Published: July 8, 2011
An eclectic range of estate material from around the area was the draw at Carl W. Stinson Auctions’ June 19 sale. Dealers and collectors eagerly inspected and then bid on the objects for sale.
Berry Hill, the Newport, R.I., estate of the Howe family, provided a number of interesting objects with good provenance. A vibrant silk needlework of Mount Vernon executed by C.A. Bruce sold to a phone bidder for $17,250. Its ornate late Nineteenth Century gilt frame was original, if not odd, and the glass, reverse painted with the title and the name of the needleworker.
“The Vine,” a sinuous bronze by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth was dated 1921 and marked “RBW” (Roman Bronze Works) and sold for $4,600 †also on the phone. The model was Gladys Koch of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was known as Babe, and it was consigned by her daughter.
Two Nineteenth Century oil on canvas paintings by the Boston-born Orientalist artist Edwin Lord Weeks were offered. One, a view of Nahr el Kelb (the River of Dogs in Lebanon), realized $2,530; the other, “Milking Cows in Normandy,” fetched $2,760. The paintings came from the Dorchester home of the Edward Everett family, which was piled to the rafters with objects of interest.
A murky Nineteenth Century oil on board landscape appeared to be signed or initialed and sold for $1,840. Cleaned up, the painting will sing. It came from the attic of the same Boston home where raccoons and who knows what other creatures had taken up residence. An oak hall tree from the same house was $489. A Nineteenth Century oil on canvas view of three children in a landscape with a village in the background by English-born American artist Samuel S. Carr realized $3,680. With conservation, the painting will really glow.
Lucius Wolcott Hitchcock’s oil on board harbor scene was painted on both sides. It drew $805. The Ohio-born artist and illustrator often painted coastal views near his Maine home. Cape Cod artist Charles D. Cahoon’s stormy seascape realized $1,395, while a lot of three horse portraits was $1,150
Two etchings by James McNeil Whistler came from Berry Hill. The first, an 1859 view of Billingsgate, realized $805 on the phone, and “The Little Pool” went for $316. Among a group of postcard albums, one in particular elicited $690, while a 10½-inch pair of vaseline Sandwich yellow-green glass dolphin candlesticks brought $230.
Robert J. Morris of Arlington, Mass., was an inveterate collector with wide and eclectic interests who amassed an enviable group of cast iron still and architectural banks, 60 of which crossed the block here. One tray lot of architectural banks was $860 to one buyer who vied for the lots with another buyer in the gallery. The same buyer paid $518 for a lot of six architectural banks and $288 for a single example in the form of Independence Hall. Of the 60 sold, they seemed to be divided evenly between two bidders in the gallery.
Morris was also the source of some fine Chinese Export porcelain. A box lot of Chinese Export porcelain beakers with dragon decoration brought $546, and a lot of Chinese Export porcelain that included a Rose Mandarin covered jar drew $403, while a lot of 12 demitasse cups was $431. A rose mandarin mug sold for $316.
Two tray lots of porcelain animal figures brought $575, while a small Staffordshire fox head stirrup cup went for $242. A tray lot of tie backs was $288, while a bolt of about 18 yards of upholstery fabric from the 1970s by master designer Jack Lenor Larsen realized $633.
From a Cape Cod collection, a scrimshaw whale tooth engraved with the image of a ship and a man in a tall hat brought $1,035. Two small whale teeth realized $115.
Fire-related lots included a Currier and Ives print, “The Life of a Fireman” that sold for $805 and a box lot of fire bottles, $115, while a singe turquoise blue fire bottle went for $28. A lot of two firemen’s leather hats realized $633, and a lot comprising a kilt jacket and a sporran sold for a very reasonable $86.
A pair of ivory figures, male and female, titled His Majesty and Her Majesty, on horseback sold on the phone for $1,955. Her Majesty had some losses to the ivory. A Seventeenth Century Continental cassone that had come some years ago from Killingley Farm in Barre, Mass., went for $575.
An Art Nouveau vase with silver overlay signed “Milet” sold for $604. Ceramicist Félix Optatus Miletus, known as Optat Milet, established a furnace near the Sèvres factory in 1866. His son Jean Paul Milet carried on the business until 1931 and his grandson Henri Milet until 1971.
Clocks of interest included a Nineteenth Century banjo clock by the Boston Clock Company, the precursor of Chelsea Clock Company, that sold on the phone for $1,840.
More interesting was the story of the Twentieth Century Weymouth, Mass., clockmaker Elmer Osborne Stennes, who made the diminutive mahogany tall clock that sold for $805. It was accompanied by the original receipt of 1973 when the original cost was $425, plus three percent tax. The clockmaker was respected for the quality of his clocks and notorious for the lurid events of his personal life. Stennes was accused of and served time for murdering his second wife in 1968 and was himself murdered, in 1975 when he was married to his third wife. The perp may have been someone he met in jail.
A French silver dressing mirror with a rosewood back and in its own fitted case fetched $1,035. A bag lot of sterling silver pieces realized $1,380, and an Art Nouveau vase with silver mounts went for $604. A set of six Queen Anne-style dining chairs made by Postar Furniture of Boston and Lynn brought $460. Postar Furniture was owned by the grandfather of the late Boston dealer Willie Postar.
Rugs of interest were a Bidjar from a North Weymouth estate that sold for $6,900 and a large carpet from Berry Hill in Newport that sold after a phone competition among 14 phone contestants for $6,370. Both went to phone bidders.
Rounding out the auction was a chinoiserie Chelsea desk clock, probably from the 1950s, which was a hardy $259 and a group of photographs after a devastating 1908 fire in Chelsea, Mass., bringing $144. They came from the Dorchester residence.
All prices reported include the 15 percent buyer’s premium. For more information, www.stinsonauctions.com or 781-944-6490.
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