Published: March 23, 2004
Three paintings by New Bedford artist and Hudson River school painter Charles H. Gifford topped the action at Willis Henry’s February 21 sale.
The oil on canvas of two sailing vessels before a cliff, perhaps Gay Head, in an approaching squall in the original heavy gilt frame sold for $21,275. The 1887 “Sunset – Launching a Dutch Boat,” painted after Gifford had moved from New York to his hometown, New Bedford, sold for $20,700. The picture, also in the original gilt frame, may have been a view of Gay Head.
The third picture, a Gifford that was unsigned, depicted two dory men hauling nets, and brought $11,113. All three paintings came from the estate of J.C. Rhodes, whose New Bedford plants made the metal grommets and eyelets that he developed. All sold to the same dealer bidding by telephone.
A Nineteenth Century oil on canvas river scene with Native Americans on horses by Alvan Fisher sold after a lively phone-bidding contest for $15,425. The painting bore his initials and may have been signed indistinctly in the lower right. It came from the Duxbury Historical Society and had a 1974 Museum of Fine Arts exhibit label.
A collection of sketchbooks that included watercolors and oil sketches made in the 1860s and 1870s by George F. Child of Boston brought $5,180. The sketchbooks, which came from the Cape Cod estate of Ann Treat Reynolds, who was related to Child, comprised views of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and Cape Ann.
An 1873 signed still life of a trout with a fly in the foreground by Boston artist Walter M. Brackett, known for his paintings of fish and game, sold for $2,415. A folk art painting of sailing ships on an arctic sea bearing the initials “L.G.” and set in a gilt frame brought $1,208.
A banjo clock made in Newport, R.I., by Job B. Wilbour, decorated with a street scene with soldiers, and signed along the glass throat by David Williams of Newport brought $11,788. The clock came from a South Shore consignor who was a descendant of Williams.
Accessories of interest included a plump 28-inch full-bodied cow weathervane with a zinc head and udders mounted on copper balls that brought $4,600. Another was the framed sampler worked by Maria Wood Brandon in 1822 with a border of green vines and tendrils alternating with thistles and flowers and featuring the sun and the moon, blackbirds and a house amid pines with deer, butterflies and birds of paradise that sold for $3,795.
Auctioneer Will Henry maintained a running commentary as he sold, adding nuggets of information about the objects, pointing out features and flaws on many pieces. Karel Henry managed the phones and some of the absentee bids.
A handsome Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania treenware sugar bowl sold on the telephone for $3,385, and a Nineteenth Century tiger maple knife box with gracefully scalloped and canted sides and dovetailed joints went to a pleased buyer for $1,208.
An early Nineteenth Century pine creamery cupboard had traces of original red paint, a heavy molded top and panel doors and was found in Winchester, Va. It realized $2,760.
Two Eighteenth Century Rhode Island seven-drawer tall chests, both in original red paint and from the same home, went to dealers. Newcastle, N.H., dealer Richard Kenney paid $3,910 for the example with original brasses, and Reading, Mass., dealer Carl Stinson bought the one with wooden pulls and the remains of a bracket base for $3,220. A custom Newport-style three-drawer chest with shell carving brought $2,415 from a Vermont dealer on the phone.
Four Eighteenth Century tavern tables were offered. A Queen Anne maple and pine example with a rectangular top, a deep carved skirt and splayed legs brought $2,300. A New England Queen Anne maple example with a round top brought $1,955. Both came from a Great Falls, Mont., estate. A Queen Anne maple tavern table with an oval top, splayed legs, vase and ring turned legs and box stretchers fetched $3,680. A New England maple and pine example with a stretcher base and a pine single-board breadboard top, a single dovetailed drawer on tall turned feet sold on the phone for $2,875.
An Eighteenth Century Governor Winthrop desk in snazzy tiger maple with two secret drawers within its cubbyhole interior sold to Carl Stinson for $3,163.
Three nice blanket chests crossing the block included an Eighteenth Century Rhode Island example painted fancifully with cream waves on a pale salmon ground that sold for $1,265. An Eighteenth Century Rhode Island bridal chest in the original red paint with the painted legend on the bottom, “J. D. Teech, 1808, H. Ephram, Smithfield,” fetched $575. A Rhode Island pine blanket chest in old red paint and dated 1829 realized $633.
Eighteenth Century Windsor chairs were plentiful. A late New England bow back example in old black paint, with an “H” stretcher base was $1,898, and a bow back armchair in early brown paint with bamboo turned legs and shaped arms realized $575.
A continuous armchair with a saddle seat was $920, and a New England brace back bow back example went for $690, as did another in black paint.
The 16-inch figure of “The Eagle and The Child,” inspired by the painting of the same name by George Dawe and the melodrama A Mother’s Courage performed at the Britannia Theatre in Hoxton, England, October 10, 1859, brought $1,610. Lady and gentleman riding goats drew $920, and a colorful pair of parrots on green branches realized $805.
Other objects of interest from the Montana collectors included an Eighteenth Century New England trestle foot hutch table in original red paint that they bought from John Walton in 1976. It sold this time for $4,600 and was accompanied by the 1976 bill of sale.
A pair of Chinese temple urns with battle scenes and fancy gilt decoration on a deep blue ground sold for $2,300, while an early Chinese blanc de chine jar with a carved wood top sold for $633. Both rdf_Descriptions came from the same Duxbury, Mass., home.
All prices quoted reflect the flat 15 percent buyer’s premium.
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