Published: April 16, 2018
Review and Photos by Greg Smith
OLD GREENWICH, CONN. – Since 1976, the Westchester Glass Club Collectors Show and Sale has carved out a dedicated niche as a deep and well-stocked venue for all things glass, sparkling and gleaning in the booths of knowledgeable specialists who each dig further into their own subsections of a genre that dates back to antiquity. The April 6-7 show featured more than 20 dealers who traveled from near and far to match the expectations that buyers have come to expect from the event: a wide array of offerings, rare examples within each category and dealers with scholarship at heart, their knowledge used to illuminate the object by focusing them within the light of their history and origin.
Hoping to capitalize on commuters, the show shifted its dates away from a normally quiet Sunday, opting for a Friday afternoon opening and normal Saturday hours.
Alan Adams, a co-manager of the show, said, “There’s a lot of people who work down here in Stamford, so we wanted to have the show when people are closer. Instead of being stuck in traffic, come here.”
Now in its 42nd year, the event is an annual activity sponsored by the Westchester Glass Club with a singular mission.
“It’s meant to bring people together and promote the hobby,” Adams said. “We opened to ceramics five years ago and allow glass from all eras, as long as its collectible. There’s really something for everyone.”
As the rabbit hole goes, collectors have a tendency to become sellers when enough time and effort is invested in learning about the pieces in their respective collections. This show was no stranger to that circumstance, with many of the dealers recalling their first time attending the show as a member of the public.
“I started as a collector at the show,” said Jim Watson of C&J’s Antiques, Norfolk, Mass. “I transitioned into part-time dealing later on when I retired.”
Watson has been at it ever since, carrying an array of quality Victorian and Mount Washington art glass, as well as an expansive inventory that covered a wide range of pieces such as Steuben, Tiffany, Libbey, Pairpoint, Bohemian makers and Sandwich glass. Of note in the dealer’s booth was a Mount Washington ruffled-edge bride’s basket in satin glass with mother-of-pearl dÃ©cor, hand painted enameling and original Tuft’s three-putti base.
Also well-known to the show as a buyer, but marking his debut there as a dealer, was Rick Ciralli Antique & Historical Bottles, Bristol, Conn., who brought an assortment of early American freeblown tableware, including oil lamps, salts, pitchers and decanters. He pointed out a set of four molded decanters likely made in Mount Vernon, N.Y., all embossed with the names of their intended libations and scarce, original stoppers.
A selection of mercury glass was on display in the booth of Diane C. Lytwyn, Southport, Conn. The dealer featured more than 25 examples with a variety of different decoration techniques, and mostly from Bohemia, with two pieces from England. Among the two English examples was a notable silvered glass varnish cobalt cut to silver vase, which stood out as the only blue example in the lot. The others from Bohemia were mostly silver with hand painted enamel decorations and floral, granular etching.
“Because they didn’t use a hard flint glass,” Lytwyn said, “they used enameling and etching instead to decorate them.”
While dealer Philip Cortina of Bridgeport, Conn., had plenty of rare glass examples, a majolica cat was the standout in his booth. Sitting on two books in a cobalt and brown glaze, the earthenware feline was made by Mark V. Marshall, an English potter who worked briefly at Martin Brothers and had a successful tenure at Royal Doulton. A similar example sold at an English auction house in February, 2017, for $19,605 above a $3,648 high estimate. The examples are apparently unrecorded.
American pottery was on show in the booth of Tony Stringfellow, who drove out from Sullivan, Ind. The dealer featured a number of Indiana stoneware examples, a genre he has been involved in researching for quite some time while amassing a collection with his brother that numbers close to 2,000 examples. The four pieces on display were all made at the pottery of Upton Stuckey, an early Nineteenth Century potter from Loogootee, Ind. The pottery actually predates the establishment of the town. One of the examples Stringfellow exhibited was a firing saggar, a piece of kiln furniture in crock form with large holes through it that would prevent multiple pieces from becoming stuck to one another. The saggar was plain, but had a number of different incidental glaze drips down its sides from its career in the kiln. The glaze drips matched the cobalt decoration on the other examples he had, which included a squat jug, a pitcher and a flared edge vase.
Father and son duo Kirk and Ross Nelson from the New Bedford Museum of Glass, New Bedford, Mass., were on hand to sell examples to benefit their cause. Kirk, who serves as the museum’s executive director, was excited to be selling a very scarce Pairpoint vase in a Holland pattern. “I know of a few examples, but I’ve never seen one for sale,” Kirk said, as he pulled out the patent documentation from his files, “It was patented by Albert Steffin for the company in 1908, he was the foreman of the decorating shop. It was called a Holland pattern because of the tulip motif.”
The museum is an exhaustive resource on New Bedford glass, which includes works from the Mount Washington Glass Works and the Pairpoint Glass Company, but it also is in the midst of amassing a collection of crystal and glass animals that number in the 3-4,000 range. Presented as an exhibition at the museum, that collection has traveled to other venues and will do so again in the future.
Contemporary glass was on show in the booth of Lotton Art Glass, Crete, Ill., which was manned by the progenitor Charles Lotton and his grandson, Robert Lotton. There are six members of Lotton Art Glass, with five of them sharing a last name, making it largely a family affair. When asked about the differences in style between each member of the family, Charles was quick to point out the high-detail in one of Robert’s bowls, which was from a series of works featuring Triple Heart blossoms with raised decoration. With arresting colors on a wide range of forms, including bowls, vases, paperweights and lamps, the firm has found success at the show and continues to exhibit every year.
The show plans to be back in the same venue and time frame next year. For more information, www.westchesterglassclub.com or 203-394-8956.
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