Published: July 3, 2001
The Wilton Outdoor Antiques Marketplace
By Genevieve Ward
WILTON, CONN. – The Wilton Outdoor Antiques Marketplace opened on Saturday, June 23, at “The Meadows” at Wilton High School. A gigantic white tent sheltered 82 of the 189 dealers, while the rest were lined up around the perimeter in smaller series of tents or in individual tents.
This summer show benefits the Wilton Kiwanis Club and Wilton Family Y, dealers appreciated the help of volunteers from those organizations.
Although heavy rain and storms were expected on Saturday, a fast-and-furious downpour was the worst it got over the two-day stretch. Fans, as well as the after-rain calm, kept the tents (and dealers) cool.
At 3,500, attendance was down from previous years, something management attributed to the rain. Although the rain didn’t come as badly as predicted, it kept some otherwise loyal New Yorkers away from the show. Reports of torrential rain in New York, Westchester County, Greenwich, and Stamford warded off traffic for much of Saturday afternoon.
Despite this, however, many dealers welcomed regular clients and met new ones, selling furniture, textiles, fine art, and jewelry, as well as a large number of quality smalls. Sales weren’t the only pleasure; dealers also reported that it was a “really fun show.” Show manager Marilyn Gould recalled, “It was the best-looking show ever,” and she was “very pleased with what the dealers brought.”
New dealers included Guy Bush, Laura Fisher, David Brooker, Tracy Goodnow, Mark Wittus, Mimi Gunn, Gold Goat Antiques, Jackie Radwin, Gemini Antiques, Margaret Johnson Sutor, Mad Parade, Odd Fellows Antiques, Josh Lowenfels, and Stephen Score (returning after a two-year absence).
Gould said that she tried to “bring in a group of newer, younger dealers.” The group brought more depth to the show, she observed. Most of the established dealers also participate in Gould’s other three Wilton shows, indoors in September, December, and March.
According to Gould, this show aims to include every kind of antique specialty, from Asian furniture to textiles to folk art, jewelry, books, kitchen antiques, fine art, and garden furniture. All this, in addition to some wonderful American and European furniture dealers, creates a show that could only be matched by attending several smaller shows throughout the year.
Noticeably new this year was the big-top tent, with about ten peaks pointing to the sky. Visible from Route 7, the tent was definitely an attention-getter, although an expensive one at that. Having to contract with a new tent company meant an increase in the price of tent rental, which subsequently affected dealer fees. The tent measured 100 feet wide by 250 feet long by 35 feet tall.
In past years, the show was set up in three long and narrow rows of 30-foot wide tents that all faced out. Some dealers were disappointed about having to exhibit inside a big tent, preferring to be closer to the sun, while others enjoyed the shade of the big tent. Others, however, were placed around the perimeter, and enjoyed the view of the large tent.
In order to decide upon next summer’s tent situation, Gould will send questionnaires to all dealers. She said she is looking forward to receiving feedback from dealers and shoppers alike, so that management can come up with best solution.
The layout, however, was very successful and will remain the same. Dealers were placed in new locations, although some, like Wayne Pratt, enjoyed locations where they had set up in previous years.
“From my perspective the show was a smashing success,” recalled Paul Phillips of Bryn Mawr, Penn. Sales included an 1820 Classical revival mahogany drop leaf table, a circa 1820 Classical revival mahogany sofa, a circa 1810 turned leg one-drawer pine stand, three circa 1850 iron front shelf clocks, and a circa 1830 School House wall clock.
George and Debbie Spiecker of North Hampton, N.H., noted, “We had a very good show, selling our tavern table, a pair of Queen Anne chairs, cherry desk, two weathervanes, carved eagle, and quite a few smalls.” Chesterfield Antiques exhibited a circa 1800 bowfront chest, a pair of circa 1770 Queen Anne chairs from Champlain Valley, Vt., and a circa 1890 horse weathervane, in addition to an early American broiler that dates circa 1760.
