October days in Texas can be really hot and the biggest fear for outdoor shows, even those protected by a tent, is rain. But neither heat nor water came to dampen the fall shows in Round Top, Texas. While there are a number of shows going on simultaneously, we had time to visit only the Red Barn and Marburger shows.
It was the last day of more than a week of shows and the line of traffic stretched between them like the day after Thanksgiving can stretch between Toys ‘R’ Us and Wal-Mart. Later when we left Red Barn to travel to Marburger we were able to use the smart phone to find a dirt road around the traffic. One dealer who had spent the better part of an hour waiting was undoubtedly none-to-happy to hear about our ten minute dusty detour.
It was our first time at Red Barn and from the onset it was clear the show leans to the high-end and Americana. We were immediately approached in the parking lot by someone wanting to sell us re-entry tickets-the show wasn’t their thing. I declined, for several reasons, among them I could hardly ask to set a stack of show cards on the table for the Holiday Antique Show in Williamsburg, Virginia.
A number of familiar faces were at the show including Woody Straub, the paintings dealer from Florida who also brought a nice variety of furniture to this show. Something I have not previously seen at shows, although I haven’t been to many that focus largely in Americana, were two booths featuring paneling from early New England homes. Some interesting smalls at the show included oil cans and bakelite dice. Paintings by Walter Baum and Alexander Wyant also peaked our interest.
The Margburger Farm show contains a wider array of items spanning several continents and centuries. Jan Orr-Harter was there with her contemporary pieces—and also promoting the 48th Annual Dolly Johnson show in Fort Worth. Sebasky and Hildreth brought an enticing still life with grapes by an Oklahoma artist and a booth of working Victrolas and Edison Players was hard to pass by.
Empire furniture at these shows is all too rare these days, but a booth in the Continental tent provided a fine selection including a marble top table from Boston, classical English side chairs, a Herter Brothers mantle piece and a mahogany dining table with a servant’s call button at the head.
If you’ve never been to Round Top, take some time to make it. There are enough shows to fill the better part of a week—and contrary to what you might think, there were plenty of items left to buy on the last day of the show. The next show begins March 29th.