By Genevieve Ward
WILTON, CONN. – The Wilton Outdoor Antiques Marketplace, one of the quarterly Wilton Antiques Shows managed by Marilyn Gould, took place June 22-23. The summer show benefits the Wilton Y and Kiwanis Club, and boasts a solid volunteer contingent to assist with ticket taking and refreshments. There are 180 dealers total, the largest roster of any of Gould’s shows.
With the two-day schedule (other Wilton shows are one-day only), collectors can both attend that graduation party in Westchester County on Saturday afternoon and still make it to see their favorite dealers on Sunday in Wilton.
The weather is about the only variable at this show. “If it’s great weather, the gates is always up,” says show manager Gould. Many regular Wilton customers do not miss a show, knowing that it would be a long three-month wait before the dealers would again converge in the 200-year-old town.
This year, however, the show suffered from two consecutive dog days, and dealers blamed the weather for lower attendance.
According to Russ Goldberger, “Many customers understandably resist making serious purchase commitments in 90-degree weather, although many expensive antiques were sold on the field over the weekend.”
A noticeable change this year was the elimination of the “big tent,” which, last year, trapped the majority of dealers under a hot roof. Gould gladly returned to longer, narrower tents for this show. One change from the original was the use of 30- by 30-foot tents to allow for cross aisles. This feature also added much-needed breezes to the field.
For those who kept cool with water bottles and brimmed hats, there were many treasures to find. “People poured in for the first six hours on Saturday,” according to Gould. The show manager noted that many dealers — including Pam and Gene Martine, Linda Whittemore, Clifford Wallach, Greg Latham, Hill Gallery, Jim Hirsheimer, Paul Phillips, Jeffery Henkel, Praiseworthy, Joe Martin, Zane Moss, Oakland Antiques and East Dennis Antiques — reported excellent sales. Many dealers seemed to have saved a few prized rdf_Descriptions to bring to the show. For Howard Graff it was a Taconic basket, for Karen Wendshiser, it was a collection of silhouettes and for Jeffrey Kohn it was a veterinarian’s sign.
“If you build it, they will come! Our first year at Wilton was memorable for the professionalism of the management, camaraderie of the dealers, quality of their wares, and the sophistication of the clients,” recalled an enthusiastic Danielle Ann Millican of Florham Park, N.J. The dealer sold botanicals, maps and sporting prints. “My personal favorite was a 1708 Celestial map by Andreas Cellarius, in original color, illustrating the lunar and solar eclipses and phases of the moon.”
Another new dealer, equally pleased with show, was Erik Gronning of Shaftsbury, Vt. Sales for Gronning included a Nineteenth Century American still life, a coverlet, a pair of early Nineteenth Century Hessian andirons and a pair of Eighteenth Century American twist decorated standing cranes.
Looking on the positive side of the weather, Gronning commented, “While the weather was hot, it did not rain. That was the important thing. Marilyn runs a wonderful show, very organized and efficient.”
Jane and Phil Workman were also new to the show. Sales included a harvest table, a paint decorated jelly cupboard, a quilt, a flying goose weathervane, a deer weathervane, two wall hangings and many smalls.
Another first-timer, Dave and Eleanor Billet, so enjoyed the show that they hope to be regular exhibitors. “We sold some garden, as well as furniture and paintings. We are local to the area, and we saw many local customers,” according to the dealers.
Regular Wilton dealer Russ Goldberger of Rye, N.H., reported, “We had a good show, about what we expected from our experience there. We sold game boards, an architectural louver fan, folk art bird carvings and decoys, and a paint decorated stool.”
Russ noted, “Marilyn and her large staff of volunteers did their normal terrific job. Everything was organized beautifully. The new — or should I say old — multitent layout is a significant improvement over last year’s big tent.”
Larry Miller of Dorset, Vt., set up near the entrance to the show in the same spacious and deep tent that he and Marie enjoy every year. Sales for the Millers included many quilts, beds, a Sheraton chest, stands, Quimper and smalls.
Laura Fisher of New York City brought acres of quilts and sold quite a few as well. Her other sales included rag carpets, Marseilles spreads, knits and chenille spreads, among other textiles. She did note, however, that it was “too hot for wool, so no one wanted to unroll a rug or spread out a shawl.”
Thomas and Julie Barringer of Stockton, Mass., noted, “We had a good show at Wilton. Among others, we sold a chimney cupboard, wicker chair, penny table rug, folk art carving, naive landscape and more.”
On the layout, Thomas recalled, “The new orientation is an improvement. The tent rows now have an East-West orientation. Thus, we are in shade all day long rather than sun/shade in the am and shade/sun in the pm. We are also positioned further toward the front of the show.”
Sales at Lillie Antiques included two pairs of expensive urns and other garden-related smalls; Acorn Antiques reported a lot of interest in botanical and children’s’ prints; and Groeg Spiecker reported selling a Hepplewhite, Newburyport card table, a maple Chippendale tall chest and a Chippendale cherry desk. Eve and Susan Stone sold copper, the highlight being an Eighteenth Century French cider jug. Clifford Wallach reported the best pieces he sold as being two rare red, white and blue painted tramp art frames.
Representing marine art was Louis Dianni, who reported selling at least seven paintings, many “better” smalls. The dealer’s favorite piece that sold was an American school portrait of the whaleship John Carver.
Regular Wilton dealer Norma Chick/Autumn Pond of Woodbury, Conn., reported missing some of her usual Wilton clients, but selling a set of six ladder back side chairs from New Hampshire, and some early Delft.
The next Wilton Antiques Show, the Wilton DAR Antiques Marketplace, will present 125 exhibitors in the Wilton Field House Sunday, September 22.
For information, 203-762-3525.