Design New England

Newport Antiques show reflects maritime heritage

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Two powerhouses behind the show’s success are Show Chair Anne Hamilton (seated) and Show Manager Diana Bittel.

At the recent preview gala of The Newport Antiques Show, a sense of the sea was omnipresent in the objects on display — from folk art whales and shell-motif transferware to evocative marine paintings. Given that the annual late-July show is held at St. George’s School, just a few hundred feet from Sachuest Beach in Middletown, Rhode Island, the nautical notes were a crowd pleaser. Also pleasing is the fact that this show, now in its seventh year, has raised more than $1.4 million for The Newport Historical Society and The Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County. The show’s success is due in large part to the combined efforts and enthusiasm of Show Chair Anne Hamilton, a summer resident of Newport, Rhode Island, and Show Manager Diana H. Bittel, an antiques dealer based in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. “I’ve been involved with antiques shows for many years,” says Hamilton, “and this one is unique in that there are two beneficiaries. We are so happy to be able to support them.” In addition to the 18th- through 20th-century offerings from more than 40 top primarily East Coast dealers, this year’s show included an exhibit by Historic New England called “Windows on the Past,” with such 18th- and 19th-century objects as a mantel clock, sewing box, bird cage, and silver candlesticks on loan from New England historic houses.


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Leslie Grosvenor (left) of Newport with Anne Hamilton, chair of The Newport Antiques Show.

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A circa 1815 shell motif transferware plate from Dennis & Dad Antiques, specialists in 18th- and 19th-century English ceramics.

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Fish-shaped and fish-themed objects adorn a wall in the booth of Judith & James Milne.

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Gala attendees included (from left) Newport writer Antonia Farzan, Newport Art Museum director Lisa Goddard, and Newport Historical Society board member Dorienne Farzan.

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Newport interior designer Kelli Rugg (right) and antiques dealer James Kilvington discuss a circa 1680-1710 painting in a whimsical gilt frame (photo below) that caught Rugg’s eye.

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Interior designer Bess Walker and architect Richard Crisson, both of Middletown, were among the design industry representatives at the gala.

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Judith & James Milne’s both was a trove of carved wood and stone objects.

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Detail of the biblical scenes adorns the Delft tile tray top of a 19th-century table in the booth of Dawn Hill Antiques.

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An antique painted sign and an early portrait of boy and dog are in a fetching juxtaposition in the booth of Essex Antiquarians.

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