Tuesday, March 2, 2010

King George Comes to Cowtown!

“Our container shipped from England today. It will be here just in time for the Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show.

Tammy Strop of The Cheeky Mare Antiques in Hutto, TX will arrive at the Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show by way of England and France, a detour that defines the antiques she will unpack in Fort Worth. “I went over there looking for Georgian furniture and smalls and I found them,” says Tammy.

New to antiques? Well, Georgian antiques relate to the reign of George III in England, but cover more than his life-span, say from about 1714 to even as late as 1837. He may have lost the American colonies, but his furniture won the respect of his former subjects. The lines are straight, the woods are dark and the feel is formal. In Tammy’s booth, however, formal feels pretty darn friendly.

What did she find? “A wonderful Georgian drop-leaf oak table, about 1720 or 30, also cabinets, good Georgian chests.” She also bagged smalls such as inkwells and Black Forest (dark carved wood) pieces, including a watch holder, and 18th c. carved and signed large Black Forest tray, carved bear items, always, always, always looking for the most unusual pieces.

The trip involves discoveries of antiques at the huge Newark Antique Fair in eastern England, but many items are offered to Tammy by phone or internet even before she leaves Texas. A notebook bears the list of color coded antiques that she plans to buy, well in advance (see photo below). Already in the notebook? Two Chesterfield wingback leather chairs, ironstone, a train station bench, Wedgwood, Imari, art and furniture ranging from a 1710 Georgian chest of drawers to a green beaded-board barn box and pine harvest tables. “I also take a list of things that customers want me to find,” says Tammy. This is dealer who plans ahead.

In fact Tammy puts her planning skills to use by organizing groups to travel and shop for antiques in England and France. “We had eight people on this tour,” she reports. “We keep our groups small and personalized. We try to make sure that they are looking for different things. And we were lucky to stay about a day ahead of each winter storm.”

One member of the group was Casey Lyford, who was shopping for industrial and painted antiques to open a new shop in McKinney, TX, to be called Patina Green. Suffice it to say that a fair amount of France is coming to McKinney.

In France the group was surprised by good prices. “Prices in England are generally good,” says Tammy, “but prices in Paris were much better than in the past and dealers were really willing to negotiate. I was encouraged.” Tammy was so encouraged that she bought more broadly in France. The extra tall 45 foot container holds early garden antiques and French industrial antiques, both tending to be on the heavy side, so they must be pretty terrific to ship back home.

The shipping is also well-planned. “We have such a good relationship with our shippers and packers,” reflects Tammy. “As we shop, we are armed with walkie-talkies. When we buy something, we tag it and call the packers to come right then. Our items are tagged, wrapped and in the container by that night. Our container shipped from England today. It will be here just in time for the Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show.”

This will be Tammy’s first time to exhibit at the Dolly Johnson Show, part of the premiere effort to broaden the show with antiques and art from many eras and styles. You can see and read the whole story of her winter 2010 buying tour at http://cheekymare.typepad.com

And talk to Tammy if you want more information about the buying trips this spring and fall, which will include the south of France. Future tours will visit Belgium and Germany. Contact Tammy Strop at 512-426-5764 or see her March 12-13 in Fort Worth at the Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show, which will soon be here! Show info and discount coupon at http://www.dollyjohnsonantiqueandartshow.com/

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