Sales reported by Charles Wilson of West Chester, Penn., included several windmill weights and doorstops, a Pennsylvania paint decorated blanket chest, a weathervane, a plant stand, four trade signs, and some iron. “We also did some good buying. The weather was cool for a change,” recalled Wilson.
The Windles of Centreville, Del., noted, “Moving in and out was done with a minimum of bother. The Kiwanis members kept things going smoothly and were a big help to Marilyn and the dealers. This was true of both the beginning of setup and in tearing down.”
The dealers sold an early bride’s box, a sheet metal weathervane, a demi-john, some very early decoys, and a mirror in a bird’s-eye maple frame. The dealers also enjoyed a Monday call from a Manhattan dealer who then bought an unusual kitchen worktable that had been scraped down to a light green paint. “There is also another potential sale of three very early decoys,” concluded Herbert Windle.
Gold Goat Antiques of Rhinebeck, N.Y., brought some Connecticut rdf_Descriptions to the show, including a Connecticut Valley painted chest, a Nineteenth Century sheet iron weathervane, and a presentation cane from Waterbury. Other interesting pieces included a late Nineteenth Century wooden dog vane, a wall of framed Bidwell & Friends album quilt squares, executed in 1860, Massachusetts and New York, and a Nineteenth Century wood fish vane from Wakefield, Mass., in original salmon paint.
At the center of the display at MacKay & Field was a mid-Eighteenth Century white pine chimneybreast sans mantel that had been scraped down to the original paint decoration to resemble cedar. Another piece in original surface was a large Eighteenth Century Connecticut corner cupboard in yellow paint.
Tramp Art specialist Clifford Wallach said, “We always do well at Marilyn’s shows. It is simply the best outdoor show in the country, and with the addition of the big tents it is one of the prettiest as well.”
Clifford noted that the rains in New York City kept a couple of clients away that are usually first in the early buyer’s line. However, “one called early Saturday morning on my cellular phone and bought a tramp art frame that he picked up on Sunday,” said Clifford. “I sold a spectacular large tramp art frame with carved and painted deer that had a marvelous rustic look. I also sold a multiple opening tramp art frame to a decorator and they made an appointment to see me in New York City for more pieces.” Clifford attributed some sales to new clients to his June 21 appearance on Martha Stewart Living.
New dealer Jackie Radwin of San Antonio, Tex., reported a “terrific show.” She said, “We found interest in our rdf_Descriptions across the board. We sold a number of pieces of serious furniture, two wonderful weathervanes, a number of very high end painted baskets, and an assortment of other smalls.”
Jane McClafferty of New Canaan, Conn., was set up in the big tent. She and husband Fred sold three pieces of furniture, a funky weather vane, some Staffordshire, and some brass. Most sales were retail.
Bill and Marcia King of Geranium Antiques, Dorset, Vt., sold American historical scenes on Staffordshire, mocha, and Eighteenth Century creamware. Judd Gregory, also of Dorset, showed a circa 1840 arrowback Windsor settee that measured 7’3″ long; a circa 1780 New England Queen Anne highboy with Victorian finish, an Eighteenth Century Chippendale mirror, and a circa 1780-90 Philadelphia Windsor combback armchair.
Cape Cod and New York City dealer Tom Buto of East Dennis Antiques sold a Federal mirror with reverse paint on glass landscape, an elaborately carved mid-Nineteenth Century nanmu wood slant front desk, John Gould lithographs, a tiger maple Lincoln rocker, an ogee clock, and a month-and-day clock. He is enjoying follow-up on some furniture, including a set of six fancy painted Sheraton chairs, to a customer from Westchester County.
Stephen Garner of Yarmouth Port, Mass., exhibited a circa 1790-1810 small birch Chippendale chest, a circa 1790 Rhode Island maple Chippendale desk in original surface, and an 1820 blanket chest with Sandwich glass clam broth pulls.
Furniture brought by Gary and Martha Ludlow of Lyndhurst, Ohio, included a circa 1800-20 New England Hepplewhite Pembroke table, a circa 1800 Sheraton card table with serpentine front, and a mid-Eighteenth Century English Queen Anne walnut looking glass.
