From Saipan to Wellesley: Meet May’s Gallery

Too much of the recent Wellesley business news has been about shops closing down, so we thought it would be good to take a look at a new business in town: May’s Gallery in Linden Square.

May's Gallery, Linden Square, Wellesley MA

May’s Gallery specializes in Chinese art: porcelain pieces from Jinghezden and embroideries from Suzhou. The porcelain pieces range in price from about $25 for a small handmade bud vase to thousands of dollars for large hand-painted vases and columns. The embroideries, which at first glance look like paintings, tend to run in the low thousands of dollars. Jinghezden porcelain, once much in demand by Imperial Chinese rulers, can be seen on display in many museums in the Boston area and beyond.

How does this porcelain and embroidery get from there to here? The wife and husband team of May (seen above) and Kevin Lynch takes care of that, handling the logistics and traveling to China to select pieces, many produced in small quantities.

Kevin grew up in Weston and worked at the old Diehl’s hardware store  not far from where May’s Gallery now stands. He met May, a translator/interpreter from the Jinghezden area of China,  while he was working as a prosecutor on the tropical island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana islands. May’s family is in the porcelain manufacturing and distribution business, and the Lynches wound up opening their first shop in Saipan, but decided to head to the United States when Saipan’s economy faltered.

Of course, the economy’s not exactly booming here either, but Kevin says he thinks the time and place is good for May’s.

“Among the most important [reasons for starting the business here is that] Wellesley attracts purchasers who understand and
appreciate quality, and who enjoy having high-quality items in their homes and offices,” says Kevin. “The area also has many people who have traveled to China  and seen the arts there, or who have an appreciation of Chinese art and visit the collections at area museums. Many of these people would like to own pieces of Chinese art, but quality pieces have not been available for purchase domestically and the difficulty of bringing delicate pieces back from Asia makes it prohibitive. Now, some of the best currently-produced porcelain and silk embroidery is available in this country at May’s.”

Kevin says that many of May’s pieces are not necessarily identifiable as Chinese art, so might appeal to those who aren’t looking for Chinese themes. “This means that the pieces will harmonize with many styles of décor, from the Colonial ‘China Trade’ period through contemporary styles.”

May and Kevin are optimistic that the economy will slowly start to improve this year, and Kevin’s hope is that people in the area will be looking to redecorate their homes rather than move.   It might be a stretch for a business tie-in with May’s immediate neighbors — Jos. A. Bank and Unleashed by Petco —   though nearby antique/reproduction furniture dealer Leonards might be a fit. Kevin says he and May are also open to working with other businesses in town to cross-promote merchandise.

RELATED: Linden Square of Wellesley

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