Published: July 25, 2023
Review and Photos By Z.G. Burnett
SAGAMORE, MASS. — The Cape Cod Antique Dealers Association conducted its second annual Summer Sagamore Antiques Show at the Sagamore Inn, right on the border of Sandwich, Mass., on July 6. Narrowly escaping the downpours that dampened Independence Day on July 4, the show was bathed in sunshine with dealers and customers alike grateful for the tri-pole tent’s shade. The majority of vendors reported strong sales, marking the show’s return to the Sagamore Inn as a success.
Due to the show’s Cape location, dealers tend to focus on nautical or beach-related objects but supplement these with Americana, folk art and other goods. Patricia “Trish” Ferrara of Ten-Mile Antiques, Attleboro, Mass., brought an array of precious smalls and jewelry in glass-topped cases, as well as some larger antique pieces. The standout piece was a three-quarter length, tabletop-sized oil on board portrait of an unidentified Union Army lieutenant colonel. Ferrara explained that it came from a house in Massachusetts, but had no other information about the subject’s identity. The image is intriguing for a few reasons; although painted portraits were the norm for those who could afford it up to this time, early photography was rapidly taking hold and a less expensive alternative for representation. Modern viewers are accustomed to seeing the proliferation of Civil War soldiers’ images that have come down to us in this way, but the ironic advantage of this portrait is that we can see this anonymous man in “living” color. At press time, he was still available for purchase.
Alan Herman of Whaling Days Antiques, New Bedford, Mass., brought a selection of scrimshaw, inlaid treasures and a few bold vintage signs from and around the Cape. Herman mentioned that these are always popular, and indeed he sold a few large and small signs. These included a hand-painted ice cream sign with a listing of “special flavors” that once hung in Yarmouth, Mass., a wall-sized sign from Rhode Island advertising fried clams, hamburgers and ice cream, and a couple of smaller signs. This came as no surprise, as the graphic advertisements were perfect for the season and gave one a hankering for frosty treats.
Occupying the center of the tent was Dolores Gilbert of Brewster, Mass., who decorated the main tentpole with paper flowers as a centerpiece to her surrounding tables of antique and vintage fashion accessories, home goods and dolls. One such table was dominated by an oversized duck decoy from the 1940s-60s in apparently original paint that sold during the show, “too fast!” Gilbert believed that it could have been a confidence decoy; it may also have been a showpiece for a decoy carver. Either way, it had “a great look” and was reasonably priced at $295. Gilbert reported that sales exceeded her expectations, and her booth was “wiped out.”
Kay Linkkila, Orleans, Mass., “had a very good show in spite of the heat!” Among her garden and cement pieces sat an antique aqua glass demijohn wrapped in a protective wicker covering, with a warning on its tag to not lift it up by the fragile handle. There are different opinions in the early glass community about removing these outer coverings; although it disassembles a past artisan’s intricate weavings, the wicker also conceals details that could help determine the bottle’s age. This covering was clean despite its handle, and probably later than the bottle. Linkkila reported sales including several outdoor objects, a basket, a pantry box and a sheep painting.
Henry T. Callan of East Sandwich, Mass., brought a fine selection of ceramics, Staffordshire figures, export and Canton ware, among other treasures. One octagonal plate stood out, and not just because it was displayed on a central stand. Showing a dappled palette of brown, green and cream, the circa 1750 Whieldon refined earthenware plate was in excellent condition for its age. Known as “clouded” and “tortoiseshell” refined earthenware, this effect is produced with metal oxides such as iron, copper and manganese being applied to biscuit-fired ceramics. Similar examples were produced by other makers as early as 1740 and remained popular throughout the 1770s in Great Britain.
Before the days of seaside estates and summer homes with personal entertainment centers akin to miniature theaters, beachgoers found creative ways to pass the time with their sandy souvenirs. Paula Deane of Cat’s Meow Antiques, Mashpee, Mass., brought more than a few such keepsakes. One small but striking piece was a three-dimensional sculpture or collage of seaweed, shells and half a woven gathering basket, mounted in an oval frame. It was fantastically preserved, as these materials usually disintegrate over time. More fragile was an earlier paper box that had been painstakingly decoupaged with print cutouts and all different types of shells. Deane was pleased with the setup of the second show, and was happy to visit other dealers that she had not seen for years.
Laura McCarthy of Bayberry Antiques, Rockland, Mass., created a popup Americana gallery in her booth with fine art, folk art and country antiques. The centerpiece was a Nineteenth Century portrait of a baby or young child in a formal white cotton gown, detailed with pointelle embroidery that was echoed by the paint’s texture. The painting was unsigned but attributed to itinerant artist Joseph Goodhue Chandler (1813-1884), and McCarthy dated it to 1840-50. Chandler’s earliest known portraits date to 1837, and were primarily of his family members. In 1840 Chandler married fellow artist and established still life painter Lucretia Ann Waite (1820-1868), who would sometimes “finish up” Chandler’s portraits. Another prominent offering was an 1804 sampler in excellent condition by Martha Bunnell of Litchfield, Conn. McCarthy noted that Bunnell lived from 1792 to 1867, and never married.
Later antiques and pastimes were also available. Gary Jennings of Rehoboth, Mass., brought antique books, baseball and other collectible cards, postcards and a collection of early photographs. Neatly organized by location and subject were Magic Lantern slides in a drawer, which were going fast. These were mostly dated circa 1880 and would have been viewed with a carbon arc viewer, which produced a high-intensity white light for better image projection but were highly prone to combustion. With these slides, viewers could expand their horizons from a model pepper farm in New Jersey all the way to the Philippines.
The Sagamore Inn is at 1131 Sandwich Road. The Cape Cod Antique Dealers Association Summer Antique Show in Orleans, Mass., will be on August 5. For more information, www.ccada.com.
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