Published: February 25, 2003
BOSTON, MASS. — A William and Mary highboy in burled walnut veneer and tiger maple more than doubled presale estimates at Skinner’s auction of American Furniture and Decorative Arts this past Sunday, February 23, as it sold for $127,000, including premium.
From either Boston or the North Shore, circa 1700-1730, this piece was consigned by an elderly couple that believed it to have a single-family history. Provenance listed the highboy as having descended in the family of Nathan Smith (1702-1787) Groton, Conn., since the Eighteenth Century.
Stephen Fletcher, Skinner’s Americana specialist, commented that he was extremely pleased with the auction overall, but especially with the results of the highboy.
“This was the nicest example of the form that we have ever sold,” he said, further stating that many William and Mary highboys are often perceived as blocky or squat in form. “The cabinetmaker must have been inherently aware of the deficiencies in design when he made this piece, because this one is much more vertical. It had a highly developed base section with a well-proportioned arched apron that added to the wonderful lift of the highboy. It is one of the prettiest examples we have ever seen or had the good fortune to sell.”
A complete review of the sale will appear in a future issue.
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