Published: November 23, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy The Cobbs Auctioneers
PETERBOROUGH, N.H. – Charlie Cobb’s November 13 auction was filled with fine art, antiques, furniture and jewelry, but a John Haley Bellamy (1836-1914) eagle with provenance ruled the roost, topping the sale with an $18,000 final price. This carved and original painted spread wing eagle was 25 inches long by 9 inches tall and exhibited the classic form with the eagle’s head turned to the left when viewing it with a banner above, painted “Don’t Give up the Ship.” Noted on the back in pencil was a dedication to John Everingham, the consignor’s great-grandfather in Kittery, Maine, who lived about 1½ miles from Bellamy’s studio. The eagle had descended in the family, and they had glued some small breaks that had occurred along the way with the expertise of Arthur Swanson, Cider Hill, Maine. The eagle went to private collector and is staying in New England.
Cobb does not publish sales totals but said more than 90 percent of the lots sold on the day they were offered and there were more than a half dozen post-auction sales. In house, there were about 50 bidders and many times that number participated on two online platforms.
Exuding dramatic American late Art Deco design, a pair of circa 1950s diamond drop earrings dripping with more than 15 carats total of bright white diamonds was bid to $13,200. The diamonds cascaded in moveable graduated lengths of rounds, with marquise diamonds from retro-stylized posts featured with mixed shaped diamonds. Ready to wear, the earrings came with an optional post that could be lowered for those that do not have pierced ears or do not want to strain a piercing. Another jewelry highlight, also in the Art Deco style, was an 18K white gold and diamond line bracelet that changed hands at $1,560. Marked “750” on its clasp, it featured delicate bead set diamond links and a length of 6-5/8 inches.
Three Oriental room-size rugs were notable in the sale. First, a late Nineteenth Century Oushak with a cream field filled with rows of geometric designs with multiple multicolor geometric borders, 10 feet wide by 11 feet 9 inches long, outperformed its $1/1,500 estimate to command $4,800. A circa 1910 Heriz, sporting a center medallion, cream field with red cut corners and multiple geometric borders, 8 feet 9 inches by 12 feet 6 inches, left the gallery at $3,000. And an early Twentieth Century Heriz, having a center medallion on a red ground with cream cut corners and multiple geometric borders, approximately 10 feet by 13 feet, took $2,040.
The sale was filled with fine art. Leading the lineup was an oil on canvas painting of two children playing near a river’s edge by a culvert by Camille Bombois (French, 1883-1970), which realized $5,400. It was signed lower left, “Bombois, Cam,” and measured 18¼ by 24¼ inches, mounted in what appeared to be the original gold molded frame. From a private New England collection, there were remains of labels on the central stretcher, “Arthur Lenars & Co.,” and some hard-to-read script on the frame’s back. Bombois was a naïve painter especially noted for paintings of circus scenes, and his childhood was spent living on a barge and attending a local school until the age of 12, when he became a farm worker.
Massachusetts artist Richard Sumner Meryman (1882-1963) was represented in the sale with an oil on canvas painting of Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies. Signed lower left R.S. Meryman and presented in the original Thulin frame, it had been given by the artist to his frame-maker Walfred Thulin, March 4, 1946. The original letter from the artist to Thulin accompanied the lot. Selling for $3,120, it measured 29¼ by 40 inches.
Another landscape, this one by Stephen Parrish (1846-1938), an oil on board titled “A Landmark” and depicting sheep grazing, earned $2,480. It was signed lower center “Stephen Parrish” and measured 14¾ by 20½ inches.
A portrait of New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock from Beech Hill, the former home of artist Josefa Crosby Sewall Backus (1875-1959) was presented in a gilt frame that appeared to be original. Measuring 24 by 39¼ inches and signed lower left “JCB,” it also went out at $2,480.
Rex Goreleigh’s (1902-1986) oil on canvas landscape of the New Jersey countryside with flowering trees found a buyer at $2,875. The painting had been acquired by the consignor’s brother in Princeton, N.J., from the artist around 1973-75. It was signed lower right “Goreleigh, 73” and measured 23½ by 41½ inches.
Two pencil drawings by George Chinnery (1774-1852) included a sketch of a fishing boat at dock, dated mid right 1839, and a sketch of architectural ruin, both with “The Fine Art Society Ltd” London label. They were estimated $150/300, but did much better, attaining $2,280.
Pan and nymphs playing in the sea were depicted in a School of Bon de Boulogne (French, 1649-1717) oil on canvas Old Master. Fetching $2,160, the painting had no visible signature, but scratch carved into a new stretcher was “Bon de Boulogne, 1649-1717.” Set in an early Twentieth Century molded gold frame, the 23¼-by-27½-inch painting had descended in an old New Hampshire family.
A deaccession from a Massachusetts historical society, an oil on canvas by Austrian artist Eugene Von Blaas (1834-1932), “A Venetian Peasant Girl,” garnered $2,040. Laid down on board, the painting was signed lower left, “E.V. Blaas 18?1” and presented in a newer ornate gold frame, 23½ by 18½ inches.
Beyond the fine art, the sale’s additional highlights included an 1861 Civil War knapsack with history that brought $2,280, a Black Starr and Gorham sterling silver table setting that sold for $2,160, a set of eight English mahogany Chippendale dining chairs that earned $2,050 and a Rhode Island Queen Anne tip top candlestand that more than doubled its high estimate, taking $1,800.
The Civil War knapsack, shoulder bag and contents belonged to Albert Sheaf, circa 1861. With wooden sides the knapsack contained a canteen with leather carry strap, knife and spoon and a sack of coffee. It had been consigned directly from the family descendants of Sheaf of Boston, who joined the Massachusetts volunteers in 1861, and it came with the original “Mustered into Service” document on that day. It also came with a typed eulogy letter from Sheaf’s pastor, his photograph when he lived in Portsmouth after the war, two newspaper articles with his history and more.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Cobb’s next sale, tentatively scheduled for the third week in January will feature a single-owner collection of tribal items gathered in the 1960s-1980s. For information, www.thecobbs.com or 603-924-6361.
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