Published: February 17, 2016
NEW YORK CITY — Doyle’s sale of English and continental furniture and decorations and Old Master paintings topped $2 million on January 27. Strong prices were achieved for English and continental furniture and decorations from the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries, led by an elegant George II sterling silver covered soup tureen by Paul de Lamerie that trounced its $40/60,000 estimate to bring $112,500 following spirited trans-Atlantic bidding. The piece exemplified the height of rococo fashion and was richly cast with lions to the feet and handles. It was one of a group of Georgian silver articles that was property of a New Jersey collector.
It was a long day for Doyle staffers as the firm also dispersed property from the collection of Marion Barbara “Joe” Carstairs (1900–1993). She is perhaps best remembered for the colorful life she lived alongside her companion doll, Lord Tod Wadley, on Whale Cay, the island she owned in the Bahamas, as chronicled in her 1997 biography, The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of “Joe” Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water by Kate Summerscale.
With competitive international bidding from the salesroom, the telephones and the Internet, the collection far surpassed its estimate of $10,8/16,400, achieving $74,250, with 100 percent of the lots sold. The top lot of the collection was a large archive of more than 100 photographs that fetched $21,250. The archive contained images of Carstairs throughout her entire life, as well as images of family members and various women connected to her, as well as many photographs of Carstairs’ property at Whale Cay.
Paul de Lamerie was described by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as the “greatest silversmith working in England in the Eighteenth Century.” From the same collection as the abovementioned tureen, a pair of George II sterling silver sauceboats, also by Paul de Lamerie, sold for $25,000, exceeding their estimate of $10/15,000.
Silver from other collections included a George III Irish sterling silver epergne by John Lloyd of Dublin that fetched $21,250, and a sterling silver flatware service in the Trifid pattern by James Robinson of London that sold for $20,000.
Furniture highlights featured an elegant Louis XV kingwood and marquetry commode, possibly made in Germany, that achieved $100,000, many times its estimate of $12/18,000. The commode had a distinguished American provenance. It was sold in 1967 from the collection of Winston Frederick Churchill Guest, a son of Frederick Guest and Amy Phipps and a great-grandson of the 7th Duke of Marlborough. A well-known polo player, he married Lucy Douglas Cochrane, known as C.Z. Guest, and lived in Palm Beach and on Long Island.
The selection of clocks was highlighted by a bracket clock by Samuel Watson (circa 1635–1710) that sold for $31,250. A colorful Canton famille rose service in the sale was a rare example of Cuban armorial porcelain. It was commissioned in the mid-Nineteenth Century by the Marqués de Almendares, a member of an aristocratic Spanish family who had built a considerable fortune in Cuba in sugar and other enterprises. Each piece is decorated with a coronet and the abbreviation of the title, Excelentísimo Señor Marqués de Almendares. The four lots offered in the auction descended from a private collection in Cuba to the consignor, and all sold above their estimates, highlighted by a platter that sold for a near-record $5,000.
The Old Master paintings and drawings section of the sale offered landscapes, still lifes, portraits and religious subjects by European artists from the Renaissance through the early Nineteenth Century. “The Medieval Italian Mother of Mercy,” an image of the Virgin sheltering her people under her cloak, made its way north of the Alps in the Fifteenth Century. There, the Virgin was shown as Queen of Heaven, with angels holding her cloak. Highlighting the Old Master paintings was a Sixteenth Century altar panel in the manner of the Master of the Bamberg Saint Claire Altar that is a classic example of this northern variation of the theme. Its donor, shown at the Virgin’s feet, is identified by the banderole as the Elector Frederick of Saxony. Competitive bidding sent the work to $30,000, many times its estimate of $6/8,000.
With competitive international bidding from the salesroom, the telephones and the Internet, the sale totaled $2,110,569, surpassing the estimate and with 91 percent sold by lot and 97 percent sold by value.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, 212-427-4141 or www.doyle.com.
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