Purchase Story

Big Names Emerge from Rural Maine

Charles M. Talbot Associates, Turner, Maine

Visit a Charles M. Talbot Associates auction, and you might feel as if you’ve stumbled into some kind of time warp. The old Talbot homestead is nestled in the foothills of Turner, Maine, overlooking a beautiful vista of the White Mountains. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Washington. The house itself was built in 1785. Cows moo contentedly in the fields. And one more thing: there’s no buyer’s premium here. That alone is a throwback to simpler times, when if you bid $50 for something, you paid $50 for it. To the best of my knowledge, Talbot is the only major auctioneering company in Maine, perhaps one of the few in the entire country, that clings to the zero premium format. When auctioneer Dale Talbot made that announcement at the August 20 sale, it was met with a hearty round of applause, cheers, and whistles. The Talbots usually own what they sell, enabling them to do as they please with the buyer’s premium. This time, according to Jim Talbot, they owned only about half of the lots.

The Gagliano family of violin makers of Naples, Italy, goes back to Alessandro Gagliano, who made instruments in the early 18th century and worked with famous luthiers Nicolo Amati and Antonio Stradivari. As many as 17 other descendants were violin makers, including grandson Fernando Gagliano (flourishing 1770-95), a prodigious producer who made the violin that was offered at the Talbot auction. The bridge was a late replacement, and I didn’t notice a label, but it was a major score for someone at $3000.

Eighteenth-century violin by the Neapolitan maker Fernando Gagliano, $3000.

The name of John Waldo Nash, who signed his work as “Nash of Maine,” is synonymous with the form of taxidermy that he patented, in which the skin of a half body of a fish is mounted on a convex plaque. In 1903 Nash patented the method, which he called “Fish Mezzo-Rilievo.” In his heyday, Nash employed four assistants in his Norway, Maine, workshop, and at least eight agents sold his works. At the Talbot auction a large, signed trout mount by Nash was reeled in for $400.

An obscure piece of fashion history, apparently two degrees removed from John Quincy Adams, came in the form of a frame formed of a piece of a wedding dress worn by Mary Beck when she married Nathaniel Carter, who once dined with future president John Quincy Adams, as mentioned in a 1787 diary of Adams. Carter was a landowner in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and the town’s first treasurer. Mary and Nathaniel were married in Newburyport in 1742, and supposedly the dress resides in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A few pages of documentation came with the lot. The dress fragment frame brought $375.

This frame made from a fragment of the dress worn by Mary Beck at her wedding to Nathaniel Carter in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1742 sold for $375.

For more information call (207) 225-3797 or go to (www.ctaauctions.com).

This Civil War officer’s sword by Shreve, Stanwood & Company of Boston was presented to Captain Frank W. Reynolds of the 44th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers. Here it was presented to a buyer for $4000. Talbot photos.

This Confederate ivory-handled bowie knife with a clipped tip, an iron D-form hand guard, and a hand-stitched leather sheath started and stopped on a left bid of $2900.

A collection of 44 photographs of Civil War officers brought $3600. Shown here are images identified in script of “Lieut. Colonel Ed. C. Cabot,” “Major Chas. M. Dabney,” and Lieut. Edward C. Johnson.”

Vermont artist Horace Brown (1876-1949) was a student of Willard Metcalf, whose influence can be seen in this simple Impressionist landscape of a brown farm field with purple hills in the background. It sold for $225. Talbot photo.

Fannie Nampeyo (1900-1987) carried on the tradition of her mother, Nampeyo of Hano, considered one of the doyennes of modern Hopi pottery. Fannie and her mother were, in turn, the ceremonial matriarch of the Hopi-Tewa Corn Clan of the First Mesa Reservation. This medium-size pottery vase with Fannie’s signature made $700.

Bernard Karfiol (1886-1952) was born in Budapest, Hungary, but grew up in New York City. When he was 14 he studied at the National Academy of Design, and later he went to Academie Julian in France. This approximately 26" x 16" mixed-media painting, once titled Mother’s Love, fetched $122 at Clars Auction Gallery in March of 2015. This time around, it brought $500.

Jess Blackstone (1909-1988) was among New England’s premier bird carvers. His sculptures are meticulously detailed and accurate representations of his avian subjects. Five Blackstone works were offered (three shown), each identified on the bottom, numbered, and marked with Blackstone’s monogram. The pine bases, painted to resemble slate, are a near signature for Blackstone’s work. The scarlet tanager brought $700, the goldfinch took in $900, and the evening grosbeak, with a slight chip on the beak, flew off for $300.

Contemporary painter Joseph Raffael (b. 1933) interprets nature, particularly aquatic life, with highly colorful and detailed, often closeup, vision, such as in this approximately 30" x 38" watercolor portrayal of a koi pond. It sold for $1600.

John Waldo Nash, a.k.a. “Nash of Maine,” signed this mounted trout that sold for $400. In 1903 Nash patented his taxidermy method, which he called “Fish Mezzo-Rilievo.”

These two stoneware jugs share a bit of Portland, Maine, history. Around 1900, Charles Simmons and Jonas Hammond were druggists and manufacturers of ice cream, confections, and, obviously, root beer syrup. Their jug (left) sold for $125. At about the same time, Kendall & Whitney of Portland, Maine (curiously misspelled on the jug as Kendal & Whitney), were distributors of agricultural supplies and implements. Their jug with the cobalt blue flower brought $150.





The prevailing sentiment on this cherry tall-case clock with a three-turret full-column tombstone arch bonnet and several attractive marquetry inlays on the waist and base was that the brass works are English, and the case is American, probably from Pennsylvania. A Maine dealer wound up with it for $2500.

Cased photographs by Mathew Brady, two mirror images of Caroline Reynolds Ward, $600.

Herbie Welch of Haines Landing (Rangeley), Maine, was an early 20th-century outdoor Renaissance man, skilled at fly-fishing, guiding, painting, sculpture, and taxidermy. In his career, he created numerous fly-fishing streamers, most notably the popular “Black Ghost,” and hosted the likes of Ted Williams and Herbert Hoover. This signed Welch trophy trout mount drew in $800.

Sculptor David Lemon (b. 1945) creates sculptures that reflect his Western pioneer heritage. His ancestors were among the first settlers of Utah in 1848, and he currently resides in Montana. His bronze statue titled Parting Shot brought $1200. According to the auctioneers, Lemon e-mailed them explaining that he had an order to cast four of them for a client and subsequently was to produce 26 more, but the mold was destroyed after making this example.

This miniature pocket sextant labeled “‘SINBAD’ LINCOLNS NAVY, 1862” caused a minor bidding stir as a phone bidder chased it but ultimately lost it to the floor at $800.

Originally published in the November 2019 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2019 Maine Antique Digest

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