Published: July 3, 2006
Festive under ordinary circumstances, Wilton Outdoors!, the open-air market managed by Marilyn Gould, started with a surprise birthday party on Saturday morning, June 17, at Allen’s Meadows north of Wilton High School.
The perennially youthful looking Lew Scranton was celebrating an important occasion that ended with a zero. His friends gathered in his booth at 8:15 am, Phil Liverant supplying the cake and Lorraine German memorializing the event in snapshots. The Killingworth, Conn., dealer told Antiques and The Arts Weeklythat he shares his birthday with Kirt Crump of Madison, Conn., and that Old Saybrook, Conn., dealer Stephen Huber’s birthday falls a day later. Happy birthday all.
The informal party seemed a fitting beginning for a show known for sultry pleasures, from fanciful garden furniture to strawberry shortcake. Wilton Outdoors is the place where dealers kick off their shoes, unwind a bit and display what they would not necessarily feature indoors. Soft music played in Don Heller’s booth. Improbably, Victor Weinblatt was so relaxed that he almost forgot to show up for early buying at 8:30 am. The South Hadley, Mass., dealer arrived on time. Naturally, his display was as immaculate and imaginative as always.
Wilton Outdoors is a mixture of folk and funk, with formalAmerican and English furniture, garden antiques, metalware,ceramics, textiles and fine art thrown in for good measure.
“The show’s quite a mix of things, planned to appeal to a broad audience,” said Marilyn Gould. The manager, who founded the event and has operated it for 14 years, had promised that the tented fair would go on rain or shine, hot weather or cold.
It did go on, but weather there was. It was wet Saturday morning, and hot and humid Saturday afternoon through Sunday.
“The extreme heat and humidity really harmed us, and the US Open being played nearby at Winged Foot Golf Club didn’t help,” Gould said afterward.
With just over 100 exhibitors, the well-organized show opened from 8:30 to 10 am on Saturday with a steady stream of early buyers, among them Martha Stewart, who stopped to admire Frank Gaglio’s handsome arrangement of painted furniture and folk art. Early in the show, Gaglio sold a horse and rider silhouette weathervane and three rag dolls.
Robesonia, Penn., dealer Greg Kramer struck the right mix, pairing a grain painted rope bed in vivid mustard paint, $5,500, with a Nineteenth Century blackamoor figure, $12,500, and a pietra dura inlaid table, $2,950.
“It’s like John Seymour on acid,” Nantucket and New York Citydealer Guy Bush said of a figured maple Sheraton bow front desk,$48,000, that he showed with a set of yellow captain’s chairs,$4,500, and a sailing ship hooked rug.
“It’s been in a private collection,” Victor Weinblatt said of his paint decorated writing-arm Windsor armchair, circa 1820-40, like one illustrated in Santore Volume II.
Joe Collins of Cobalt, Conn., featured a flat-top maple highboy with a whale’s tail skirt, $24,000; a Connecticut River Valley Queen Anne chest-on-frame was $12,500 at Portland Antiques, Portland, Maine; and a veneered flat-top was $11,400 at Holden Antiques, Naples, Fla.
“We leave for Florida after the Fall Hartford show,” said Anita Holden, whose May-October residence is in Sherman, Conn.
Don Heller of Woodbury, Conn., displayed the Ebenezer Flagg Queen Anne lowboy, from Rhode Island or eastern Massachusetts, $57,000.
Russ Everett of Wakefield, R.I., offered a tiger maple country Sheraton dressing table of 1790-1840.
Claudia and Bob Haneburg of East Lyme, Conn., filled their 851/2-inch-tall Pennsylvania cherry corner cupboard, $8,500, with Chinese Export porcelain.
Rochester, N.Y., exhibitor Mill Creek’s eye-catchingpresentation combined a cherry and tiger maple Sheraton bow frontchest of drawers, $9,000, and a Nineteenth Century eagle-appliquedquilt, $750.
“I had two apothecaries and sold them both. People like drawers,” said Rick Pirozzoli of Sport Hill Antiques, Redding, Conn. Others who sold furniture included Dan and Karen Olson of Newburgh, N.Y., who parted with a cherry tall chest and a tavern table; and Mario Pollo of Bearsville, N.Y.
Jaffe & Thurston’s many sales included a circa 1840 New England center table with beautifully matched veneers.
“Most of what we sold was to designers, which isn’t normally the case for us,” said Randy Farrar, of Country Squire Antiques, Boston.
