Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's not that I haven't been busy... If anything, just the opposite. I've gotten a couple of nice rugs since I last posted.

This one is a small, 30 inch diameter, hand-braided 8-Spoke Shaker Spirit Rug which I've added to my DigAntiques shop selection.

And this one is a 19th century Daghestan Prayer Rug from the NE Caucasus. Neither is in a perfect state of preservation, but both are seldom encountered and I was not about to let either one go by.
I also found this small piece of hand-wrought iron about about 9 inches long and about which I know absolutely nothing...

save that it was pounded into the wall and held something, but what? and why? (Of course what I see is a ballet dancer on point, but that's just me.)

And then there is this painting

From a local estate, it's never been out of its original frame and I'm reasonably certain that it's a scene from somewhere here in northern New England. It too has a bit of a problem, that's a hole there in the lower right corner, but its a pretty impressive painting and will probably be well worth the time it will take to learn more about it.

Jack Donigian's Milford Antiques Show begins the season this coming Sunday, October 16, and every Sunday (except Christmas) until the first of April. It's a sure sign that winter is coming, but we're always glad to see it because it's a good place to both buy and sell.

Until next time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This Ought To Clean Up Pretty Well

I've spent most of the last few weeks enjoying visits from family, another wedding, and lots of nice summer weather, but I've still managed to get out some... And any time you can get out and rummage through New England, the nation's attic, there are always interesting things to find.

For example, a real-photo post card of the start of a motorcycle race, but not just any motorcycle race, this was the start of the 1946 National Championship Road Race, the first National Championship held after a hiatus during WWII, in Gilford, NH. Gilford doesn't ring a bell? Think Laconia... Gilford is just up the road, and after 88 years Laconia, in June, still means only one thing-- motorcycles.


 Or how about what looks like a giant-sized piece of Tramp Art? It's about 30 inches in diameter and 40 inches tall... As near as we can tell, and it's just an educated guess, this is a Bee Skep built from strips of wooden lath. Not familiar with the term "skep"? Think "a man-made hollow tree". The bees have easy entry and exit, ample ventilation, and protection from rain. Inside the structure there are rods to support a foundation frame and the bees take it from there. Not built with any notion other than utility, if we approach it as sculpture it's folk art in its purest form.

And something we can relate more easily to while on the subject of art, a watercolor painting of a twelve-man jazz band, unsigned, which I find really surprising because it's so well executed. Imagine my surprise to stumble on this here in rural New England. It belongs in New Orleans.

And something else I shouldn't expect to find in New England save that they came from the estate of a long-deceased antiques dealer, two brass plates, 19th century, from the Near East. I'm no authority, but the engraving on these plates is so much more delicate and intricate than any we see nowadays that I'm certain the note attached to them was correct. I only wish it had gone into more detail about where they might have been made. (Don't forget that you can click on any of these images to enlarge them.)

Another pair of orphans or runaways are these candle holders from Sweden. Fully marked, they were designed by Ivar Alenius Bjork in the 1930s and manufactured by Ystad Metall.

More brass, this time an ash tray. Yes, an ash tray. Clearly marked Park-It-Safe, your cigarette was held in the space between the fingers. One set of fingers was even spaced more widely to accommodate your cigar! This same design was later manufactured from aluminum, turning it into a very Fifties product, but this one apparently was the first generation. About three inches in diameter, I had no idea what it was when I picked it up... maybe a coaster, or a very small crown?

More metal, this time cast iron... A Wagner Ware No. 1508 Loaf or Baking Pan. This is a scarce piece of cast iron cookware and I'll have to have it cleaned up, but it should attract some attention both at shows (Brimfield is coming) and on eBay.

Finally getting around to what may turn out to be the best find (and also the title piece of this post)... Even though badly water stained, this ought to clean up pretty well. At least I hope so, because it appears to be an original lithograph on linen, in an Imperial Folio size, from “Le Jardin Potages,” published by Vilmorin, the illustrious Paris seed company, annually, one each year, by  from 1850 to 1884. This one is No.28 (1877). These posters were later gathered and published as Album Vilmorin, now very rare, so rare that I cannot be certain whether or not it was published in a smaller format (of which I have seen examples for sale) or both large and small formats, late in the 19th century, and then in a facsimile edition late in the 20th century, in itself scarce and very collectible. 

Although it too could be called an orphan or runaway, I guess what this tells us is that New England really is the nation's attic and that we should never be surprised by what turns up here.

And one last thing from the last few weeks, almost a postscript...

