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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Changes Afoot at Midweek in Manchester

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Don Olson Antiques, Rochester, N.Y. Don Olson Antiques, Rochester, N.Y.
MANCHESTER, N.H. – The two-day Mid Week in Manchester Antiques Show got off to a robust start on Wednesday, August 10.
“Attendance was up slightly from last year, about 8 or 9 percent, but the high quality of the gate is what matters and a number of dealers did very well. The bulk of selling was on Wednesday but there were be-backs on Thursday and business did take place,” said manager Frank Gaglio of Barn Star Productions in Rhinebeck, N.Y.
This was Mid Week’s final appearance at the Furniture World Building, which has been sold. The 18-year-old fair spent its first fifteen years at the Wayfarer Inn in nearby Bedford, N.H.
Gaglio, who also manages the 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show in Philadelphia, the Autumn Hartford Antiques Show and several other popular events, is now on the hunt for a new venue for his two New Hampshire shows, the 93-exhibitor Mid Week, a cornerstone of Antiques Week in New Hampshire, and his August 8 Pickers Market, which has 80 dealers.
With a venue change pending, there is also speculation that one or possibly two new shows may form in the already crowded Antiques Week calendar, siphoning off some disaffected Mid Week exhibitors who dislike following the Pickers Market in the same venue.
“We are very proud of our relationship with our dealers and want to include them in our decision process,” Gaglio told In questionnaires circulated after the shows, Gaglio polled exhibitors to see if they want Mid Week and Pickers Market to merge or to remain separate entities.
“We are looking at all of the responses but to some degree facility availability will dictate how we go forward,” said Gaglio, who has not ruled out moving his events out of the area if no suitable venue is found locally. “We want to build a relationship with an institution or facility that will provide a permanent home for our shows.”
Gaglio defended his current line-up, telling, “The Pickers Market fills the gap between Northeast Auctions, which ends on Sunday, and Nan Gurley’s show on Tuesday.  It was originally on Friday but we were losing exhibitors because of the late night set-up. The Pickers Market defrays costs for Mid Week. We sell a two-show ticket at the Pickers Market which also helps ensure a viable audience for Mid Week.”
Mid Week in Manchester boasts some of the nation’s foremost Americana specialists.
American needlework experts Stephen and Carol Huber unveiled an important Salem, Ma., embroidery on black silk by Anstiss Crowninshield, circa 1740. The work, which depicts a shepherd and shepherdess in a pastoral setting with a house and dogs, is the mate to one at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum. The Hubers, whose new book, With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley, 1740-1840, is due off the press any day, reported good attendance at their annual open house in Old Saybrook, Ct., following the close of Antiques Week.
“It’s been very active. I sold several pieces of furniture plus lighting, baskets and accessories,” said Merrimac Port, Ma., dealer Colette Donovan, who paints a pleasing palette with 18th century textiles and early country furniture. A highlight was her red-painted child’s drop-front desk with a shapely bracket base, $9,500.
The desk was recently illustrated in Antiques and Fine Art magazine, as was a striking portrait of a handsome, well-groomed young woman with upswept hair and a penetrating gaze by New England painter John S. Blunt.  Don Olson, a dealer from Rochester, N.Y., offered the painting that accompanied Deborah M. Child’s article, “Coming of Age: The Marine Paintings of Samuel Blunt.”
Color was a unifying theme at Samuel Herrup Antiques, where a pair of paint-decorated Regency tables, $11,500, joined W.M. Prior’s winsome portrait of little girl in blue holding a red book, $35,000, and a large hooked rug of a dog, $19,500. A portrait of sea captain, possibly Caleb Cook of Salem, Ma., was $14,000.
“I did well and I always enjoy this show,” said South Salem, N.Y., dealer John Keith Russell, whose display included a Dunlap School armchair, $7,500, from southern New Hampshire. Wrapped in a green tarp, a Shaker table waited for its buyer to claim it.  On August 6 at Northeast Auctions, Russell was the winning bidder on another Shaker table, a trestle-base example from the Claire Cook collection, hammered down at $64,900.
Furniture sold well for several Mid Week exhibitors. Shaftsbury, Vt., dealers Norman and Mary Gronning parted with a tiger-maple chest in old surface, an 18th century  Massachusetts armchair retaining portions of its original upholstery,  a tavern table, a painting and smalls. “We even had a couple of follow ups,” said Mary Gronning.
A 17th century New England six-board blanket chest, $4,950, with gouged decoration  was much admired at Gronning Antiques, as was a circa 1710 Connecticut River Valley linen-fold chest with incised heart decoration, $19,500, in the booth of Ohio dealers David Good and Sam Forsythe.
“Business has been excellent,” said Sam Forsythe, reeling off a list of sales that included a ladder-back armchair, fraktur, treen, baskets, redware, folk art, a hat box, an early canteen and a theorem.
Don Heller and Kim Washam‘s sumptuous display combined furniture, accessories and a large, round, late 19th century wooden carving of the Seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, $36,000, embellished with an Indian who may be Massasoit of the Wampanoags.  The Maine dealers’ sales included a dwarf tall clock from Massachusett’s South Shore, a Queen Anne chair, a set of Rhode Island brace-back Windsor chairs, a Hudson Valley great chair, a Boston compass seat chair, a Hepplewhite stand and assorted shelves, accessories and doll furniture.

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