Monday, January 14, 2013

Mid-January Thaw

I had planned to be set up at Jack Donigian's Milford Antiques Show in Milford, NH, show on December 30, but we had not one but two decent snows late that week and I had to spend enough time clearing the driveways, paths and roofs that I didn't have time to pack the van to go to the show, so I missed what has been reported as a very good show for both buyers and sellers. So it goes.

Now, just two weeks later, we've had a January thaw and although the snow isn't gone by any means, there is less of it on the ground, and what's left isn't very pretty to look at, as you will see. All the same, I've managed to get out and find some interesting things in these New England attics and sheds.

 This spelter eagle, gilded and mounted on a walnut flagpole, is wonderfully sculpted front and back, and that rondel at the base is hand-carved ivory. It's a nice touch, something that I would only expect to find on a pole used in a Courtroom or other important public building. I have only the top half, five foot tall, of the pole itself, which makes it possible to get close to the eagle to admire its fine detail.

This is a paper mask, folded along the profile edge seen on the right, the forehead, nose, mouth, and chin. As a result when it's unfolded for use, it's a three dimensional mask Marked "Made in Japan" it was surely a Taishō era (1912-26) product. Clearly aimed for the Western market, what we know as Art Deco was almost as popular in Japan, prior to the increasing militarism of the 1930s, as it was in America.

 Often attributed to the Shakers, there is no substantial reason to suggest that these bentwood lapped knife trays actually we made or sold by the communities, which by the end of the 19th century were in decline, but it is nonetheless an attractive and useful object, two qualities which were certainly important to the Shakers, qualities which make it a desirable object to this day.

 And finally the picture of that dirty snow... which was also soft enough that this Bamboo Stand sank right in for two or three inches, so had had to resort to some plywood scraps to support it. The stand is a 19th C example that was probably made somewhere in southeast Asia: the Spanish East Indies (the Phillipines), Indo-China (Viet Nam), or the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). The hot tool decoration on the legs and belt trim of the top and the shelf is especially attractive and indicative of the stand having been crafted by a village artisan rather than in a factory-type shop in either Europe or America.

I wasn't able to catch a last minute space at Marvin Getman's Boston Antiques & Design Show in Wilmington, MA, show this last weekend, about which I've also heard good things, so what's next? I don't know yet, but when I find out, this is where you'll see it. Until them, happy hunting.