Published: December 30, 2008
Two large Eighteenth Century Italian paintings, purchased from a home in Hertfordshire, England, in 1975, were consigned to Kaminski Auctions by the local collector who had purchased them. At the November 29″0 auction, competition between two Italian bidders drove the art works to $324,300. “Goddess of the Sea” sold for $162,150, and auctioneer Frank Kaminski offered the second picture, “Neptune and the Goddess of the Sea,” for the same price. An Italian buyer on the phone defeated a very disappointed Italian bidder on the floor, and the pictures, which each measure 60 by 91 inches, are headed back to Italy.
The two-day sale beneath a tent was surprisingly comfortable. Kaminski had set up plenty of gas heaters, which kept the space quite cozy despite winter’s first blast of the season. The tent was filled to capacity on the first day of the sale; even more wintry conditions on the next day thinned things out a bit.
Emile Gruppe’s “Bass Rocks” in Gloucester elicited $4,830, and his “Vermont Birches” brought $2,185 from an online buyer. Both were signed and authenticated by his son Robert Gruppe, whose “Eastern Point Yacht Club,” also in Gloucester, sold for $2,530.
A Nineteenth Century French portrait of a woman in a blue dress that had Boston Art Club provenance and had been part of the collection at the Women’s City Club of Boston realized $2,990. A scene with a shepherd and his flock by Belgian artist Franz M. de Beul sold for $4,600, while a late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century Dutch scene of a shipwreck was initialed “L B” and sold for $4,025.
An Eighteenth Century portrait of a gentleman by English artist James Bickerstaffe realized $2,760, and an Eighteenth Century oil on board portrait of an English gentleman with a ruffled collar went for $2,300.
An oil on board depiction of horses and riders by William Meyerowitz sold for $2,300, while a Nineteenth Century Austrian painting of men on horseback by Otto Ritter von Thoren sold for $2,415. A Dutch Old Master-style oil on wood panel portrait of a lady realized $2,703.
A few out of the ordinary pieces drew good responses: a framed crayon and graphite study for the ceiling of the Paris opera house by Paul Baudry sold for $1,640, and a Nineteenth Century Chinese carved teakwood cabinet with a dragon and floral decoration drew $7,475.
Non-Western pieces included an Inuit carving of a hunter hauling a seal from beneath the ice that realized $2,070, and an Inuit carving of a hunter carrying a seal sold for $1,265. A Nineteenth Century Tibetan gilt bronze figure of a three-headed deity seated on a double lotus throne was $1,150.
Several ceramic pieces exceeded their estimates, leaving the tent in collectors’ hands. A large Acoma pot, circa 1890‱910, that measured 9½ by 12½ inches with a 6¾-inch opening sold to the trade for $6,613, against the estimated $2/3,000. A late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century Italian glazed pottery ewer with a broken handle and chips to the base went to a European dealer for $5,175, far exceeding the $500/800 estimate.
A Nineteenth Century English Staffordshire blue transfer ware covered tureen on a tray with a ladle sold for $4,600. The tureen was marked “Dix Cove on the Gold Coast of Africa” and the tray was marked “View of Dublin.” A lot of about 77 pieces of Royal Crown Derby porcelain in Imari decoration sold for $1,955.
A pretty pair of Nineteenth Century French bisque figural vases, one of which was missing a thumb, sold to the New York trade for $3,565, and a 15½-inch T and V Limoges tray, hand painted with pink and scarlet roses, which was estimated at $200/400, realized $1,640 from a Michigan buyer. A Marblehead Pottery vase by Hannah Tutt decorated with a tree motif sold for $2,070.
Then a Chinese blue and white vase decorated with a man on horseback and two female figures in an extensive landscape realized $2,415, while a pair of Nineteenth Century Chinese blue and white porcelain plaques sold for $2,530.
A Grueby Pottery fireplace surround with peach blossoms on a gray ground had some condition problems, but was still impressive. The surround came from a Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., house that was being demolished and sold for $2,070.
Furniture also drew some competition when an Eighteenth Century Massachusetts Queen Anne walnut highboy went to $5,750. An early Nineteenth Century Salem Hepplewhite mahogany swell front chest of drawers with Crowninshield provenance attracted $3,450. A Nineteenth Century mahogany four-drawer chest with cookie corners went for $1,840, and a Boston Sheraton mahogany two-drawer worktable attributed to the Seymour workshop sold for $1,265.
An English Georgian mahogany gateleg table with three leaves and a total of eight turned legs realized $3,450. An Eighteenth Century Italian pair of side tables with inlay and two drawers each fetched $3,335; an Eighteenth Century Italian or Spanish walnut trestle table sold for $1,955. An Eighteenth Century Italian paint decorated cabinet with putti realized $1,955, and an Eighteenth Century English parquetry cabinet, circa 1800, was also $1,955.
An early Nineteenth Century Anglo Indian console table carved with birds and exotic animals, accompanied by a Nineteenth Century photograph of the table in a house, sold for $2,185. A Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century Continental baroque walnut armchair with needlepoint upholstery attracted $1,208; a Continental baroque trestle table of the same period was $1,093.
A late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century short sword signed “Gray’s, Bond Street” sold for $1,150, as did a Nineteenth Century English dress sword in gilt bronze and steel. A Seventeenth Century English hand hammered steel halberd drew $1,093.
A pair of Spanish wrought iron torchère lamps with mica shades that had been purchased at an auction of the collection of Walter P. Chrysler Jr sold here for $3,220. A pair of Nineteenth Century bronze and marble pedestals that were purchased originally in Ireland went for $1,265. Purchased in London, a Nineteenth Century giltwood mirror with a pierced shellwork crest and sold for $2,300.
A Seventeenth Century English horn book, circa 1680, had been part of the Philadelphia collection of Henry Stauffer Borneman. It was discovered at a Long Beach, Calif., flea market, and sold to a collector for $6,900. The book contained the alphabet and prayers and was impressed with an image of St George and the dragon.
A tinted ambrotype image of James Sharples’s painting of George Washington was accompanied by a document identifying it as a “Copy of an original portrait of Genl. Washington drawn in crayon by Sharples of Philadelphia. The General, at the request of R. Peters, submitted to sit for this picture as a memorial of a long and uninterrupted friendship.” The lot went to an Internet buyer for $1,725.
An early Twentieth Century Russian gold cigarette case attributed to Fabergé realized $6,900. A Russian gold necklace of ten graduated coral cameos sold for $5,175, and a Russian gold brooch in the form of a beetle with a guilloche enamel body set with diamonds went for $2,875.
A five-piece English sterling silver tea set by Starr and Marcus sold for $2,933. A Gorham sterling flatware service for 12 in the Chantilly pattern sold for $1,495, and an early Eighteenth Century Georgian silver coffee pot went for the same price.
A bronze bust signed by Nineteenth Century sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier was $2,990, and a Nineteenth Century Italian carved marble figure of a young woman with a harp brought $2,760.
A Steinway upright piano and bench purchased a decade ago from M. Steinert and Sons in Boston sold for $4,255. Rounding out this eclectic auction, an Emile Jumeau bisque bébé with a closed mouth and mohair hair was marked “Jumeau, Medal d’Or, Paris” and fetched $1,495.
All prices quoted reflect the 15 percent buyer’s premium. For additional information, www.kaminskiauctions.com or 978-927-2223.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm