Published: December 1, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Doyle
NEW YORK CITY- Special Collections, a new auction category for Doyle, brings the collecting story full circle in a single-owner sale. The firm’s latest edition on November 19 brought out the estate of WR and Elinor Appleby, longtime donors to the Asian department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art who established the William R. Appleby Fund.
The couple’s son, Peter Appleby, wrote of the offering, “This collection of early English and Continental furniture and objects of art is the culmination of my parents’ many years of collecting while living in London…I especially admired the carving of the statue of a saint and the elegance of the Welsh dresser that my family and I later enjoyed in our home. I have fond memories of accompanying my mother to the Victoria and Albert Museum, comparing the quality and beauty of the objects in the museum with those we saw in the auction galleries. I especially enjoyed the thrill and excitement of the live auctions, which was the source of most of her acquisitions.”
One hundred ninety-four lots comprised the Appleby section of the sale, featuring an elegant and formal selection of Continental taste.
Highest selling among them was a Seventeenth Century miniature tapestry panel from Brussels, 28 by 26¾ inches, that sold well above estimate for $21,875. The panel featured the Triumph of Bacchus, the figure nearly buried in a feast of plenty. The tapestry had provenance to the collection of King Sigismund III (1566-1632) of Poland, Wawel Castle, Kraków, Poland. It was handled by Daniel Katz Gallery before Mayorcas, Ltd., both of London, where the Applebys purchased it.
Not far behind at $16,250 was another textile, an Ottoman velvet and metal thread panel measuring 62 by 52 inches. The auction house dated it to the Seventeenth Century from the Istanbul/Bursa Anatolia region.
Bidders were drawn to the fine workmanship in a German polychrome painted iron coffer from the early Sixteenth Century. Measuring only 12 inches wide and 8 inches high, the faded paint revealed a design of scrolling foliage and flowers and sold for $6,562 after 51 bids.
In wood was a Sixteenth Century carved walnut panel of Christ carrying the cross. It was Flemish and measured 16 inches high. The auction house said the image was based on a woodcut by Hans Schäufelein, (German, circa 1480-circa 1540) and it sold for $5,750. Also in wood was a group of four English carved oak door panels, formerly of a cupboard, two carved with mythical beasts. The panels closed the door at $2,000.
In ceramics was a faience dish that the auction house said was possibly from the Seventeenth Century. It featured a central medallion of John the Baptist and may have related to a similar example formerly in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Also with museum provenance was a Montelupo majolica charger from the Seventeenth Century that sold for $4,125. It was given to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, by Dr Lloyd Hawes, who also built the historical collection in radiology at Harvard’s Countway Library. The charger was deaccessioned at an unknown time.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
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