Published: November 22, 2022
Review & Onsite Photos By Rick Russack
NEEDHAM, MASS. – It was the perfect day for an antique show: cool, cloudy and raining on and off. That translates to a good crowd. Goosefare Promotion’s Needham show benefits the Beth Shalom Garden Club and normally takes place at the high school in Needham, but this year had to be moved to an elementary school and, as result, it was smaller than in past years.
Sue Kaplan oversees the antiques show for the garden club of Needham’s Temple Beth Shalom, which has just under 100 members. The show has been the principal fundraiser for the garden club for the past 25 years and provides the funding for the annual community-wide arts program, “Art in Bloom.” For that event, garden club members are paired with artwork by talented Needham High School art students for floral interpretation. It takes place at the Needham Public Library and draws as many as 3,000 visitors.
At the antiques show, members of the club donate items for raffles. The items include numerous gift baskets, floral bouquets and certificates for services from local businesses. There are also appraisals, for a small fee, provided by Mike Coyle, of Coyle’s Auction Gallery in Medford, Mass.
John and Liz DeSimone of Goosefare Promotions have been running the show for the garden club for several years. They commented before the show that they select exhibitors who they know will bring merchandise suited to the interests of the community. John said, “We have a pretty good idea of what will sell here, so those are dealers we invite. You’ll see that we don’t have many large pieces of furniture, but we do have an assortment of exhibitors selling porcelain, jewelry and attractive, antique, decorative accessories.”
They also have an Oriental rug dealer. Vasquez Oriental Rugs, Peekskill, N.Y., had hundreds of rugs, utilizing almost the entire school cafeteria. Jorge Vasquez has been doing the show for eight or 10 years and does well, offering a variety of sizes in a range of prices.
The largest selection of porcelains was offered by Dark Flowers Antiques, Haverhill, Mass., specializing in late Nineteenth Century ceramics and particularly, fine hand-painted porcelains. David Weidner and his partner Jared Cilley have been collecting and selling these porcelains for more than 20 years. “When we ran out of space in our home, we had to start selling. We don’t have an open shop, but we sell online through Ruby Lane. That has been good for us. And we do just a few shows a year – mostly those run by Liz and John [DeSimone].”
Weidner took some time to discuss their hand-painted porcelains. “Most of what we’re looking at was done in the early years of the Twentieth Century, by women who collectively came to be referred to as ‘china painters.’ They decorated fine porcelain that was made in Europe, by companies such as Lenox. The vases, platters and other pieces were undecorated when imported. The largest concentration of china painters seems to have been in the Midwest. Designs were often taken from specialist magazines, such as Keramic Studio, a monthly magazine published in Syracuse, N.Y., from 1899 to 1919, devoted to the ceramic arts.”
One of the founders of the publication was Adelaide Alsop Robineau, considered one of the finest women ceramicists at the turn of the century. The Everson Museum in Syracuse has a large collection of her work, including her masterpiece, known as the “Scarab vase” which reportedly took more than 1,000 hours to make. In 2000, Art & Antiques magazine named it the most important piece of American ceramics of the last 100 years.
Weidner continued, “It’s really a lost art. You can see how many colors have been used on some of these pieces and each color had to be separately fired. China painting pretty much came to an end in the 1930s. The wars drew men to the battlefields and women replaced them in shops and factories. We think their work is beautiful and many pieces bear the signatures of the artists who painted them.”
When we asked about what their customers buy today, Weidner said, “Some people collect pieces with certain patterns like grapes or irises. Some simply buy the pieces that appeal to them. A lot of people love the stuff.”
Jewelry was offered by several dealers, one of whom had devised a creative way to display hers. Sue Hartman, Hartman House Antiques, Bridgewater, Mass., used a store display piece, a black bust of a woman on a floor stand, and attached much of her selection to it. “It took me hours to get everything attached,” Hartman said. It was a very effective display and her pieces ranged in price from $2 to $35.
Adjacent to the town of Needham is Dedham, home at one time to Dedham Pottery. Jim Kaufman, past-president of the Dedham Historical Society, has been a collector of Dedham Pottery and its forerunner, the Chelsea Keramic Art Works, for decades and is a well-known scholar and dealer in that field. He set up a booth at the show with nothing but Dedham Pottery. It included plates of various sizes, pitchers and teapots. One of the factors in establishing the value of a piece of Dedham Pottery is the pattern of its decoration. Some patterns were produced over extended periods, like the rabbit pattern pieces, while other patterns, like the quail pattern, were produced for only a short time. Kaufman had a 9-inch rabbit bowl for $270. The relative differences in value can be seen in three 8Ã½-inch breakfast plates; a crab pattern example was $375, a grape pattern example was $165, but the rarest piece he had was a quail pattern plate which was priced $850 in spite of condition issues. Kaufman said, “It’s a very rare pattern and I don’t mind the condition. It honestly shows its age and use – that’s ok with me.”
Several dealers offered inexpensive holiday items. New England Seasons, Rehoboth, Mass., had a selection of vintage Tasha Tudor note cards priced at $10 each. They also had two Steiff dogs, one priced $129 and a smaller one priced at $89. Sue Hartman, who had the creative display of jewelry, brought a large circa 1929 Steiff horse on rockers, which she priced $595.
After the show, John DeSimone remarked, “It went well once it opened but the mix-up with the school department the day before slowed us down. The crowd was good; we sold stuff, and several dealers told me they had done well. I think we’ll be back in the high school next year with additional exhibitors.”
Goosefare’s next show will be the Greater Boston Antiques Show & Sale, December 3-4 at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, Mass.
For information, 800-641-6908 or www.goosefareantiques.com.
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