MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — The chance to appear on PBS' "Antiques Roadshow" is never a given — even if one is selected from a pool of candidates after an extensive application process, and spent seven hours waiting for an item to be appraised.

The popular show, known to its fans as simply "Roadshow," filmed at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown Aug. 10, kicking off its 26th season. Three episodes will be shown, the first of which aired Monday night.

Additional episodes will run Jan. 10 and 17.

Joyce Kirkpatrick, a founding member of the Middletown Commission on the Arts and 30-year volunteer docent and chairwoman of the Friends of Long Hill Docent Committee, which helps out with the mansion, brought a chair made by John Risley, the Wesleyan University professor of design and sculpture who died in 2002 at 83.

Eager to watch the initial episode Monday night, she was on pins and needles earlier in the day, waiting to see if her national television spot would end up on the cutting room floor.

In fact, Joyce Kirkpatrick said, the photograph of her 5-foot-tall Lady Chair, which her husband Robert commissioned from Risley in the 1970s, "might be the only chance to see it."

The mansion was built in 1900, and renovations were made in 1909 and 1917. On June 30, 1994, Long Hill Estate became the property of the city.

Because of the pandemic, it was the first time in two years that Roadshow was filmed. Entrants had to describe their piece, size and weigh it, as well as submit three photographs.

The chair is made of black welded steel rods and is "extremely comfortable to sit in," which is surprising, said Joyce Kirkpatrick, whose husband is the former dean of admissions and professor at Wesleyan.

The couple keeps it in a corner in the kitchen, against a plain, white wall, which accentuates its features.

The two eventually became good friends with the artist after seeing his works at the annual Wesleyan Potters art exhibit and sale.

"His whimsical and humorous kind of art was beautiful to behold and design-worthy," she said. "We loved them and looked forward to seeing these every year."

Risley's wife, Mary, also a Wesleyan teacher and pottery artist, was among the founders of the potters.

In later years, Robert Kirkpatrick asked the artist to customize a series of iron "hats" to place atop the chair, including a Greater Middletown Chorale hat symbolizing a passage from Handel's "Messiah."

Joyce Kirkpatrick sings with the chorale.

"It was an absolutely wonderful kind of collaboration between the art and commissioning person," she said. The hats complement the piece, and retain its symmetry. "It certainly speaks to my heart as well."

"Bob solved his Christmas present problem," Joyce Kirkpatrick said with a laugh, adding that other hats reflect trips the family took in places such as Australia, England and Colorado.

She can't recall what they paid for the seat or hats, but remembers Risley suggested a fairly low price since they had a young family.

The provenance of the chair delighted appraiser Sebastian Clarke, who estimated it was worth more than the original price, Joyce Kirkpatrick said.

There was a rumor that someone had brought very valuable jewels to be appraised at the shoot, which required an armed guard, Joyce Kirkpatrick said. Attendees tried to discreetly look around the room to pick out who it was. She was unsuccessful.

Several Middletown and Portland residents also took part in the show. To maintain social distancing, there were eight stations set up on the grounds of the mansion, each with an appraiser.

Another of Risley's pieces, a wrought-iron bench, is displaced in the City Hall lobby, and appeared on the show in 2014.

Having Roadshow film at the mansion "really puts Middletown on the map," Joyce Kirkpatrick said.

"Their recognition of this unique public-private preservation project reflects on the many Middletown people involved, from the citizens who voted the bond issue to all the mayors and many city council members who lent their support over a number of years," she added.

Other filming locations were at Seward Johnson's Sculpture Park "Grounds for Sculpture" in Hamilton, N.J.; Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, Williamsburg, Va.; and Sands Point in New York, Joyce Kirkpatrick said.

Even if her appearance doesn't make the final cut, Joyce Kirkpatrick said, "it would be the icing on the cake. The cake was an absolutely fantastic experience."

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