Published: December 9, 2003
-Christie’s auction of American Furniture deaccessioned from Stratford Hall Plantation generated quite a bit of interest from dealers, collectors and institutions with hefty, and even sometimes record, prices established.
The sale, which took place on December 4, was unusual in that it offered just six lots, all of which sold, grossing $2,688,200.
“The success of this sale is a tribute to the discerning eye and careful collecting of Caroline Ryan Foulke, and we are honored to have represented Stratford Hall Plantation with this highly important consignment,” said Andrew Brunk, head of Christie’s American furniture and decorative arts department.
Stratford Hall Plantation was the home of General Robert E. Lee and four subsequent generations of Lee’s family. The six pieces of furniture were deaccessioned as the plantation is embarking on a new interpretation of the historic great house.
The objective, according to the catalog is, “To depict the various periods of Lee Family occupation at Stratford Hall Plantation as accurately as current scholarship, research, technology and preservation standards will allow.”
Tied as the top lot of the sale was the Waln-Ryerss family Queen Anne carved mahogany side chair of Philadelphia origin that had carving attributed to the Garvan Carver, circa 1760.
Bidding on the lot was active with it selling well above estimates at $679,500, establishing a world auction record for a Queen Anne side chair. The chair was reportedly purchased by Alan Miller on behalf of a client.
“The Garvan Carver” is a nickname for an unidentified master craftsman who worked in Philadelphia in the 1750s and 1760s whose work has been identified on some of the city’s finest furniture, including the high-chest of drawers at Yale in the Garvan Collection. The carving style is described as “particularly distinctive at the leaf tips which are twisted at their ends and embellished with fine cross-hatching.”
A Philadelphia Chippendale carved mahogany pie crust tea table with carving also attributed to the Garvan Carver, circa 1755-1765, carried a $600/900,000 estimate. The table is regarded as being among the finest examples of the form that survives the Chippendale period. The table, illustrated in Albert Sack’s Fine Points of American Furniture, sold at $679,500 to a private buyer.
“We are also thrilled that the General John Cadwalader Chippendale carved mahogany hairy paw foot side chair is returning to Philadelphia, where it was originally made in 1770,” stated Brunk. “It will be reunited with many other Cadwalader furnishings in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.”
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