The Brandywine: 1997 – 1998

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THE BRANDYWINE: 1997-1998
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In 1997, I was assigned by Eliot Kaplan, then editor in chief of Philadelphia Magazine to create a series of photographs centered around the life and times of  George Alexis Weymouth, better known as Frolich Weymouth for a series of articles that were to be published between the years 1997 -1998 in Philadelphia’s regional publication. Mr. Weymouth was an American artist, whip or stager, philanthropist and conservationist who lived on a sprawling estate called Big Bend in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.  Big Bend was just a short carriage ride to visit his long time friends; Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, who lived nearby on an equally impressive estate.  Mr. Weymouth grew accustomed to seeing me at various events in the region, including the Devon Horse Show, Winterthur’s annual Point-to-Point steeplechase races and lavish private parties hosted by Mr. Weymouth at his historic homestead. I was often invited by Mr. Weymouth himself to photograph and  mingle with many of his longtime friends. Jamie Wyeth’s wife Phyllis Wyeth, a close friend of Frolich’s,  also came to know of my omnipresence in the region after she saw a portrait of her husband published in Philadelphia Magazine posing on a plastic horse with two female mannequins. 

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Tony_Ward_Studio_Jamie_Wyeth's_Mannequins_Tableaux_Vivants

Jamie Wyeth

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On July 17, 1997 Phyllis Wyeth wrote the photographer a letter:

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Dear Tony,

Congratulations on your “One Fine Frolic” article in the May issue of Philadelphia magazine. You truly captured the “bare essence” of Frolic’s May doing’s. But I’m not writing you merely to shower you with compliments: that would be far too easy.  I am also writing to request the return of a favor of sorts.

   Your photo of my husband Jamie (riding the plastic horse) is marvelous, and stated simply, I’d very much like to have two 8 x 10 prints of it.  Not being the shy or retiring type, I’d be the first to remind you that it it weren’t for my picking you up along the road that day, you’d probably never have met Jamie, nor have had so juicy a story!  You might still be wandering around Chadds Ford, asking for directions!  Always keep in mind that it never r hurts to keep one’s contacts happy – with such an interesting cast of characters you just never know when a really special photo opportunity might crop up around here!

So I hope I haven’t made you feel TOO guilty (only enough to send me those copies of that photograph).  Hopefully another opportunity will soon arise for you to chronicle with your camera!

Sincerely,

Phyllis Wyeth

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Tony Ward at Big Bend. Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania

Tony Ward at Big Bend. Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania