Published: June 1, 2021
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Kamelot Auctions
PHILADELPHIA – After months of cold weather, spring beckons people out of doors to relish in warmer climes and seasonally appropriate pursuits. It is also a time to upgrade one’s outdoor living spaces, whether a patio, garden or backyard. Kamelot Auctions’ two day sale – advertised as “The Nation’s Finest Antique Garden & Architectural” auction, which was conducted on May 18 and 20 – offered a total of 742 lots of stone and metal statuary, outdoor furniture in every form and material and architectural elements galore.
Lindsay Nichols, Kamelot’s director of operations, was upbeat after the sale. “It was two great days of sale, we do well with them every year.”
A late Nineteenth Century Italian carved marble well head by Aristide Petrilli (Italian, 1868-1930) was surmounted by a wrought iron superstructure and took the lead on the first day of the auction, selling to an American buyer, bidding online, for $11,875. It had been consigned from a Pennsylvania estate and was one of the most popular lots prior to the sale, receiving numerous inquiries, which helped propel it past its $6/9,000 estimate. Done in the tradition of carved well heads from the Veneto, the exterior cylindrical form depicted a parade of figures in high relief, amid fruits, flowers and grapevines.
Petrilli has a small but well-known body of work, both in the United States and in Europe. After studying at the Art Institute in Florence and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, he worked with Raffaello Romanelli before he opened his own studio in Florence. He showed his pieces at the Societe des Aristes Francais in 1896 as well as at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900 and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis, Mo. Among pieces ascribed to his hand, or chisel, rather, are a sculpture of the Bacchantes that is now in Atascadero, Calif., several pieces at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Calif., and a bronze in Montevarchi, Italy.
Rattan was on offer in relatively modest quantity but saw strong results for what was available. An Italian seller consigned a large pair of curved Italian rattan benches that could be placed next to each other with graceful tall backs and a wonderful blond patina; they incited competition between two online bidders who wanted them, finally selling to one of them for $7,813. Another lot from the same Italian seller was a pair of Italian rattan chaise lounges, circa 1940, that had attached adjustable foot rests that sold to a motivated American phone bidder for $6,875.
For architectural elements, a set of three French cast iron windows, circa 1880, was hard to beat even though the frames did not include any glass panes. Interest in the set was significant and they closed at $8,125, more than three times the high estimate. A pair of arched cast iron gates or doors, circa 1890 but unattributed as to region of manufacture, went out at $7,813, while two pairs of iron French doors – one with a matching transom – each sold for $5,500.
Lots of wall paneling saw interest and strong prices on the second day of the sale, notably with the top lot, ten panels of elegant mahogany and oak paneling that brought $12,187. For buyers with a little more wall to cover and a smaller budget, $5,000 was enough to acquire a group of oak and pine paneling.
With shipping costs what they are, it is perhaps unsurprising that most of the lots sold to buyers in the United States. Interestingly, Nichols said they have several consignors from overseas – France, Italy and Argentina, primarily – with whom they frequently work.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Kamelot Auction’s next garden sale will take place June 16.
For information, 215-438-6990 or www.kamelotauctions.com.
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