CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Parking was at a premium outside the CRN Auction gallery in the run-up to the January 18 sale. Inside the gallery, the story was the same — standing room only. Collectors and dealers were drawn by the reliable high quality of the art and antiques for sale. Normally conducted on Sundays, this time the sale was on Saturday to avoid any conflict with “the game” — a football game.
Continental and English furniture represented the highlights of the sale, but American furniture brought more than respectable results, and Chinese Export porcelain attracted the Chinese trade.
Highlights of the day included a pair of Eighteenth Century Italian rococo burl walnut commodes with serpentine fronts, each with two drawers, that sold for $14,400. The pair had come from a Florida home. Other Italian objects of desire included an Eighteenth Century pair of walnut commodini with inlay that brought $3,900.
An Eighteenth Century Portuguese rococo carved walnut commode with a serpentine front and two drawers over two long drawers, had a pierce-carved and gilt-shell on the shaped skirt, all on hoof feet. Bidders found it desirable and drove it to $9,000. Another Portuguese rococo example from the Nineteenth Century had been refinished and brought $3,360.
An exceptional set of six Regency mahogany chairs designed, and possibly made, by George Smith, London designer and upholsterer to King George IV, sold to a collector on the phone for $13,200. The lower back of each chair was carved with heads, each of which were slightly different, and the arm supports of the single armchair were carved as griffins. A Regency mahogany double-sided bookstand, circa 1820, each side with four shelves above a frieze drawer, sold on the phone for $5,075.
Seven phones chased an Irish George II walnut armchair that opened online at $1,400 and sold in the gallery for $11,400. The open arms were carved with acanthus and feathers, ending in bird’s heads and the knees with shells and the cabriole legs with scales ended in ball and claw feet. The same buyer paid $7,800 for a pair of Irish George III mahogany demilune console tables with applied sunburst heads and tapered stop fluted legs. A pair of Nineteenth Century Irish two-part corner cupboards, each with a broken arch cornice, with a carved bird above a glazed door, had a raised panel door on the bottom and lion and acanthus carving. The pair sold for $3,200.
A pair of English Chippendale diminutive mahogany camel back window seats, with rolled arms, cabriole legs and ball and claw feet, came from a North Shore home, and sold for $5,075, also on the phone.
The large (67 inches) Eighteenth Century continental giltwood mirror carved with dolphins and floral scrollwork realized $13,200, and a delicately carved, painted and gilded Russian classical chandelier sold for $5,100.
An Eighteenth Century Russian boxwood triptych, each section inset with meticulously carved panels depicting the life of Christ, and each protected by mica, was set in a silver filigree and enamel frame. It went to the trade on the phone for $6,600.
The zingy patterns of rich tiger maple warmed the gallery during the preview and elicited interest during the sale. An Eighteenth Century New England tiger maple chest with a molded overhanging top and four graduated drawers brought $6,600, while an Eighteenth Century New England tiger maple chest-on-chest, with seven graduated drawers, went to the phones for $3,600. The same phone buyer paid $2,760 for a New England Chippendale tiger maple slant lid desk with a fitted interior.
A New England Chippendale mahogany secretary was untouched and sold for $4,500, while a Boston Queen Anne walnut veneered highboy that had a boldly scalloped apron went for $3,900.
Bidding on a Baltimore Federal cherry slant lid desk opened at $1,000 and ended when it went for $4,800 from the trade on the phone. The desk retained the original surface with oval eagle and shield inlay to the lid and fan inlay to the drop on the apron. Then, a Boston classical mahogany library table attributed to Isaac Vose of Boston, circa 1820–25, went to a phone bidder for $4,200. It was made with a molded oval top and the original oil cloth cover, four drawers, two of which lock in the apron and a rectangular pedestal with four carved scrolling feet.
The Herter Brothers full-size bed was inlaid with garlands and ebonized and signed in four places — it sold on the phone for $6,000.
A Gustav Stickley drop front desk designed by Harvey Ellis bore the Stickley red decal and a paper label from the Cobb-Eastman Company, formerly Keeler & Co., of Boston. The desk was made with three panels on the lid, each with metal inlay and a fruitwood stylized flower. It retained two original glass ink bottles, and sold for $8,400. A pair of Stickley iron andirons, no. 348, from about 1905, was also $8,400 to the same phone bidder who paid $6,600 for a Gustav Stickley library table, with the original leather top with metal studs.
An early Massachusetts sampler was wrought by 12-year-old Sarah Swett Clarke of Danvers “under the direction of the Misses H. & B. Putnam,” whose antecedents were early settlers of Danvers, known then as Salem Village. The sampler was worked with family names and dates from 1778 to 1822, and sold on the phone for $3,600.
The highlight of the Chinese material was a Nineteenth Century Chinese hardwood table screen framing a porcelain panel decorated with scenes of children at play in a grassy landscape, and a carved frame, which sold for $9,600. The piece bore the red shen te tang mark.
A Sino-Tibetan painting in colored ink depicting an elder seated in a landscape with deer and cranes and eight auspicious Buddhist objects brought $5,400, while an early Tibetan thangka depicting a llama surrounded by Buddhist deities fetched $2,880.
Chinese Export porcelain highlights included a large pair of Rose Medallion vases in baluster form, which went to $7,200 from the Internet; a large Rose Mandarin footed punch bowl was $4,800, also online; and an Eighteenth Century Rose Mandarin punch bowl decorated with figures in pavilions and set on a decorated foot sold for $5,600.
A Chinese famille verte vase in rouleau-form decorated with a procession of courtly figures, some on horseback, sold for $3,300, and an Eighteenth Century famille rose tureen and under plate, with boar’s head handles, was $2,520.
French glass was represented by a cameo glass lamp by Parisian artisan Joseph-Gabriel Argy-Rousseau. With a decoration of three Native American warriors with spears and shields, with tepees in the background, the lamp was mounted on a pierced bronze base that was signed Bronze Aircraft Co., and brought $6,000.
The sterling star was a mid-Nineteenth Century compote by John C. Moore & Son for Tiffany, which sold for $5,400. A New York coin silver oval tea tray, circa 1825–35, was marked Ball Black and Co., Successors to Marquand & Co. New York, and sold for $4,500. A pair of English silver entrée dishes by London maker Paul Storr was also $4,500, as was a pair of Georgian silver candlesticks with petal bases hallmarked for John Cafe of London, 1749.
The dial of an early lantern clock was engraved “Jan Huggeford Nella Galleria del Gran duca di Toscana Englesse.” Its top was dome-shaped and supported by pierced panels decorated with dolphins; it sold for $5,150. The clock came from the collection of the daughter of the treasurer and later president of the Statler (hotel) Corporation.
The J. Howard zinc and copper rooster weathervane went to the phones for what struck some as a very reasonable $4,500, while a pair of cement garden owls with glass eyes estimated at $150/250 was $1,320.
Four lots of mochaware drew action and each went to the same area collector bidding on the phone. One pitcher with a blue band and looping earthworm decoration on light brown-blue bands had a molded spout and brought $1,800. A second example with a green, engine-turned band and seaweed decoration on a light brown ground included the Kahn collection in its provenance, and sold also for $1,800. A bowl with brown and blue marbleized decoration and a green, engine-turned border was $1,020, as was a bowl with cat’s eye decoration in a blue band above double wavy lines.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.crnauctions.com or 617-661-9582.