Pook & Pook, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Photos courtesy Pook & Pook
Friends and neighbors of George A. “Frolic” Weymouth, who died in April 2016, gathered at Pook & Pook in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, on Friday evening, July 14, for cocktails and a light supper before a short auction of the remaining contents of Big Bend, Frolic’s country house, a 17th-century Swedish trading post with an 18th-century addition that sits at a bend of the Brandywine River.
A crowd of around 150 watched as most of the 130 lots were sold online or to phone or absentee bidders. A few dozen in the salesroom went home with a chair or a desk, and one dealer, an agent for Greg Kramer, bought two lots, a painted cupboard and a painted bed.
This redware loaf dish with mottled yellow slip decoration sold online for $2196 (est. $400/700). Some thought it might be a Philadelphia piece.
Mahogany press cupboard, circa 1760, probably Caribbean, with a broken-arch crest with flame finials above two paneled doors, the base with blocked corners and ogee feet, 91" high x 52" wide, purchased by the du Pont family in Jamaica, lacking backboards on the upper section, with replaced brasses and repaired breaks to cornice, sold for $3172 (est. $1500/2500).
A dozen lots of Weymouth’s furniture and decorations were offered in November 2016 at Freeman’s, where the top lot in the Weymouth consignment was a circa 1760 Philadelphia comb-back Windsor chair with arms reinforced with iron that brought $4375 (includes buyer’s premium).
The highest price at the July Pook sale was $4636 (with buyer’s premium) paid by a phone bidder for a Napoleonic prisoner-of-war bone ship model that measured 15½" long.
Napoleonic prisoner-of-war bone ship model, early 19th century, 13" x 15½", keel detached, anchors probably replaced, sold on the phone for $4636 (est. $1500/2500).
Pair of George II-style mahogany cockfighting chairs, late 19th century, one chair lacking its drawer, sold online for $3250 (est. $1000/2000).
Peter Ralston (20th century), photograph of Andrew Wyeth, titled The Portal, signed lower right and inscribed “For Frolic With XX’s,” 13" x 19½", sold in the salesroom for $854 (est. $100/150).
It is hard to figure the celebrity factor. Frolic was clearly a celebrity in Chadds Ford, where his house was a party place, warm, comfortable, and filled with country things, some humorous pictures, and some odd decorations, such as a pair of ceramic cowboy boots that sold for $183, and a painting of a Hare in a Sunbonnet, a party gift from Martha Stewart, that sold online for $531.
According to an article about Frolic Weymouth on the Brandywine River Museum of Art website, he was a visionary conservationist, philanthropist, and sportsman. Weymouth was a founder and chairman of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in 1967. Weymouth, Bill Prickett, and Francis I. du Pont purchased 47 acres of land in Chadds Ford that were threatened with industrial development and founded the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art. Later that same year, Weymouth was instrumental in acquiring Hoffman’s Mill, a 19th-century structure on the banks of the Brandywine River that became the museum building. The Brandywine Conservancy is one of the leading land trusts in the country, with 62,000 acres of land permanently protected in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The Brandywine River Museum of Art opened in 1971, and Betsy Wyeth, wife of Andrew Wyeth, promised to hang Wyeth art on the wall.
The name Frolic was given to George while he was a child to distinguish him from his father, George. The name reflected the joy with which he lived his life. His mother, Dulcinea du Pont Weymouth, encouraged him to paint as a child, and he continued his interest in art at St. Mark’s School and Yale. He met Andrew Wyeth as a teenager, and Wyeth’s brother-in-law Peter Hurd suggested he experiment with tempera. Weymouth went on to master the difficult medium. He exhibited regularly at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. His work also is in other museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (At the sale, his Winsor & Newton easel sold for $375.)
Frolic Weymouth’s Winsor & Newton easel, 73" high, sold for $375 (est. $300/500).
New England wallpaper hatbox with a coaching scene, mid-19th century, 15" x 18", wear to lid, sold for $1000 (est. $200/400).
A well-known figure in coaching circles, Frolic drove his antique carriages pulled by his matched bay Standardbred horses at leading horse shows. One of only two Americans in the Coaching Club in England, he also was president of the Four-in-Hand Club. Reflecting this interest was a large wallpapered hatbox with a coaching scene that sold for $1000 online, and an English oil painting of The Southampton Weymouth Coach sold to the same online bidder for $1625.
Frolic Weymouth is survived by his son, McCoy “Mac” du Pont Weymouth, and his wife, Toni, and their two children; brother, Eugene E. Weymouth; and sister, Patricia Weymouth Hobbs. He is also survived by Anna Brelsford McCoy, to whom he was married until 1979, and his companion, Carlton Cropper. When he constructed a chapel on his property, he inscribed the words, “This chapel was built to thank God for a wonderful life filled with fun, humor, work, sport and beauty, a close loving family, and unique friends and a fabulous son Mac.”
The friends who came to the auction said the cupboards filled with redware that brought warmth to Big Bend looked shabby in the salesroom. They found that the crockery was not in perfect condition, but it all sold, most of it for well above the conservative estimates. A portrait of a gentleman in a fox mask, signed lower left by Anna Brelsford McCoy, sold for $3250. Was it a portrait of Frolic?
Anna Brelsford McCoy (b. 1940), oil on canvas of a gentleman with a fox mask, signed lower left, 36" x 24", sold for $3250 (est. $1000/2000).
The sale brought just short of $100,000 for all 130 lots: $99,876, way over the $35,950/62,825 estimate. There were 358 online bidders on Bidsquare who won 45 of the lots.
For more information, contact Pook & Pook at (610) 269-4040 or check the website (www.pookandpook.com).
Anthony Henneberg (b. 1966), watercolor and gouache of a hawk, signed lower right and dated 1994, 40" x 30", sold on the phone for $4392 (est. $400/700).
Pennsylvania Chippendale walnut tall chest, circa 1770, with an untouched dry surface, a matchstick molded cornice, quarter columns, and ogee bracket feet, 63" high x 37¼" wide, sold for $2250 (est. $1500/2500) despite loss to the matchstick molding, loss to a corner of a drawer, replaced brasses, lip repairs, and a couple of other losses.
Two N.C. Wyeth chromolithographs, each titled Map of Discovery (one shown), 16" x 18", with some creasing, sold for $1063 (est. $100/150).
Jimmy Lynch (1950-2013), watercolor and gouache landscape with a bird in flight, 18" x 30", sold in the salesroom for $2196 (est. $300/500).
Richard Chalfant (b. 1953), oil on board landscape, signed lower right, 12" x 14", in good condition, sold for $1625 (est. $400/600).
Originally published in the September 2017 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2017 Maine Antique Digest