This is a tin boiling pot, complete with its original cover. Used to quickly heat water on the kitchen wood stove, then carried outside to the wash pot, it's a fine example of a country antique still in excellent condition. It's also an example of the bread and butter of this business up until ten or so years ago. And it's the only "country antique" that I found and came home with-- an illustration of where this business has been, and where it's going.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting Back on the Show Circuit

As my shoulder continues to improve with physical therapy I'm slowly getting back on the show circuit. Although I skipped Brimfield for the second time this year, I did set up in Dorset, Vermont, in July, and then in New London, NH, the following weekend. My camera batteries failed to take a charge the night before the Dorset show, so I have no image record of that show, which is a biennial show on the lawns and marble sidewalks of the village... very picturesque. It was a hot day for us all, but the crowd turned out all the same and I think it's fair to say that the dealers held up their end of the bargain too. There were some gorgeous antiques for sale in Dorset that Saturday.

A week later, with brand new batteries in my camera, I made my way to the Garden Club Antique Show in New London, New Hampshire.

The town green was absolutely full of dealers, and despite the heat of that day, once again the crowd turned out. There was a strong shower just at the start of set-up, so probably only half of us were ready on time for early buying, but the upside was that we stayed cooler than expected for nearly all the morning, and although the afternoon got quite warm, the humidity was pretty much gone. I heard no one complain.

Making its first appearance at a show was a ca. 1800 Blanket Box that that I had bought at an estate sale while vacationing with the family on the New Jersey shore in early July. I really hadn't intended to buy anything at all while "on vacation" but so much for that resolution.

Five of the six boards are White Pine; the sixth, the bottom board, is Chestnut (now it could properly be called wormy Chestnut) and it retains its original hand-wrought iron hinges and its old green paint. Given my shoulder problem it's only the second piece of furniture that I've added to my offerings this year-- everything else has been small and light. I guess it's a sign that my shoulder really is getting better, that and my fondness for pieces still in their old paint.

So what else is new?

A three-legged Cast Iron Pot, most recently used as a plant holder, but what its original use was I really don't know.

A cast iron Radiator Cover that could be used as a trivet or hung on a wall for its interesting pattern.

A set of 1-1/4pound Wood Dumbbells, something any of us with shoulder injuries could still use.

And a Farm Tractor and Trailer. Sorry, but this one is not going to be for sale. Instead it will go to my 13 month old grandson, Finn, when I see him later in August. Every boy needs a tractor to drive around.

Friday, June 10, 2011

More on that Geiszel watercolor

In the previous post I pictured a watercolor of a surf caster fishing near a sand dune and attributed it to Margaret Malpass Geiszel. Further consideration indicates that it may in fact more likely be the work of her husband, John H. Geiszel (1892-1973 or '74, Philadelphia, PA), listed in Davenport, Mallett, etc. Educated at the Pennsylvania Museum and School (now the Philadelpha Museum of Art) and a member and past-president of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, Geiszel was a well-known teacher but apparently not a prolific artist. His work is said to be held in public and private collections, but seldom comes up for sale.

I was able to find signature examples of both John and Margaret. All examples of Margaret's signature include her initials, M.M. The only example of John's signature that I have yet found is from an oil painting, but the form of the letters, especially the G, strongly resembles the signature of this little watercolor, and indicates that it may more likely be by his hand than by hers.

Margaret Malpass Geiszel

John H. Geiszell

The watercolor in question...

Taking into account that the different media have to be handled differently, I think you'll agree that the similarity is clearly seen. Of course, what's also clearly seen is the similarity between Margaret's and John's signatures... So at this point, it's still an attribution, but I'm prepared to attribute it to John.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is this drawing by Roland H. Clark?

Maybe? Probably not? I don't know. It's well done, the signature is very similar (but is that middle initial really an H?), the date is right, but the subject matter is not at all typical. Still, artists have been known to dash off personal works for friends or family, or sometimes just for fun, that have little or no similarity to their "important" work.

Here's another one. Is this watercolor by Margaret Malpass Geiszel? Maybe... but I don't know. This one too is well done, the style is right, she worked in watercolors, the scene could easily have been found on the nearby New Jersey shore, and the signature is very similar but it lacks the MM that she usually used.

Both of these are recent acquisitions, both stand up well on their own, but can either of them be confidently attributed? Probably not by me, but maybe someone better equipped will come forward to buy them, or maybe they will simply be bought and enjoyed by someone who really isn't concerned about the identity of the artist.

And now for something completely different-- a mid-century industrial work station chair, completely original, well-used but not abused, with an adjustable seat height and back height. It might have been for a sewing machine operator, or someone who worked at a parts assembly bench, but what attracted my eye was it's anthropomorphic quality. I see a funny little creature standing there, looking out at me.

