Published: August 10, 2010
A beautiful pair of huanghuali Chinese folding hunting chairs with hemp seats and brass trim sold for $26,880 at a sale of the estate of the late Dr Kevin-John McIntyre, conducted June 12 by Finney’s Auction Service.
Huanghuali is a Chinese term that literally means yellow flowering pear wood. It is a member of the rosewood family. Most huanghuali furniture was manufactured from the mid-Ming dynasty to the late Qianlong dynasty. Over time, the materials needed to make huanghuali pieces gradually disappeared. What survives today is highly prized by collectors of huanghuali.
The hunting chairs were the top lot of the sale, at which hundreds of fresh-to-the-market items crossed the block. Over the course of McIntyre’s rich and distinguished life, he amassed impressive collections of Oriental antiquities, European art, nautical items and rare antiques. All of these were auctioned without reserve.
“By any measure, this sale was a success,” said Sharon Finney of Finney’s Auction Service. “We had 118 onsite registered bidders, 150 phone bidders and 189 people registered to bid online. Bids poured in literally from around the world. The items included Asian furniture and artifacts, telescopes, scientific items, early maps, erotica and art.”
McIntyre’s career included stints as senior vice president of The Discovery Channel-Asia, university professor, foreign service diplomat, documentary filmmaker and authority on Asian culture. He wrote and produced a six-part film series titled Artifacts, which detailed the history of porcelain, calligraphy, architecture, metallurgy, woodblock printing and silk in Asia.
Other huanghuali pieces included a glass-top table 86 inches long, with eight round leg chairs, two with arms, $10,800; an altar table with two drawers, $1,344; a canted display cabinet with two small drawers under the shelf, $3,920; a Ming hoof foot day bed, $3,080; a two-door cupboard with brass backplate and dragon figures, $2,800; and a design cabinet, $2,240.
A pair of circa 1725 celestial and terrestrial globes went for $4,480. The globes, each measuring 20 inches tall, came with mahogany stands and a travel log from 1925, when repair work was done. The stands were circa 1967. A cartouche on the globe read “By B. Martin, Fleet Street.” Also, an early 1700s armillary sphere on a wood turned base gaveled for $4,480.
An original oil on canvas landscape painting by the French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796‱875), 7½ by 11 inches, signed by the artist and housed in a gilt frame, rose to $5,040, while an oil on canvas painting by English landscape artist Sidney Percy (1821‱886), titled “Grazing” and measuring 14 by 20 inches, signed and framed, commanded $4,760.
An 1854 oil on board painting of a field landscape by the American painter William Stanley Haseltine (1835‱900), signed, 13 by 15½ inches, housed in a gilt frame, climbed to $2,520. Also, an early painting of a Chinese seaport topped out at $3,640, and an embroidered Chinese silk panel, circa 1785, titled “Long Pao,” 83 inches by 62 inches, framed, realized $1,400.
A late Ming dynasty Jing du Jiang blue and white bowl, 16 inches in diameter, breezed to $4,760; a 16-inch Oriental vase with peacocks and birds demanded $2,520; a 12-inch Asian blue and white floral vase went to a determined bidder for $3,080; and a blue and white Oriental lamp, 14 inches in height, with six character marks had paddles waging before hitting $3,920.
One lot consisting of a framed jade Kang cylinder, circa 550 BC, a jade bi disk (nephrite, circa 950 BC), and a Kang cylinder, circa 720 AD, together brought $1,400. Also, a chronometer pocket watch by Ulysses Nordin, numbered on the face (#124598), in a gorgeous presentation wood box, wowed the crowd before selling for a respectable $4,144.
All prices quoted include a 12 percent buyer’s premium.
Finney’s Auction Service’s next big sale is tentatively slated for September, with a date and time still to be determined. For information, www.finneysauction.com or 518-479-4371.
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