Review and photos by Rick Russack
WELLS, MAINE – On June 26, Goosefare Promotions held its annual Antiques Show on the grounds of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm with over 75 exhibitors. It’s a great show with various wares in a beautiful setting and the weather was perfect. Dealers and participants are eagerly awaiting this one.
What were you able to find? The offerings lasted over 350 years. Brian Cullity had a Westerwald pitcher circa 1700, and John Prunier had a good piece of Marlis Schratter workshop pottery from the 1950s or 1960s. There may very well have been other items, earlier or later. Whatever time period would have been interesting, there would have been things to watch. Goosefare does not release attendance figures, but images of the crowds waiting to enter and the over-full parking lot convey the message. Participants started spending money almost immediately, and most dealers said they bought and sold well during setup.
Merchants brought a full range of country wares: painted cabinets and antique furniture, red dinnerware, stoneware, quilts, folk art, decoys, Inuit and Native American items, marine artifacts and paintings, antique glass, painted wooden wares, and there was arts and crafts furniture. , English furniture, English and Continental china and more. More than one stall had mid-century jewelry and furniture, and accessories were in multiple stalls. Some merchants deliberately mix eras and styles.
Mario Pollo, Holliston, Massachusetts, is one of the merchants whose booth mixed older and newer items with American and Continental items. He started his career selling traditional American antiques, but a few years ago he realized his market was changing. “I started mixing a variety of furniture, lighting, artwork and accessories from different countries and eras. What I noticed was that the age of my clients has dropped several decades. I had a lot more younger customers than I used to. These people furnish homes and want things that go well together. They’re not as concerned about where the product comes from, even though we discuss it , and they are not as concerned about when it was made. They buy things that go well together. They understand that English, French and Italian furniture can go well with Russian or German paintings and that light fixtures from different eras can be mixed in with their other items. They understand that a picture hanging over an antique table or chest can be 200 years younger and still look great. That’s fine – as long as that they don’t buy Ikea type furniture, it’s good for our enterprise ; they appreciate good design and quality of old stuff.
An example of “decades younger” might have been Cordelia Fasoldt, Beverly, Mass., who had just made a purchase at Bethany Kelly and was examining some of the European furniture in the booth. She plans to open an antique shop in September. It will be a first venture, and she plans to mix older English furniture with mid-century modern accessories and will go well with both. This is how she furnished her house. She grew up in Belgium and her family furnished her house with antiques. Her husband, a lawyer, also grew up with antiques and supports the new business.
Appropriately, the dealers brought a lot of outdoor furniture and garden accessories. There were wire plant stands, chairs and sofas in a number of stalls, as well as cast iron garden accessories. Wenham Cross Antiques, Topsfield, Mass., had a white painted wire bench for $275. Bob Foley, Gray, Maine, had a nine-piece rattan set from the 1950s or 1960s, which would have been sufficient for most porches, and he also had a large wire sofa and two large wire chairs priced at $950.
Several merchants brought antique furniture and accessories. Hilary Nolan, Falmouth, Mass., had a glass cabinet in old blue paint from the 19th century. It was priced at $2,200 and it had a set of six Windsors birdcages in old black paint set around a large trestle table. Sandy Doig, Enfield, Connecticut, had one of Windsor’s first benches priced at $850. Whether or not the green paint was as old as the bench was a good question. Ray and Lin Cushing, Trenton and Rockland, Maine, owned what was perhaps the best grain-painted blanket chest in the field. Derik Polito of Kensington, Connecticut owned two early ramp-back chairs and an exceptional Hudson Valley wrought iron door latch for $550. Early furniture was offered at a number of other stalls; Benting-Jarvis, Barrington, NH, Ian McKelvey, Stonington, Connecticut, and others. Greg Hamilton, Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., brought Arts and Crafts furniture. John Marshall, Florence, Mass., and others donated mid-century furniture and decorative arts. Bethany Kelly and others donated English furniture. There really was furniture for every taste.
You would also have had a wide choice in folk art. There was a beautiful calligraphy design of a horse brought in by Jan Newcomer; Dennis Raleigh and Phyllis Somers had a Clark Voorhess whalebone and an unusual Adirondack-style stove top; Stephen-Douglas Antiques and Jewett-Berdan Antiques each had a selection. Bird in Hand Antiques, specializes in weaves and Grenfell lures and owned some of both. Ravens Way had several lures. Folk watercolor portraits were in several booths, as were folk sea paintings. The list could go on even longer.
Selections of antique glasses were offered by Brian Cullity, Benting-Jarvis and others. A wide selection of hand-painted Bavarian and continental porcelain was offered by Dark Flowers Antiques.
The day after the show, John DeSimone said that everything went well and “everything fell into place. We had the biggest crowd we’ve ever had. Sales started as soon as the buyers arrived in the field and continued to be stable all day. Liz and I were thrilled and tired.
People wondered if live shows had a solid future or if the internet would bankrupt them. From the size of the crowds that have been appearing since the lifting of Covid restrictions, the future of live shows is solid. And show managers are actively looking to grow their business. DeSimone said that starting next year, Goosefare will take over management of the show from Tolland, Conn., and there’s also a possibility of a December show at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, Mass. . Wilmington Annual Show. DeSimone said, “We asked our dealers if they would like a December show in Wilmington. If they do, then we’ll go ahead and do it. It’s up to the dealers to decide.