That's the fun of this business of collecting stuff, whether for ourselves or for others. There are unanswered questions, mysteries, and even the occasional intentional misconception and the smile that accompanies it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Outdoor Antiques Show May 28, 2011, in Madison, CT

It looks like I will be showing on the first outdoor Antiques Show of the 2011 season on the Town Green in Madison, CT, next Saturday, May 28, 2011. I'll be bringing a half dozen pieces of "stick wicker", Art Deco wicker from the 1920-30s. You won't often find a whole sun porch full of stick wicker for sale in one place at one time...

A chaise, two lounge chairs each with a magazine rack arm, an ottoman that can double as a low table,
and a pair of end tables!

The weather forecast is good, a little humid maybe, but a high in the 70s and any showers holding off until late in the day. Still, it's a good idea to get out early. Early Buying admission is between 8-9 AM. Regular admission is from 9-4, and unless stormy weather chases us out earlier, all 70+ antique dealers will be there right up until the end.

Want to save a dollar? Click here to get the discount coupon from the Madison Chamber of Commerce web site, good for a dollar off one or two regular admissions. Just print it and come on down.

What else might you see in my stand? A few recent finds shown in earlier blog posts, the prancing horse weather vane will be out for its maiden showing, the anatomy charts, the skirted trefoil top table, and some other pieces that haven't been seen here, bamboo and faux bamboo, maybe a piece or two of fancy Victorian wicker, and an assortment of interesting yet affordable smalls from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.

See you in Madison!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Still Raining After All These Days

We get the feeling that we've missed all of Spring, except April, and that when this rain finally stops and the overcast lifts we will find ourselves in mid-Summer. It will be better than this, but I really wouldn't mind enjoying some Spring.

Of course, three inches of rain last week isn't enough to stop the hunting expedition, and I managed to turn up a few neat things...

A set of six hand-painted, frosted juice glasses that I thought would make a nice addition in an upcoming Garden Show, but my wife seems to think they'll make a nice addition right here at home... So it goes.

An appliqued linen pouch, from the 1940s I think, about seven inches square. I've seen small mats of this nature from time to time, but this is the first pouch that I've come across.

And how about a sheet iron weathervane in the form of a horse. I don't think this has a whole lot of age, maybe 40 to 60 years, but probably not more. It was made to either be supported on a rod like any proper weathervane or mounted flat on a wall... it actually has the mounts built on the back side, which is what leads me to believe that it's not as old as we wish it were. But it has a great look, and the surface is right, not the result of artificial aging. It's been around for a while, but will not cost an arm and a leg like the antique vanes of this ilk.

That's it for now. I really have to get some tomatoes transplanted while I can-- before Summer goes the way of Spring.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Rainy Day

A rainy day, but things are looking up. My shoulder may not require a surgical repair after all. I've been directed to physical therapy instead, started last week, and we'll see what things look like in another month or so. No surgery and a quicker return to the show circuit would be good. Missed all of Brimfield, and I was told it was a good one, but there will be more.

So here's the other medical chart. This one is American, c. 1918...

And a 6 foot tall step ladder, c. 1900, labeled Paris Manufacturing Co., S. Paris, Maine. Still sturdy enough to be used as a ladder, it much more likely will end up being used in a store display. It's past owner (or owners) were painters-- that much is quite obvious, but who would want to erase such a provenance.

It will be a while before I'm back on the show trail, but when I am, you'll see these and other new finds there on the ground instead of on the screen. Nothing big and heavy for a while, but that's okay, too.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is Spring Finally Here?

Well, it seemed like it a couple of days ago.

Although it's been some time since I posted here, it's not like nothing has been happening. I started off the new year by slipping on an icy Boston sidewalk and tearing my rotator cuff. Then, of course, I spent the next ten weeks shoveling snow, which probably didn't help it any. Bottom line is that I now am facing a surgical repair which will keep me off the show circuit probably all summer, perhaps into the fall.

Of course, that's not quite the same as saying I don't get out any more, only that the things I'm apt to bring home are smaller, or at least lighter...

For example:

A ca. 1905 Wicker Tea Cart

A ca. 1900 or earlier English Anatomy Chart

A ca. 1885 Trefoil Top Table with ebonized legs and a crocheted, ribboned, and fringed skirt

That's hardly all there is... there's another Anatomy Chart, American, ca. 1930, of the Skeleton, at least a half dozen pieces of ca. 1930s Art Deco style Stick wicker, pencil drawings and drypoint etchings, and lots more.

For all practical purposes I'll be forced to simply sell most things from my web site or other online venues, although I certainly hope to be back out on the field as quickly as possible. Might even have some things out on the porch of the Vermont house again...