Published: October 18, 2011
The waters had receded, leaving in their wake one of the largest natural disasters to have hit south central Vermont in memory. Tropical Storm Irene left her mark on the area, severely impacting homes, families and the local economy, also destroying many local roads, bridges, highways, and waterways. The devastation and impact on daily life throughout the region was at a level that few Vermonters have ever experienced
Yet this is Vermont, home to a down-to-earth sort of folk †and as the skies cleared in the days following the storm, the rumble of tractors and upbeat voices were virtually all that was heard. When news spread throughout the antiques community that the Weston Playhouse, home to the upcoming Weston Antiques Show, had been flooded in the storm, it came with little surprise that an announcement was also made that the show would go on as scheduled.
The playhouse sits right next to a normally rapidly flowing tributary, with a bucolic waterfall a mere hundred yards to the north. Things were anything but normal over Labor Day Weekend, when waters were said to have risen to the point that the waterfall was obscured. As the waters continued to rise, the lower level of the playhouse was submerged and strong currents knocked windows out of their frames and filled the building with five feet of water.
A mere month after the devastation, the 53rd annual Weston Antiques Show opened for preview on Thursday evening, September 29. In no small part, thanks to a Herculean effort by the show committee, Weston Playhouse members and a slew of volunteers and neighbors that seemingly left their own recovery projects at home in standby mode to get community events back on their feet.
“We had more than five feet of water in this part of the building,” stated show co-chairman Bob Brandt, as he pointed to a mark on a column that bore Irene’s name. “It is a lot like Oz down here, while the dealer’s exhibits look wonderful †just don’t look behind the curtains,” he said. Despite his pleas, a quick look behind the papered backdrops of booths in the lower display area revealed studded walls bared of their sheetrock coverings, and floors and stairwells had been stripped of their ornate carpeting. Brandt commented that between 50 to 60 volunteers spent a week restoring the building, then it was time for professional cleaners to come in and finish the job. “Weston is the sort of place where people step forward, and we were able to get this done with our network of volunteers and people associated with the playhouse,” said Brandt.
That same network of supporters were back at the playhouse to preview the Weston Antiques Show on Thursday night and throughout the weekend †once again supporting and helping to make the show a success. Weston, which continued on Friday and Saturday, kicks off Vermont Antiques Week †a network of five shows spanning four days.
The show’s entrance was a busy spot with a lot of quality merchandise virtually within reach. Robert Perry greeted shoppers on their immediate right as they entered the show with a selection of Americana that included a nice Sheraton four drawer chest in old white paint, above it hung a folky portrait of George Washington. A small Prior school portrait of a gentleman was offered, as was a Noah’s Ark and an early paint decorated barber pole.
To the left side of the show’s entrance, Fiske and Freeman, Ipswich, Mass., occupied an area of the foyer with a large English court cupboard with carved decoration topped by a large pair of blue and white covered porcelain jars.
White and White, Skaneateles, N.Y., offered a nice mixture of art and period furnishings, including a snake-leg candlestand, side chair and four-drawer chest, all from the Chippendale period. A homestead scene by Grandma Moses was among a diversified selection of art that ranged from early oils to samplers.
New to the show this year was Boston Rare Maps, Southampton, Mass., also displaying in the main foyer. Highlights from the stand included a large framed lithograph of a locomotive titled “Passenger Engine, Boston Locomotive Works,” and a rare framed puzzle depicting the paddle-wheeler City of Worcester .
A pair of large flying mallards was forefront at Sylvia Antiques, Nantucket, Mass. The dealer stated that the pair was carved by Phillipe Sirois of Bath, Maine. While the carver may be best known for his bas relief fish carvings, the pair of waterfowl carvings was stunning. Also displayed was a silk needlework and raised work embroidery depicting the mythological Roman lovers “Pyramus and Thisbe,” circa 1680.
Perhaps best known for its selection of quality smalls, Stephen-Douglas Antiques, Rockingham, Vt., offered a diminutive step back cupboard of pleasing proportions that was chock full of treasures ranging from mocha pepper pots to treenware mugs.
Maine dealer Robert Foley offered an eclectic mix of merchandise that ranged from a nice classical Sheraton drop leaf table to a pair of Asian armchairs. Two hanging wall boxes were attracting attention, a spice box and an unusual double-tiered candle box. Scratching a funny bone, a lawn-sign with decent age announced the presence of a “vicious dog.”
For additional information, www.westonantiquesshow.com or 802-824-5307.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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