Plummer & Philbrick of North Berwick, Me., set up a late Seventeenth Century six-board chest with “M” cut out on each side, and an early Eighteenth Century lady’s armchair with yoke crest attributed to a member of the Davenport family.
From Robesonia, Penn., Greg Kramer brought a New England fanback Windsor side chair with saddle seat, a Pennsylvania Hepplewhite low chest of drawers in walnut, and a set of six Lancaster County paint-decorated chairs.
Jeffrey Tillou displayed a Queen Anne banister back armchair from New England, 1750-60, and a rare eastern Connecticut one-drawer candlestand, as well as a number of early theorems.
A painted wood swordfish weathervane and a sailboat sundial were two summery rdf_Descriptions that Linda and Michael Whittemore displayed, along with a mid-Nineteenth Century French butcher’s table and a circa 1690-1720 English gate-leg table.
South Natick, Mass., dealer Douglas Jenkins exhibited a circa 1760 Chippendale architectural corner cupboard from the southern states, an early Eighteenth Century dovetailed sea chest with red surface, a circa 1760 New England curly maple slant-front desk, and a pair of Nineteenth Century King Philip’s War figural andirons.
Some of the sales to new clients at Dog Eat Dog Antiques, New York City, included hooked rugs and American primitive landscapes. Another New York dealer, Leah Gordon, sold jewelry, including gold, silver, and American Indian pieces. Recalled Leah, “One rdf_Description of interest was a turquoise necklace from the Santa Domingo pueblo between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It had 12 strands of turquoise interspersed with charms, fetishes, and good luck pieces that obviously meant something to the original owner. It was beautiful and in its own way quite meaningful to the new owner at Wilton.”
Charles and Barbara Adams of South Yarmouth, Mass., welcomed lots of regular customers for a large and impressive collection of Barbara’s specialty, Bennington pottery.
Elizabeth Robinson of Acorn Antiques, Westerley, R.I., opined, “The new layout of the show was lovely. I was in the new large tent and it was most pleasant not only for the exhibitors, but for the public coming through.” She sold lots of children’s prints as well as botanicals.
Lynde McCormick of Chinese County Antiques, Boston, Mass., recalled, “The big new tents at the Wilton show provided an impressive showcase for the dealers, and customers seemed enthusiastic about them. Customers seemed more cautious than last year, which translated into more attention to practical rdf_Descriptions. We sold a coffee table, for example, a beautiful, painted Tibetan chest that also went to work as a coffee table in Troy N.Y., and a bedside cabinet.”
She added, “We were surprised that a pair of stunning, rare ancestor portraits did not sell. They drew considerable attention and favorable comments, but the mood was a bit more restrained this year.”
Long-time jewelry dealer Merle Koblenz of South Kent, Conn., remarked on the professionalism of her colleagues, “Knowing of the impending gloomy weather forecast, [the dealers] remained and on the ‘front.’ As soon as the first burst of rain started, Marilyn Gould appeared in front of the troops with an umbrella and a smiling face full of contagious optimism.”
In terms of sales, Merle noticed, “Gold bangles are still the hottest rdf_Descriptions, especially with seductively gypsy set gemstones. We sold everything: bracelets, earrings, rings, diamonds, gemstones, gold, platinum, and silver. The Wilton Show brings with it a lot of sophisticated, well traveled buyers.”
Wayne Pratt of Woodbury, Conn., and Nantucket reported furniture sales including a four-drawer ball-and-claw foot chest.
His exhibit included an Eighteenth Century Rhode Island fanback Windsor chair, a Nineteenth Century circular hutch table in pine and birch, and a Nineteenth Century classical style slant-front desk from Massachusetts. Even with a booth facing outside on of the big tent, Wayne said that dealers were confident about the efficiency of the tent during Saturday’s rain.
The next Wilton Antiques Show, the DAR Antiques Marketplace, will be Sunday, September 16 at the Wilton High School Field House. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm, with early buying from 8:30 to 10 am.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm