By KIERSTEN McMONAGLE
For 21st Century Media
Some may want to know what the future would look like, but this weekend Chester County will be taking a step back to days as old as the 17th century.
The Brandywine River Museum of Art is hosting their 42nd annual Antiques Show May 24-26, and they are anticipating a wide range of antiques from more than 30 different exhibitors. “The exhibitors are bringing the best of their pieces, and these are excellent dealers,” said Lora Englehart from the Brandywine Consverancy. “Ordinarily, people would have to travel a far way to see these dealers, so it’s a great opportunity for them to see what they have.” Exhibitors will be coming to the show from Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Connecticut.
The art from these exhibitors will not be the only pieces displayed at this year’s show, though. “We always have a decorative art exhibit,” said Englehart. This year, the special exhibition will be “Willhelm Schimmel: A Bold Piece of Work,” and unlike the antique show itself, this exhibit will be open from May 23 to June 2.
“This is the work of a fella who lived 1817 to 1890, in the years following the Civil War,” said Englehart. “He was a drifter, and seemed to get himself into a lot of trouble with drinking too much and getting in a lot of fights. But he also did wonderful things with a carving knife — a lot of birds, and other animals as well. He was a legend, and so are his wonderful carvings. They’re a collector’s item.” The items for this exhibition, which will not be for sale, are coming from other museums as well as from collectors for the duration of the show.
While Schimmel’s work will not be for sale, the rest of the pieces being showcased will be. This show is an annual fundraiser for the Brandywine River Museum of Art, and all proceeds go to the Volunteers’ Art Purchase Fund. “Since 1975, this fund has been instrumental in obtaining more than 200 works of art for the museum,” said Englehart, explaining that this fundraiser is the museum’s way of giving back to the fund.
Pieces on display and for sale at the show will range from each dealer, according to Englehart, who explained that there is no theme for this year’s show. However, some items will include classical, American, High Style Country, and continental furniture; 18th- and 19th-century American militaria; folk art; Chinese export porcelain; and decorative arts from the American and English periods.
In addition to showcasing and selling their pieces, the dealers attending the show will be giving booth talks on different subjects. Each day, four dealers will speak about different types of antiques, including 19th-century luxury glass, Chinese export porcelain, scrimshaw (carvings made out of whale bone), and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Furniture. The talks are free to anyone who has paid for entry to the show itself, and will take place throughout Sunday and Monday, from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.
For anyone interested in browsing the show’s contents without a crowd, Englehart said there will be a preview party on Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. “Preview night is quite elegant,” said Englehart. “It’s an opportunity for people to look at the antiques without quite so much of a crowd. The antiques dealers are there as well to answer questions.”