Published: March 22, 2011
It was like the olden days at Northeast Auctions March 5 and 6 when bidders crowded the Treadwell House gallery to standing-room-only proportions. The absence of Internet bidding enabled auctioneers Ronald P. Bourgeault and F. John Lipinski to sell at a welcome 100 lots an hour, greatly pleasing the audience, which comprised an unusually high percentage of collectors. The objects for sale came from an unusually high percentage of private collectors.
Bidders liked a Massachusetts Chippendale mahogany secretary bookcase made by Jacob Sanderson of Salem for the Cabot family of Boston in about 1770 and drove it to $56,050 on the phone. Its provenance indicated that it was purchased from a Cabot descendant by Israel Sack and came most recently from the estate of Marjorie Doyle Rockwell of Loudonville, N.Y. It sold to a private collector, underbid by another private collector.
A collection of Philadelphia furniture, with a few outliers from other cities, gathered by Robert Alexander Stair Jr of York, which he bequeathed to his cousin on his death in 1964, was consigned to auction by the children and grandchildren of that cousin. Much of the material was gathered with or purchased from his friend Joe Kindig Jr, and there were some real gems, although high reserves deterred bidders on a number of lots. A number of objects had been appraised five or so years ago and while values have altered since, some expectations have not made the adjustment.
A Philadelphia Chippendale walnut side chair, circa 1760, was carved with a solid vasiform splat flanked by fluted stiles, a central shell on the seat frame and cabriole legs ending in ball and claw feet. It realized $31,860 from a New England collector. A Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany side chair, circa 1770, was attributed to Thomas Affleck and was carved with a central roundel in the crest rail, a pierced beaker-form splat and cabriole legs. It brought $30,680. A third example, a Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany side chair with a gothic splat, circa 1770, went to the same phone bidder for $18,880. All three chairs were marked inside the seat frame with the Roman numeral III.
Two Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany serpentine front chests of drawers, circa 1770, were offered. One, with canted corners with fluted quarter columns and ogee bracket feet, drew $22,420 on the phone, while the other, with canted corners with vine inlay and more substantial ogee bracket feet, sold for $14,160.
A phone bidder who bought a Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany chest of drawers also paid $20,600 for a Boston Queen Anne walnut lowboy attributed to Benjamin Frothingham of Charlestown and carved with an elaborate shell and delicate drops.
A pair of Massachusetts Queen Anne mahogany “cross-eyed owl” chairs made around Salem, circa 1780, had shaped knees joined by a blocked and turned stretcher and pad feet. The pair fetched $15,930 from a phone bidder.
Bringing $16,520 was a Baltimore Federal mahogany serpentine front hunt board with inlay. A fancy Eighteenth Century Chippendale mahogany mirror with an elegantly scrolled and gilded crest with an urn of flowers also came from the Stair collection and brought $12,390. Two late Eighteenth Century pair of English brass and glass sconces from Stair sold to the same bidder, one that was 14¼ inches for $5,428 and the other, which was 19¼ inches, for $2,596.
Offerings from other estates and collections included a rare New York classical mahogany drum table with a rich acanthus carved pedestal that sold for $21,240. It had been published in Venables’ American Furniture in the Bybee Collection and American Furniture, 1620 to the Present by Fairbanks and Bates.
A Philadelphia Queen Anne mahogany dish top tilt top candlestand from about 1780 had descended in the family of Commodore William Bainbridge and elicited $12,980.
Chinese Export porcelain spurred American and European interest. An exceptionally large (16 inches) Eighteenth Century pair of porcelain figures of beautifully robed court ladies, each holding a candleholder, brought $31,860. The pair came from a Connecticut collection. A Chinese Export porcelain sauce tureen in the form of a highly detailed boar’s head drew much interest and sold to a dealer who has a nearly identical example for $10,620.
Bidding on a handsome premium grade swirl-painted Mason pintail drake decoy opened at $450 and raced its way to $22,420 on the phone. The duck, which elicited heavy phone activity, was branded on the base, “A.T. Cabot/PCC/CGH.”
