ROUND TOP, Texas – What happened in Round Top? Were they obsessed with the Supreme Court hearing? Nope. Glued to phone calls from work? Nope. Fretting the Texas-Oklahoma game? Not even that. From Oct. 2-6, thousands of shoppers took a break from the world to enjoy the fall edition of the Marburger Farm Antique Show.
It was a matter of stepping. For a few days shoppers stepped out of the norms of work, computers and schedules. They stepped back into the past, into a world of beauty created by 350 exhibitors on 43 acres, with antiques and art from antiquity to mid-century modern, in every style, era and price point.
“The displays at Marburger amaze me every time,” says show co-owner Ashley Ferguson. “Dealers work for months to find the most unique objects in the world and then over just a few days they whip up a complete display of how to live with unusual objects and furniture. Every booth is stunning, both the merchandise and the presentation.”
Dealers stepped up. Over the summer many dealers bought aggressively for the show and for the excellent Texas economy. Dallas exhibitor Brooke Drake sold European art, furniture and accessories, including a 1920s Art Deco walnut side table from the Czech Republic. As is often the case in the fall edition of the twice-yearly show, she also sold table décor and serving antiques in silver and porcelain.
Florida dealer Sean Hanrahan of Sold on Dixie in West Palm Beach had stepped up as well. His show opened with the sale of a rare Karl Springer coffee table, 6 feet long, all in leather. It continued with sales of mid-century swivel chairs in bold Memphis-Milano colors, a Gilbert Poillerat metal wall candelabra from floor to ceiling and a brass 1980s Estee Lauder store vanity mirror to be used in an upcoming Architectural Digest feature. His favorite sale? This one steps back into old Palm Beach estate glamour: an early 20th century garden bench with a life-size monkey carved on one end, sitting on the bench with his legs crossed. It’s off to a project in Atlanta.
South Porch Antiques of western New York State brings early farmhouse and industrial, including lots of items in multiples: stacks of old baking trays, piles of polished flatware, shelves of ledgers, a collection of quirky parasols. The customers for these multiples included a restaurant owner who purchased 30 identical creamers from an old New York diner. Two girls, preteen shoppers from Houston, took home identical miniature telephones from an entire shelf of 1950s Bell Telephone novelties. “We’re best friends and we wanted something that we could have that would be alike,” explained one of the young shoppers. According to the other, “I don’t know how to say it, but you find things here that you would not ever find anywhere else.” (Perhaps including two girls shopping on a school day.)
Equally unusual was the large “1895” copper architectural building topper that exhibitor Michael Whittemore found from a Massachusetts building. It had great form and bright blue patina. Whittemore sold art and Americana, including a white-over-blue painted cast-iron garden table and chairs. Garden season, he says, never really goes out of season in Texas.
Garden style also reigned in the book-signing booth for Sue Whitney’s latest volume, She Sheds (Taunton Press, 2018). Whitney invited shoppers to step into a mock, full-size she shed decorated for the holidays. The look was relaxed, at once organic and elegant. The she shed sample featured crystal chandeliers, galvanized metal, old window frames and a large primitive table with English Windsor chairs, barn wood placemats, ironstone, pots of Rosemary and vintage flatware.
As first-time special events, Marburger stepped up with a “Tailgate Tuesday” breakfast for early birds and “Whiskey Wednesday,” a music and libation event that raised funds for Dwell with Dignity and The Brookwood Community. Event sponsors were Jeff Littrell Antiques, Laurier Blanc, Distinguished Transport, Milieu Magazine and Dapper Deer Co.
Tailgate Tuesday was cool and foggy, with complimentary breakfast and a peek into some of the historic buildings on the site, each packed with dealers and early shopping. By Whiskey Wednesday, the Texas heat had returned, but the Black Cat Band held forth from the Marburger Blacksmith Shop and shoppers and dealers contributed funds by the drink for the two charities. “We want to say a huge thank you for the generosity of our shoppers, dealers, porters, staff, families and our entire Marburger community. Dwell with Dignity and the Brookwood Community have captured our hearts completely,” said Tara Suel, Marburger’s digital communications officer. For more information, see dwellwithdignity.org and brookwoodcommunity.org
Stepping out of the norm and back into the past is a twice-yearly Marburger tradition. The spring version of the show comes with bluebonnets, breezes and baby calves. Plan for your visit to the next Marburger FarmAntique Show, Tuesday, April 2 through Saturday, April 6, 2019. One admission is good all week. Parking is always free. Advance tickets and group tickets are available.
See information on special events, travel, maps, vendors, lodging, on-site shipping and the Marburger Cafe at www.roundtop-marburger.com or call Ashley Ferguson at 800-947-5799. Follow show news on Facebook, Instagram, @marburgerfarm and the show blog at www.roundtop-marburger.com/blog.