“I had a good show,” said Browington, Vt., dealer Joseph Martin. “I sold a Queen Anne tea table, some good redware, a weathervane, a nice pair of steeple top andirons and a few pieces folk art. I bought a few a pieces, as well.”
Not surprisingly, garden antiques were moving for Mindy Schwarz and Scott Smith of High Street Antiques. The York, Maine, dealers wrote up slips across the board, from pairs of lamps to urns to architectural fragments.
“We bought well and sold a lot,” said Ellington, Conn.,dealer Karen Wendhiser, who parted with a pair of Adirondackchairs, a miniature hothouse and a wrought iron café dining set.
“The same figure brought $9,000 three months ago at auction,” said Village Braider’s Bruce Emond, who priced his 1882 French cast-bronze figure, “The Renaissance Page,” at $6,500.
“Some of this came out of a summer house in Maine,” said Massachusetts dealer Martha Boynton, who combined wicker, wing chairs and a day bed with pottery, a weathervane and a pond yacht.
An outstanding cast-iron urn with a open, latticework body and modeled antler handles was $3,200 at Hill Gallery of Birmingham, Mich.
“I always have Grenfell mats but rarely a pair,” said Dorset, Vt., dealer Marie Miller, who featured two circa 1930 mats of husband and wife hunters, $795.
Specializing in American historical memorabilia, Robert and Patsy Hassert of American Memories, Wyncote, Penn., unveiled a Nineteenth Century needlepoint portrait of General Washington, $4,300, based on the Landsdowne portrait by Gilbert Stuart.
Prices at A.E. Runge, Yarmouth, Maine, ran the gamut, beginning with the dazzling circa 1910 Heriz, $38,000, on his back wall.
Three dealers who share a shop in New Canaan, Conn. – JaneMcClafferty, Rena Goldberg and Dora Landry – also shared a tent,McClafferty offering a traditional blend of American furniture andEnglish accessories. Goldberg had British biscuit tins and Landry,Staffordshire. The English country house look also got a boost atPoverty Hollow Enterprises of Stamford, Conn., where an armchairwas upholstered in distinctive Burberry plaid.
French antiques, including some of the ingredients necessary for making a vintage wine cellar, were on offer at Country Loft Antiques, Woodbury, Conn. Dealer and designer Carole Winer is currently restoring a house and garden in Middlebury and is to be featured in the forthcoming book French Country Kitchens by Carolina Fernandez.
“I’m an ex-Wall Street guy,” said Rick MacLennan of Period Investments. The Savannah, Ga., and Haddam, Conn., dealer featured a large, motorized airplane advertising piece that once flew above Craigsville Beach in Cape Cod.
Another unusual folk sculpture was Robert M. Conrad’s electrified carousel rounding board, painted on both sides, by Philadelphia Toboggan Co. From a carousel park called Ghost Town outside of Scranton, Penn., the circa 1910 artifact was $5,600.
Jim Richardson of Westport, Conn., featured an Odd Fellows element. The three electrified, linked circles were $1,100.
John Sideli started Saturday with the sale of a redware jar. The New York dealer and practicing artist is having a gallery show in London next year.
“We’re starting in the north and making our way down toLondon,” said Woodbridge, Conn., dealer Eve Stone, currentlyplanning a buying trip to Scotland.
Jewelry specialist Cave Canem of New York City and Stamford, Conn., featured a Nineteenth Century gold and turquoise necklace, $1,975.
Stephen A. Foster of Washington, D.C., and James Kilvington of Dover, Del, displayed regional American paintings. At Kilvington, a Connecticut Impressionist view by Robert Emmett Owen was $4,900. At Foster, “A Chinese Still Life” by Manchester, Conn.-born artist Russell Cheney was $3,750.
The hit of the day was a flag-appraising booth run by collector Richard Pierce and dealers Jeff Bridgman and Kenneth Kohn.
“I hope it encouraged people to go see our ‘The Stars and Stripes: Fabric of the American Spirit’ at the Wilton Heritage Center,” said Gould.
In planning stages for September 16-17 at the Wilton Field House is a new 90-exhibitor show called “Living In Style: Homes, Gardens and Interiors.” Managed by Gould and benefiting the Drum Hill Chapter of the DAR, it will mix antiques and design with architectural and restoration products and advice.
MCG Antiques Promotions is at 10 Chicken Street in Wilton, Conn., telephone 203-762-3525.
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