STAMFORD - The grandeur of one of America's finest surviving Second Empire Style country homes provides a sumptuous setting this weekend for one of Fairfield County's best known antiques shows.

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk first played host to its now-famous annual antiques and design show 28 years ago, drawing hundreds of art aficionados.

This fall's two day event on Saturday and Sunday is expected to be no different.

"We're hoping to draw at least a thousand people," said museum executive director Marjorie St. Albyn ."It's our biggest fund-raiser of the year."


In all, about 27 jury-selected art and antiques dealers from throughout the region are expected to occupy the main floor of the 62-room mansion for the weekend.

"What makes this show so special is that this is a jewel of a house," said St. Albyn. "Not only do we have beautiful things here but the dealers bring beautiful things to it as well. That's the key to its popularity."


The mansion itself is operated by Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum Inc., a non-profit organization formed when the mansion was faced with demolition in the 1950s.

It was built originally by the banker-railroad tycoon, LeGrand Lockwood , who, in 1864, began developing his estate on the Norwalk River.

The design was by Detief Lienau of New York City, who was trained in Europe. The mansion, completed in 1868, is considered his most significant work.

American craftsmen, along with many immigrant artisans, were employed in building it.

The mansion was designated a
National Historic Landmark in 1971 and now uses funds contributed by members as well as federal and state grants.

Lara Spenser, of the popular TV program "Antiques Road Show" was named honorary chairperson of this year's show.

Show chairperson Victoria Vandamm said the show's main events will include a lecture by Caroline Vaghn on the rebuilding of the Venice Opera House.

Art and antiques seekers can expect to see a myriad collection of international works on sale that range from American country furniture to Chinese porcelain.

The event officially kicks off tonight with a gala preview party from 6 to 11 p.m. Tickets range from $65 to $150.

The show itself runs from 10 to 6 on Saturday and from 11 to 5 on Sunday. Show tickets sell for $10.


The mansion is at 295 West Ave. in Norwalk. For more information and tickets call (203) 838-9799.