The 1921 Edward Hopper etching, “The Evening Wind,” on wove paper with deckled edges was signed in pencil and inscribed “The Evening Wind $25.” Ninety years later, it opened at $34,000 and sailed to $77,800 from a phone bidder.
The intriguing work “Waterfall with Bride” by Connecticut Outsider artist Ellis Ruley was executed in oil-based house paint on poster board and depicted a forest scene with a central waterfall, two women walking with bouquets of flowers on one side of the image and a woman and a dog seated on a bench opposite a man reading from a book. A depiction of Bridal Veil Falls, it realized $10,620 from a Pennsylvania collector. The artist only began painting in 1939 and he died in 1959. The painting has been exhibited at the Wadsworth Atheneum and the San Diego Museum of Art.
A self-portrait by Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century French artist Elisabeth Louise Vigee LeBrun, after the original in the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, brought $5,900. The artist was a favorite of Marie Antoinette.
At $14,160, a phone bidder took a set of four American farm scenes delineated by Fanny Flora Palmer and published by Nathaniel Currier in 1858. Joseph Badger’s circa 1760 portrait of a ship master, identified only as a member of the Parker family of Portsmouth, N.H., but thought to be John Parker, realized $10,620 from a phone buyer. A silhouette portrait of George Washington by Philadelphia artist Samuel Folwell was backed with newsprint from 1801 and sold for $9,440.
A Tiffany Studios Favrile glass and bronze table lamp with a conical shade brought $11,210. Other Tiffany lots were a set of 12 iridescent amber Favrile glass dessert dishes, each of which was inscribed “L.C.T.” that sold for $4,956 and a set of eight iridescent amber glass salts or nut dishes, also etched “L.C.T. Favrile” that drew $563. A lot of four early Twentieth Century Favrile glass comprising a pair of fluted lamp bases, a ribbed bowl and a lobed and footed salt cellar fetched $885.
Some 126 lots of silver brought lively activity: A George V silver flatware service in the “Hanoverian Rattail” pattern by Crichton Brothers of London, 1914‱915, comprising a full service of 209 pieces realized $13,570. The set was housed in a mahogany case. Other choice London silver lots were a pair of William IV sauce tureens made by Benjamin Smith II for the Appleton family of Boston that sold for $9,440.
A William and Mary silver tankard, circa 1690‹1, was engraved with an acanthus scroll cartouche and esquire’s helmet above the initials W.A.R. It fetched $6,372. A George III silver tankard, circa 1774‷5, by Hester Bateman in baluster form was $3,540.
Four George III candlesticks by John Parsons and Company of Sheffield, circa 1787‸8, fetched $4,720. The set had come from the Garvan collection.
A pair of George II silver armorial candlesticks by John Café of London realized $4,130, while a pair of George II crested examples by London maker William Grundy was also $4,130.
The highlight of American silver lots across the block was an early Twentieth Century set of 16 American Art Nouveau sterling service plates and 16 bread and butter plates by Gorham that elicited $9,440.
A late Nineteenth Century New York Aesthetic Movement five-piece tea set by Dominick and Haff in the japonesque style, pattern 116, and bearing the mark of Boston retailer Shreve Crump and Low, went for $8,968.
Flatware of interest included a sterling flatware service by Frank W. Smith Silver Co. of Gardner, Mass., in the French Thread pattern, which was introduced in 1902 and comprised 195 pieces, that realized $7,375. A Whiting Mfg. Co., partial flatware service in the Lily pattern and comprising 138 pieces was $5,428. A 48-piece sterling flatware service in the Williamsburg Queen Anne pattern by Steiff was $4,248.
A silver pitcher by J. Conning of Mobile, Ala., circa 1840, was elaborately engraved with a ship within a cartouche and sold for $6,490, while a late Nineteenth Century Tiffany and Co. silver soup tureen in chinoiserie style went for $5,310.
Garvan collection provenance accompanied a Victorian Irish silver monteith by John Smyth of Dublin and brought $5,015.
All prices quoted reflect the buyer’s premium. For information, www.northeastauctions.com or 603-433-8400.
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