The past puts in an appearance at Annapolis antiques show

January 22, 1995|By JoAnne C. Broadwater | JoAnne C. Broadwater,Special to The Sun

Whether you're searching for a $35 gravy skimmer to add to your set of early iron fireplace utensils or a rare mocha earthenware mustard pot from the late 1700s, there's a chance you'll find the item you need to complete your collection -- or start a new one -- at the Annapolis Heritage Antiques Show next weekend.

Dozens of mid-Atlantic and Northeast regional dealers will bring thousands of their best 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century furnishings and decorative arts to Maryland's historic capital city for the three-day show.

They'll be setting up room displays inside the town's E. Leslie Medford Armory, transforming it into a gallery of 18th-century highboys, rope beds, Chinese export porcelain, early delft pottery and more.

"One of the things about an antique show like this one is that you never know what's going to be there until the doors open," says Jennifer Goldsborough, a consulting curator and writer who will be the featured speaker at the event, which benefits the historic London Town Publik House & Gardens in Edgewater.

"People will have the opportunity in their own hometown to see things that they wouldn't normally see," she says. "It's always a ,, little bit of a treasure hunt each year."

Ms. Goldsborough plans to do a little shopping of her own and is hoping to find a 19th- or early 20th-century English biscuit tin and an early 20th-century perfume or cologne bottle to add to her collections.

An expert on the subject of silver, she will also be browsing through collections of English and American silver flatware, tea and coffee servers, tankards and bowls. "Silver has always been a luxury item," says Ms. Goldsborough, former chief curator at the Maryland Historical Society.

"Stylistically, it has always been at the leading edge of fashion," she says. "At the same time, because it is valuable, it is a maintainer of tradition by being passed down in families."

Ms. Goldsborough will present a lecture about Maryland silver at a breakfast scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. In her slide talk, she will discuss the reasons Colonial Marylanders -- in a manner more patrician than patriotic -- preferred to buy their silver from England rather than place an order with a local silversmith.

"Maryland retained its ties to the old country more so than any other Colony," she says. "There was a strong tradition toward purchasing in England. The wealthy made an effort to perpetuate the landed-gentry system that prevailed."

The preference for prestigious English products often extended to furniture and pewter, adds Carol Trela, a local dealer and owner of Trela Antiques. Ms. Trela, who specializes in 18th-century American furniture, will display four English Sheffield silver banquet-table candlesticks.

She'll also be displaying everything from an 18th-century cherry tall chest with seven levels of drawers, valued between $7,000 and $8,000, to a selection of early iron fireplace utensils, including scoops and skimmers, that sell for under $50 and are sturdy enough to be used for daily cooking chores.

Her turn-of-the century American Dedham pottery -- with its patterns of elephants, ducks, lobsters, crabs, lilies and iris -- sells for $175 to $800 for plates, creamers, pitchers, whipped-cream bowls and knife rests.

She'll be asking from $400 to $1,250 for her watertight, late 19th-century Nantucket baskets made by Massachusetts whalers. She'll also have simple market baskets that date to the mid-1800s and sell for $95 to $125.

One of the highlights will be an 18th-century mahogany candlestand, valued at $3,300, that was rented for use in the feature film "Guarding Tess."

"Last year I took a highboy valued at $25,000 and also a chest of drawers for $575," she says. "You get the whole gamut in Annapolis. There's a variety, so there's something for everyone."

Aileen Minor Antiques of Princess Anne will bring its specialty item -- a selection of 19th-century drapery pins -- as well as antique pieces for the garden such as an urn that will be filled with seasonal flowers.

Bill and Judy Campbell of Federal Hill will feature a walnut Delaware Valley highboy with its original brass handles and some colorful, early Chinese export porcelain and rustic delft pottery.

They'll bring a $2,800 copper weather vane modeled after a famous trotting horse and also some English and French mocha pottery that is "almost art-deco-looking," Mrs. Campbell says.

Shakers sell for $600 and a bowl for $7,500. They also have pitchers and rare flowerpots with saucers.

The market is strong today for decorative items including porcelain, silver, floral prints, paintings and maps, says Robert Armacost of Armacost Antiques Shows Ltd., the manager and promoter of the Annapolis event.

Silver is popular, he adds, and many visitors to the show like to fill in missing pieces from their sets. Glass -- which he said has

long been bargain-priced -- is also becoming more appreciated.

"There's a fairly brisk business these days in things you can tuck under your arm," Mr. Armacost says. "Whatever you're looking for, there most likely will be lots to look at. You can spend under $50 or over $10,000."

A preview of the show will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. Tickets for that event, which will cost $30 per person, will be available at the door.

The show will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Friday, from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6. The armory is located on Hudson Street off West Street.

The continental breakfast featuring the slide lecture by Ms. Goldsborough will be held at the Conte Building, 116 Defense Highway.

Tickets are $20 per person and include Saturday admission to the show. Reservations are required. Please call (410) 222-1919.

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