahogany game table. Mrs. Davis’s expression leaves little doubt as to the outcome. The table features a boldly figured book matched top. The Queen Anne style legs and feet are delicately shaped. The table was priced at $395 by Peg Lockwood of Zuni, Virginia.

It never fails that Bill and Joyce Subjack find something unique and thought-provoking to offer. The Subjacks are from Surry, Virginia, and trade as Neverbird Antiques. This time around, it was this framed sampler. At first glance, the stitchery appears to be rather ordinary. On closer examination, however, the viewer will find that while there are the expected rows of vases, animal figures, geometric patterns, letters and numerals, the text is in Spanish. According to the accompanying tag, the sampler was executed in 1827 by Majuana Maria Marjon Rodriguez, age six. Bill allowed that he is still researching this piece that was tagged $2750.

Each of these three Virginia flintlocks features a beautifully figured full-length stock. They were offered in the booth of Michael Tuccori of Harrisonburg, Virginia. Top to bottom: a Rockingham County flintlock by Alexander McGilvary featuring brass and silver inlay, $7500; an 1825-30 example by C. Spitler of New Market with engraved brass and silver mounts and an inlaid silver acorn on the forestock, $5500; and an 1815-25 rifle from the Lauck shop in Winchester, also decorated with brass and silver, $8500.

This unusual game box on stand was found in the booth of Ron and Pat Hodgdon of 20th Maine, Pownal, Maine. The front panel of the box slides out, revealing four drawers, each containing a geometric puzzle. The top displays an intricate inlaid segmented compass-like pinwheel design. The box rests on a stand with tall square-section legs, braced with an X-stretcher. The piece is probably 19th-century English. It was priced at $3600.

Snapshots cannot do justice to this rare Virginia kettle stand that was prominently displayed in the booth of Wallace Gusler of Williamsburg, Virginia. The extensively carved walnut stand dates 1750-60 and is attributed to Robert Walker of King George County, Virginia. The stand is 31¾" high x 21" diameter. It is known within the antiques world as the Semple stand and was described in detail in the January 2018 issue of M.A.D. on page 9-A. It is believed that this was first time the kettle stand was available on the open market. It is known to have been in private collections since the mid-19th century. The stand was priced at $410,000.

It was the first time Sheridan Loyd of St. Joseph, Missouri, had exhibited at the Holiday show. Loyd specializes in furniture, folk art, and decorative accessories, with an emphasis on form and surface. This wall display is representative of her fine offerings. The “Two Sweet Singers” relief-carved wall plaque dates from the late 19th or early 20th century and was tagged $850. The Federal-style split-baluster mirror dates from the first quarter of the 19th century and features a beveled mirror and its original black and gold-stenciled surround. It was marked $1650. The mid-19th-century oil on canvas portrait of a boy has had some professional restoration outside of the image and was priced at $2295. The 19th-century schoolgirl artwork of a house in a landscape in a period frame was $795.

Over the years Bettianne Sweeney, the show’s promoter and guiding force, has assembled an excellent mix of loyal dealers offering a wide range of antiques, fine art, and collectibles. Twenty-eight dealers participated in the show. I have had the pleasure of attending the Holiday show numerous times and have now reported on it for the past four years. I cannot remember another show with the overwhelming volume of high-quality offerings as this show. All of the dealers seemed to have brought their A-list material for the weekend. Kudos to Bettianne Sweeney and her staff for continuing to produce this quality event.
One highlight of the show was an 18th-century carved walnut kettle stand offered by Wallace Gusler of Williamsburg. Gusler is a well-known antiques author, historian, master gunsmith, and the former director of conservation at Colonial Williamsburg. He has set up as a dealer at the Holiday show several times, offering a variety of items, including articles from his extensive collections of Americana, Native American, and African objects. At this show he displayed an extraordinary kettle stand. The stand is shown in the photos and was also featured in the January issue of M.A.D. on page 9-A.
On Saturday Antiques Roadshow appraiser Ken Farmer was on hand to provide appraisals. Farmer has set up his table at the show for several years and certainly seems to enjoy his interaction with those who have arranged an appointment to have their heirlooms evaluated. Farmer’s last appointment of the day was quite an eyeopener. The folk art pastel portrait that was placed on his table is shown in the photos.
The days following Thanksgiving are ordinarily reserved for bargain shopping, football, and recovering from dietary overindulgence. But if you are able to schedule a trip to the Williamsburg area, a visit to the annual Holiday Antiques Show is well worth the time.
For additional information, contact Bettianne Sweeney at <> or see (www.holidayantiqueshows.com).

Here is one of a group of five framed hand-colored pages of caricatures published in London during the first quarter of the 19th century by Thomas McLean as part of theRepository of Wit and Humour.” This example depicts “SYMPTOMS” of various hunting-related events. For example, the image lower left shows one man priming his flintlock rifle while it is pointing directly at his companion. The caption reads “SYMPTOMS …of Sporting friends likely—to Separate.” The pages were priced at $125 each by Connecticut dealers Chester and Cathy Cwilichoski.

Someday this very nice folk art portrait of a young woman may be on display in one of the booths at the Holiday show. At the 2017 event, however, it was a star at Ken Farmer’s appraisal table. The owners of the pastel on paper portrait had traveled from Washington, D.C., for Farmer’s evaluation and appraisal. The owners had acquired the piece several years ago at an estate sale. (Yet another example of why we all continue to go to estate sales.) Farmer decided not to attempt to put a value on the portrait. Rather, he suggested that the owner take it for further evaluation. First, he suggested a visit to a paper conservator. Farmer allowed that once a professional has removed the portrait from its frame and examined the paper, only then would he feel comfortable offering an appraisal. We hope to be able to follow this piece of folk art along its path.

These 20th-century paintings were presented by Thomas Crowther of Crowther Fine Art, Charleston, South Carolina. The landscape is by Eliot C. Clark (1883-1980). The Impressionist scene is labeled as an Italian landscape and depicts figures in a field with a large haystack. The painting is presented in a nicely carved giltwood frame. It was tagged $1400. The two Elizabeth O’Neill Verner (1883-1979) 10" x 8" pastels on panels, circa 1948, are identified as Old Joe and Flower Vendor. The pair was offered for $23,000.


Originally published in the March 2018 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2018 Maine Antique Digest

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