OLD GREENWICH, CONN. — It was almost as if the glittering assortment of glass was alive and breathing as bright morning light filtered through the upper wall of windows inside the Greenwich Civic Center. The Westchester Glass Club was assembled for its 37th annual collectors glass show and sale April 27 and 28, and it was a beauty to behold.
Everything from early blown, mold blow and pressed glass to flamboyant studio art glass, brilliant cut, Depression era, engraved, early bottles and European art glass was on display and available for purchase, and collectors were in for a further treat this year.
The show, a must for devotees of high-quality glass, was expanded for the first time to include ceramics. Not an illogical move, for as the show managers pointed out, glass and ceramics share the same DNA of earthen material. Many dealers who have participated in the past as solely exhibitors of glass were pleased to be able to bring their inventory of stoneware, redware, art pottery, mochaware, Staffordshire, porcelain and transferware. And some new dealers to the show were added as well. In all, about 60 dealers were set up here, and although results were today’s usual mixed bag, many exhibitors reported good sales and keen interest on the part of show attendees.
An additional facet of this show is its mission to educate new collectors. This was accomplished in several ways, from informal signage posted around the entrance to the Civic Center conveying Glass & Ceramics 101-type information to those waiting for the doors to open to topical lectures by experts in the field free to all attending the show. This year, authors and researchers Brandt and Mark Zipp from Crocker Farm Auctions gave a talk, “Manhattan Stoneware 1795–1820,” on Saturday. Exhibits by glass and ceramic authors, book signings and several educational displays by glass museums, including the New Bedford Museum of Glass and the Museum of Connecticut Glass, were helping to get the word out.
And, of course, the dealers themselves never tire of talking about what drives their particular passion. Case in point is Scott Roland of GlimmerGlass, Schenevus, N.Y., whose highlight at this year’s show was a 13-year-old young man, who was associated with the Museum of Connecticut Glass. “He brought his ID books in and sorted through a couple of stacks of miscellaneous 1830s cup plates, identifying and choosing some pieces to buy to bolster his growing collection,” reported the dealer. “Several of us dealers advised him to document his collection with a detailed inventory, including his research notes. It will assist him when he writes his first book.”
Roland said he experienced a better than expected show. “A broad range of Victorian colored art glass sold from my booth. I sold opalescent, vaseline, art glass, pitchers, tumblers, cruets, pickle castors, lots of salt shakers and EAPG figural glassware,” he said.
Peter Boehm, owner of Dualities, an antiques and art consignment shop in Larchmont, N.Y., featured art glass, including Tiffany, Daum and Gallé and midcentury glass. He observed that attendance could have been better, attributing it to the beautiful spring weather outside. “I did, however, sell a beautiful Dominick Labino vase, a Lalique vase, a fine Belgian acid etched Art Deco vase and a silver mounted Austrian secessionist glass vase, among others,” he said. “There was a good deal of interest in our cameo glass, Art Nouveau and midcentury glass. I did hand out a number of cards advertising our large shop in Larchmont, and hopefully will gain new customers.”
Pauline Schlatter, who set up a fetching display of Twentieth Century kitchen and dining items, “mainly ‘50s kitsch and glass sets,” as she described it, said she believed “the show was one of the best we have seen, lots of variety, a great learning experience for all.”
Doing business as Old Friends Antiques, with Kim Watkins, the pair from Fairfield and Norwalk, Conn., respectively, reported positive feedback regarding their booth. “Most customers stated that it evoked positive childhood memories,” said Schlatter. “We sold ‘50s glass sets, as well as refrigerator containers, three McCoy planters, as well as elegant glass and a Baccarat crystal decanter. Customers were surprised by the variety of our booth and yet how harmoniously the items blended together.”
There was an interesting piece of New York Masonic history on view in the booth of Ian Simmonds of Carlisle, Penn. It was an Order of the Eastern Star roundel. Created in the 1850s, according to Simmonds, the order is the leading women’s organization within the Masonic movement. In describing the roundel’s iconography, Simmonds said, “To represent the New York chapter of the order, the design blends the order’s five-pointed star with elements taken from the Great Seal of the State of New York: the figures of Liberty and Justice, the eagle and a garland of tulips. At 18 inches in diameter, the roundel is a large and pristine example of reverse painting and gilding on glass dating to the late Nineteenth Century.”
The roundel was among the most talked about pieces in Simmonds booth, but it did not sell. Several members of the Eastern Star introduced themselves to the dealer and many others asked about it. Most were surprised to see symbols of the order blended with those of New York state.
“This year’s show was better than the last couple, in terms of sales, purchases and leads,” Simmonds stated. “For example, I sold a Pittsburgh sugar bowl and a unique, double patterned, blown three mold toilet water bottle. I was particularly pleased to make several new contacts, including with a serious collector that I had not known before the show.”
A mainstay at many tri-state shows having an antique and estate jewelry component, it was a pleasant surprise to encounter Anita Taub of New York City, her first time at this show. Instead of jewelry cases, Taub set up a nice display of her collection of glass and ceramics, which included a 1933 Orrefors black bottom vase with an Art Deco harpist etched into its form. The black bottom examples were made by the firm for just five years, according to the dealer, so this numbered piece was of museum quality, she added. Also shown was an early black-on-black large pottery vase by Maria Montoya Martinez (1887–1980) of San Ildefonso Pueblo.
“I was impressed by the quality of the offerings and pleased by the variety of glass and ceramics, as well as the broad range of age of the items,” said Taub afterward. “Shoppers seemed interested in my modern pieces of glass and ceramics, not just the antiques.”
Back after a brief “retirement,” Art and Kathy Green, dealers in early glass and ceramics, augmented their glass offerings with some displays of ceramics, mostly 1750–1830 English examples of peachware and creamware, as well as some salt-glazed English pieces. Other dealers new to the Westchester show were William R. and Teresa F. Kurau, Lampeter, Penn., who brought a line of historical Staffordshire, Anglo-American ceramics and early American glass. One shelf in their booth was given over to their popular Lafayette-themed items, including a set of pitcher, platter and coffee pot and cup plates by Enoch Wood.
The show was ably produced by Al Adams and Jim Russell, with Bruce Mitchell also pitching in and glass show emeritus Doug Reed “enjoying the company of people here.” The show will be back for all to enjoy next year. For information, 203-394-8956, 203-438-1806 or email Adams7562@att.net.