Joy Ruskin Hanes and Lee Hanes of Hanes & Ruskin Antiques, Old Lyme, Connecticut, called this the Rolls-Royce of baby carriages. Made in Gardner, Massachusetts, by the Heywood family of manufacturers and dating from the 1860’s-90’s, it was priced at $475.
Offered by Robert Perry Antiques, Orchard Park, New York, was a nice early Hudson Valley hutch table with stepped shoe feet and an approximately 42" square breadboard-end two-board top. It retains a worn, red color and was $8500.
This is part of an assembled set of six chairs (three shown) in later bright yellow paint. One chair was signed by the painter. The set was $1350 from Mad River Antiques, North Granby, Connecticut.
Exhibitors on the main floor enjoyed this view of the babbling brook behind the Weston Playhouse. In 2011 it wasn’t quite so placid, though. The brook became a river and roared through the lower level of the building, causing major damage to the facilities.
This was the first Weston Antiques Show for White Fox Rare Books and Antiques, West Windsor, Vermont. The miniature revolving bookcase is 6" high and contains 40 volumes of the Works of Shakespeare with celluloid covers. It’s circa 1890-1900 and priced at $2400. More traditionally sized volumes filled two glass showcases in the booth.
Limoges Antiques Shop, Rutland, Vermont, offered jewelry and top-end Limoges. The three French factory-artist-signed 13¾" diameter plaques were (from left) $3500, $2800, and $3500.
by David Hewett
“Sometimes, out of crisis comes greatness,” said Bob Brandt, co-chair of the 54th annual Weston Antiques Show in Weston, Vermont. He made the telling comment while talking about how they had survived a devastating flood in 2011, one that hit just weeks before the show was scheduled to open.
The organizers faced another problem this past autumn when they discovered that the dates of the Weston show and the ADA/Historic Deerfield show in Massachusetts conflicted. It meant the loss of some long-term exhibitors for the show in Weston.
Brandt was very pleased with the four new exhibitors they had chosen to replace the ones who had canceled. “I think that, visually, this year’s show is the most impressive of all the years I’ve seen it,” he said. The exhibitor spaces in the lower level of the Weston Playhouse had been changed too, giving more floor space to the six dealers who exhibited there.
The changes to the playhouse were partially mandated by the damage to the building caused by tropical storm Irene in 2011. That storm dropped a torrential rainfall on southern Vermont in late August 2011, carrying away two of the Green Mountain State’s iconic covered wooden bridges, destroying culverts and blacktop roadways, and making travel from the eastern part of the state to the western side impossible. There were five deaths attributed to Irene and losses of homes and businesses.
For several weeks after Irene visited, parts of the state remained without electricity, shelter, and access to normal services. Trees were uprooted, supermarkets did business from tents in their parking lots, cemeteries were scoured to bare earth, and caskets and skeletal parts floated to farmers’ fields, where they were found. The lower level of the Weston Playhouse was flooded to the 5' level, ruining costumes and sets, a concert grand piano, all the mechanical services, such as the air conditioning, heating, and a newly installed elevator, and all the kitchen, refrigeration, and dining room equipment.
An army of volunteers cleaned and rebuilt the playhouse. A scheduled theatrical event, with a few Irene-necessitated changes, opened within a week of the flood. The 53rd Weston Antiques Show opened on schedule in 2011. Having endured that crisis, a little thing like a conflict in dates causing the loss of a number of regulars from the exhibition list wasn’t about to stop the 54th annual show.
Besides being one of the longest-running shows in New England, the Weston Antiques Show runs for the longest number of days. It opened with a gala preview on Thursday, October 4, and ran through Sunday, October 7. That means it’s an expensive show for exhibitors, but the fact that so many of them choose to do it year after year has to say something about the loyalty of its exhibitors. Take, for example, Oriental rug and carpet dealer Peter Pap of Dublin, New Hampshire. He’s been doing Weston for 30 years.
The 2012 run opened with rain, but it was a normal rain, nothing like the torrents of 2011. It appeared to have held down attendance on the preview night, but because the venue scatters exhibitors throughout the theater, from basement to tiny dressing rooms on the top, it’s tough to count heads.
Brandt said attendance and revenue were up from 2011. “An unusually high number of dealers were bragging about their sales,” Brandt said. “I saw many people leave the building carrying packages, some small, but others big enough that it took two people to carry them. A lot of dealers had very good shows, including Donna Kmetz [David and Donna Kmetz of Douglas, Massachusetts] with her nicely chosen number of smaller paintings, and a number of others.”
Among those having successful shows, according to Brandt, were Martin Chasin Fine Arts, Fairfield, Connecticut; The Silver Vault, Woodstock, Illinois; Witt’s End Antiques, Wallkill, New York; Clarence Smith of Dover House Antiques, Louisville, Kentucky; and Steven White of White & White Antiques, Skaneateles, New York.
“We’ve really tried to keep the show from being just a small regional affair. We’ve gone after exhibitors from further afield, and I think we’ve made it a better and more attractive show by doing so. It was a delight to put on. Visually, I think it was the most appealing of any of the shows I’ve seen,” Brandt reiterated.
“We had a very good show,” said Barbara Adams of South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. “It was so good that I felt it was almost like being back in the old days. All day long on Friday and Saturday we had people coming up to us with something in their hands and saying, ‘I’ll take this’ and ‘I’ll take that.’ On Sunday there were a few sales, but there really weren’t as many visitors as they had expected. I hope they go back to just the preview party and full two days next year,” she added.
The Weston Antiques Show is the oldest of the group of five that constitute Vermont’s version of Antiques Week and perhaps the trickiest for an exhibitor. Weston buyers aren’t seeking primitives, for the most part. Tempt them with ready-to-use or display pieces in perfect condition, attractive and useful silver, perfect porcelain, tastefully framed paintings, exceptional country pieces, decorative garden items, and an occasional piece of nicely refinished furniture, and they’ll snap it up.
For more information, call (802) 824-5307 or visit the Web site (www.westonantiquesshow.org).
Robert T. Foley of Gray, Maine, had a small room-size booth in one of the upstairs dressing rooms. The pair of gilt-painted 20" high cast-iron dogs was $950; the vase was $285.
Vermont Hillside, a 30" x 36" oil on canvas by Emile Gruppe in the original frame, was shown by Sylvan Hill Antiques, Walpole, New Hampshire, and priced at $14,800.
Here’s a look at just some of the barometers brought by John Forster of Barometer Fair, Sarasota, Florida. There were other scientific instruments, globes, and corkscrews in showcases. We can’t tell you what they were indicating, but the first snow of the season fell on parts of Vermont five days later.
Another dealer new to the Weston venue, White’s Nautical Antiques, North Yarmouth, Maine, set up down in the lower-level rooms. David White brought this 43" high sheet-iron weathervane he’d found in the Newburyport, Massachusetts, area and asked $2950 for it.
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest