Published: October 11, 2022
Photos and Onsite Review by Rick Russack
WESTON, VT. – And then there was one! That’s almost an Agatha Christie line. Those who remember the “old days,” as in just three or four years ago, will remember that the Weston show was the start of Vermont Antiques Week with five shows on one weekend, all within a few miles of each other. The other four shows no longer exist. The Weston show, now in its 62nd year, is back after missing two years because of Covid-19 restrictions. Taking place September 30-October 1, with a gala preview the evening of September 29, this year’s edition was slightly smaller than in previous years, but it will undoubtedly add more dealers next year.
Weston borders the Green Mountain National Forest, and the entire town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The show is in the Greek Revival Weston Playhouse on the town common. It’s timed to coincide with the beginning of the fall foliage season. Aside from the lovely area and building, the show itself is outstanding. Often at a show, even where the quality is high, you might say to yourself, “What is that doing here?” That doesn’t happen in Weston. Many of the participating exhibitors have done the show for years. New exhibitors are well-vetted by the show committee, chaired by Steve Stettler, with Bob Brandt and Dave Raymond, previous show co-chairs, heavily involved. An indication of the strength of the show for exhibitors is that one, Ester Gilbert, Southampton, Mass., announced that this would be her last show…after 47 years.
The show utilizes different parts and levels of the building. On the first floor, you would certainly have noticed an exceptional appliqued quilt hanging on the wall in Paul and Karen Wendhiser’s booth. The dealers are from Ellington, Conn., and Karen said that although they purchased the quilt in Florida, she was sure it originated in southern Connecticut. Finely quilted, it was initialed E.B and dated 1847. Wendhiser said that she believed the initials were those of Elizabeth Benedict. The dominant pattern was leafy vines, but it included hummingbirds and finely detailed petals on each of the flowers. It was in exceptional condition, appearing to have been stored away and never used. The price was $4,500. Unfortunately, more of the history is not known. It sold on opening day.
Colette Donovan, Merrimacport, Mass., had a large booth on the second level. It was her first time back at the show in more than 15 years. She always has early New England textiles, and for this show added painted furniture, an early painted fireplace mantel, a large selection of redware, Native American jewelry, hooked rugs and folk art. An outstanding wood and bark folk art rooster with attached wings, a carved tail, a carved head, and standing on a carved wooden base was priced $2,900. Her descriptive tag called it “one of a kind,” an appropriate term. She also had one of the several weathervanes in the show. It was a tinned-iron horse weathervane, with a great weathered surface and showed signs of having been repaired over the years. Asking price was $950.
Weathervanes were available from other dealers as well. Witt’s End Antiques, Wallkill, N.Y., had a full-bodied copper running horse weathervane with a zinc head. It was modeled after Joe Patchen, who enjoyed a career as a very successful trotter, but was perhaps best known as the sire of the undefeated trotter, Dan Patch. They asked $5,400. Willow Springs Perennial Antiques, Rexford, N.Y., brought three weathervanes: two different running horses and a large rooster. The Ethan Allen vane was priced $2,600, the hackney at $4,200.
Several dealers brought early painted country furniture as well as a cross section of Americana. An outstanding Nineteenth Century grain-painted chest with two false drawers, period brasses and original paint belonged to Norm Gronning Antiques, Shaftsbury, Vt., and he priced it $3,300. Collette Donovan had a circa 1850 smoke-decorated folding-top card table from Maine she had listed at $875. From a New Jersey farmhouse, H&L Antiques, Princeton, N.J., brought a circa 1840 decorated blanket chest which was priced $1,550. Dan and Karen Olson, Newburgh, N.Y., offered a round country table in green paint surrounded by a set of six circa 1790 comb back Windsor chairs with boldly turned spindles and legs. The chairs, possibly from Woodbury Conn., were marked $6,200 for the set, while the table, which they went with nicely, was tagged at $1,850.
Formal furniture was in several booths. Bob Foley, Gray, Maine, had a small, centennial tiger maple chest priced at $1,450. Harry Hepburn, Harrison, Maine, had a fully restored tall case clock with brass finials, made by Paul Rogers, North Berwick, Maine, circa 1780-1818 listed at $9,575. Martin Ferrick, from Lincolnville, Maine, brought, along with several other pieces of furniture, a flame birch Hepplewhite four-drawer chest with tiger maple banding; he was asking $2,100. Witt’s End Antiques had an Eighteenth Century New England maple Queen Anne highboy with a carved fan marked at $3,550.
A wide selection of early ceramics was available from specialist dealers. Greg Lovell, Hyde Park, Mass., had a large selection of Staffordshire, copper luster, Sunderland jugs and Wedgwood. Hanes and Ruskin, Niantic, Conn., is well known for early English ceramics: creamware, pearl ware, salt glaze and mocha, among others. An exceptional pair of creamware platters with floral decoration surrounding a central pane was available for $1,450.
After the show, associate co-chair Bob Brandt said “it was unusual that we had such a strong attendance at the Thursday evening preview. We saw many more people than we have in the past and they were there to buy. Several of the dealers said that much of their business was done that evening. Donna Kmetz sold several paintings almost immediately. Some of the dealers, like Karen Wendhiser and Bruce Henley said this had been their best ever. As always happens, some dealers did better than others. Harry Hepburn had made a few small sales and then on Saturday afternoon he sold one of his tall case clocks, so that made him quite happy. The show benefits the Playhouse, and the locals always turn out to show their support and spend some money. We were very pleased with the show and we’re looking forward to having a few more of the dealers back next time.”
One of the dealers that Brandt mentioned had done well was Witt’s End. They have been doing the show since 2012 and said, “It’s always been a good show for us. We made several sales, including a small blue corner cupboard, a 10-drawer spice chest, a demilune table, plus other things. And we sold the carved walnut rabbit in the airplane. It went to a large brick home right on the town common. The people love it and have it on a table under a spotlight. I wish we knew more about it. I’ve wondered if maybe it was inspired by a World War II poster, but we don’t know.”
Another exhibitor that Brandt said had done well was Paul and Karen Wendhiser. Karen agreed, saying, “We’ve been doing the show for 27 years and this may have been our best one. We sold the wonderful quilt and I learned more about it. It was a memorial quilt made for Elizabeth Benedict who died, unmarried, at the age of 21. Her mother made it, and you could tell the same hand had done all the work. The initials in black indicated that it was a memorial, and the hummingbirds might also have symbolized death. I’m not sure. We also sold jewelry, paintings baskets and more. The dealers around us also did quite well.”
For additional information, www.westonantiquesshow.org.
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