Published: January 22, 2021
BLOOMFIELD, N.J. — A group of five Anglo Chinese chairs, offered in three consecutive lots, dominated the January 20-21 Estate Treasures Auction at Nye & Co., with all three shattering expectations. Each lot had been estimated at $30/50,000 and each sold to different buyers, all of which were bidding on the phone. The highest price of $221,400 went for the last of the three lots to cross the block; the lot was distinguished by compass-seat frames and slip-seats. A similar pair with a caned seat frame and squab seats realized $159,900. Rounding out the group, an armchair with compass-seat frame and a slip-seat made $116,850. The chairs were from the estate of Robert K. Johnson of Maine and South Carolina and generated interest from at least nine phone bidders.
“We knew they were good but we did not expect them to bring what they’d brought,” John Nye said the day after the sale.” They are early, rare, documented and show up in a painting…they had a lot going for them.” He was not certain where the chairs were going, but said that one lot was staying in the United States, with the other two lots going to international buyers.
The catalog description for each lot noted that similar chairs had been included in a painting of the Gough family done in 1741 by William Verelst. Comparable examples were cited showing up in a sale at Bonhams New Bond Street in 2013, and a sale at Sotheby’s London in 1998. Related chairs have been published in Carl L. Crossman’s The Decorative Arts of the China Trade, 1991; Lucy Wood’s The Upholstered Furniture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, 2008; Percy Macquoid’s English Furniture, Tapestry and Needlework, 1929; Edward Lennox-Boyd ed., Masterpieces of English Furniture: The Gerstenfeld Collection, 1998; and in Country Life, July 31, 2013, “The Art Market Review,” in which a seat of 12 chairs was featured having been exhibited at Masterpiece 2013 by Mallett of Dover Street.
A more extensive sale recap will appear in a future issue.
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