Published: August 13, 2002
By Rita Easton
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – Marine art, marine books and art of the China trade were front and center at a July 26 auction held at Eldred’s following two viewing sessions. Two hundred seventy-five bidding numbers were issued on the floor, with an additional 270 going to phone and absentee bidders, in competition for the 678 lots. The event grossed $489,972.
A California dealer won the starring lot with a bid of $90,500 for a seven-foot figurehead carved for the Canadian built and registered bark Edinburgh. Dressed in classical style with adornment of a ribbon carved necklace and central oval broach bracelets on each wrist and standing on a scrolled base, the figurehead can be seen on page 94 of Marian Brewington’s Ship Carvings of North America.
According to Brewington, the figurehead was carved by John Rogerson of New Brunswick. The Edinburgh at 1,200 tons and 203.5 feet in length, was built in Quebec in 1883, but was registered in Glasgow, Scotland. It is also illustrated in Clarence Horning’s Treasury of American Design. The figurehead’s provenance was listed as William Allen, believed to be American consulate in Bermuda in 1899 when the ship was condemned, at which time he bought the ship and saved the figurehead. It then went to Francis T. Meyer Addison Gallery of Art by gift of Francis Meyer.
A framed 18- by 26-inch oil on canvas painting by William Pierce Stubbs depicting the two-masted schooner Skylark, built in Chelsea, Mass., in 1866, went to the trade at $13,800; Lynton, by Lai Fong, a Chinese export oil on canvas depicting a four-masted sailing ship, brought $11,500 from a private collector; and a pair of important Rose Mandarin covered 16-inch porcelain hot water dishes, circa 1840, with interior court processional scene, sold at $11,500.
A maritime dealer won a 161/2-foot-long tug boat at $8,050; an oil on canvas portrait of the steamship Cottage City by Antonio Jacobsen, 36 by 22 inches, realized $8,625; an oil on canvas by C.H. Gifford depicting a rocky coastal beach scene with two figures and a boat, 9 by 171/2 inches, did $6,900; and a Formsby Halsall oil on canvas of an evening harbor scene with departing brig and a moon hidden behind clouds reflecting on the water, 24 by 36 inches, made $6,325.
A scrimshaw whale’s tooth with polychromed engraving of a full figure of a Godey-style lady, the other side engraved with a scene of two children and a table set with tea, brought $6,210; five oval graduated Nineteenth Century Chinese export porcelain Rose Mandarin platters, with central court scenes, ranging in size from 10 to 151/2 inches long, went privately at $5,750; and a rare small swift, engraved and colored with flowers and leaves, featuring two tortoise shell inlays made entirely of whalebone, 13 inches high, garnered $5,750.
A two-part camphorwood campaign chest with brass corners, insets and handles, upper drawer with fall front opening to reveal pigeonholes, five drawers and one door, also went out at $5,750.
Prices quoted reflect a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
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