S P E C I A L E X H I B I T I O N
Which Way the Wind Blows:
Antique American Weathervanes
Frequently viewed today as examples of folk art, weathervanes emerged as one of
the earliest sculptural forms in the United States. Because their function was both
utilitarian and aesthetic, weathervanes roosted over buildings both humble and high
style-barns and banks, churches and courthouses. Weathervane forms run the
gamut through history beginning, fittingly, at the Temple of the Winds in ancient
Athens, where the figure of Triton-cleverly designed to always face the direction of
the wind-topped the structure. In America, colonial craftsmen fashioned unique
weathervanes, such as Shem Drowne's grasshopper atop Boston's Faneuil Hall, which
were later imitated, mass-produced and offered through mail-order catalogues. The
exhibition covers not only the variety of forms popular in this country, but the finer
points of interest to collectors including finishes, manufacturers and matters of authenticity. The exhibition is on view from May 25 through July 28.
Breakfast and Tour, May 25 at 9 a.m.
On Saturday, May 25, join conservator Jennifer Mass as she reveals the secrets held
in the surfaces of weathervanes in a presentation and tour of the exhibition. Ms. Mass
is the Senior Scientist and Director of Winterthur's Scientific Research and Analysis
Laboratory, where she has analyzed a number of the weathervanes on view in the
exhibition. Using high magnification electron microscopy for study at the molecular
level, Ms. Mass is a leader in the exploration of weathervane finishes, a key element
of the connoisseurship of these sculptural gems. Her talk at the Brandywine River
Museum will begin at 9:30 a.m., following the continental breakfast in the museum
restaurant at 9 a.m. The price of the breakfast and presentation, which includes
admission to the Antiques Show, is $25 per person. To purchase tickets, please call 610-388-8318.
This exhibition is curated by Amanda C. Burdan, Assistant Curator.
"Index Horse" weathervane, attributed to J. Howard & Co., Bridgewater, Massachusetts, ca. 1850,
copper and cast zinc, 20 x 24 inches, Private Collection.
Brandywine River Museum, U.S. Route 1, P.O. Box 141,
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
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