A 17¾-by-23¾-inch folk art painting was the top seller at the Americana Week auctions in New York last month, outperforming masterpieces of Rhode Island and Connecticut 18th-century furniture.
“Penn’s Treaty,” a depiction by Edward Hicks (1780-1849) of the iconic American legend of William Penn’s treaty with Delaware tribal chiefs, sold at Christie’s for $2,546,500, more than quadrupling the low of its $600,000-
The oil on canvas painting by the Bucks County, Pa., sign painter, who is said to have taught the gospel with his paint brush after becoming a Quaker minister, descended in the family to his great grandson Robert W. Carle of South Salem, Conn., who bequeathed it to the Yale University Art Gallery. It later was purchased by a US collector.
The two top-selling pieces of furniture were a circa 1770 Newport mahogany Chippendale block-and-shell bureau table and a circa 1765-75 Connecticut cherrywood blockfront desk-and-bookcase. The bureau table, signed by John Townsend, arguably America’s greatest Colonial cabinetmaker, sold at Christie’s for $2,210,500 against a $700,000-$900,000 estimate, and the desk-and-bookcase, one of the earliest known blockfront pieces from the Connecticut River Valley, sold at Sotheby’s for $1,082,500 against a $200,000-
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Boston offerings also were among the top sellers, four on Christie’s top 10 list and five on Sotheby’s top 10 list.
At Christie’s, a 1740-60 Queen Anne tea table with slides, a rare survival of the most highly developed form of Queen Anne tea tables made in 18th- century Boston, brought $962,500, the auction’s third highest price. A Federal white-painted and parcel-gilt eglomise girandole wall clock by Lemuel Curtis of Concord fetched the fourth highest price, $578,500.
The seventh and eighth highest prices were for a circa 1740 Boston Queen Anne japanned bonnet-top high chest-of-drawers ($362,500) and a circa 1730-50 Boston Queen Anne tray-top tea table ($290,500).
Also among Christie’s top 10 was the 1735-43 New Hampshire Queen Anne carved maple armchair, attributed to John Gaines III of Portsmouth, that brought the auction’s fifth highest price of $542,500.
Topping the 59 lots of silver was the circa 1782 drum-form teapot with the mark of Paul Revere Jr. and a “CC” monogram that sold to a US foundation for $230,500 against a $150,000-
A tiny circa 1765-70 teabowl, just 1⅝ inches high and 3⅛ inches in diameter, recently identified as an example of the earliest porcelain made in Colonial America, brought $146,500 against a $30,000-$50,000 estimate.
The 111 lots of Chinese export art were topped by a rare pair of mid-18th century Famille Rose porcelain fishbowls, each 23½ inches in diameter, that sold for $266,500 against a $100,000-$150,000 estimate.
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Sotheby’s Americana Auction, led by the Connecticut desk-and-bookcase that brought $1.1 million, saw a watercolor drawing of the Washington family on the terrace at Mount Vernon bring the second highest price of $602,500.
The 16-by-24-inch drawing by the English-born architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820), dated July 16, 1796, was presented to President Washington as a thank you for his visit to Mount Vernon at the invitation of his nephew Bushrod Washington.
The drawing descended in the family of John Augustine Washington III (1821-61), the great-grand-nephew of the first president and the last of the Washingtons to live at Mount Vernon. The drawing is now back there, having been purchased at the auction by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, the oldest national historic preservation organization in the United States.
The auction’s fourth highest price was the $182,500 paid for a circa 1705-16 Boston upholstered armchair, one of fewer than 10 surviving examples with carved crest and front stretchers. The estimate was $15,000-$30,000. A circa 1770 Chippendale chest-on-chest attributed to the Charlestown cabinetmaker Benjamin Frothingham sold for $194,500, topping the 154 lots in Dr. Larry McCallister’s collection of 18th- and early-19th-century furniture.
Other top Boston sellers from the collection included a circa 1810 gilded and carved wood gallery clock, the works attributed to Simon Willard and the carving to Salem’s Samuel McIntire ($74,500), and two pairs of circa 1804 side chairs and a small sideboard with tambour doors, all three lots attributed to the father and son Boston cabinetmakers John and Thomas Seymour. One pair of chairs brought $68,500 and the other $34,375, the same price paid for the sideboard.
A circa 1810 Portsmouth, N.H., work table sold for $80,500 against a $15,000-$30,000 estimate.
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A circa 1800 preening eider drake and an illustration for Scribner’s October 1911 issue, were the top sellers at the Copley Fine Art Auctions Winter Sale in New York last month.
The circa 1900 drake by Augustus Aaron Wilson, Maine’s premier decoy carver, and the oil painting by Norwich, Conn.-born Philip R. Goodwin each sold within their estimates, the decoy bringing $172,500 (estimate $150,000-
$250,000) and “October Hunting” $161,000 ($125,000-$175,000).
Decoy records were set for a Ward Brothers broadbill drake carved in 1936 by Lemuel and Stephen Ward of Cris-field, Md., that sold for $51,750 and for a turning bluebill drake carved around 1900 by Ira D. Hudson of Chincoteague, Va., that sold for $48,875.
Among decoys that sold above their estimates were a circa 1900 pintail pair (drake and hen) by Charles Schoenhei-der Sr. of Peoria, Ill. ($54,625 against a $25,000-$35,000 estimate) and a circa 1910 redhead drake by A. Elmer Crowell ($43,125 against $20,000-$40,000), which had retained the original $24 price handwritten on the bottom.
Paintings that sold above their estimates included Harry Adamson’s “Medina County Impressions” ($43,125 against $20,000-$25,000), Lynn Bogue Hunt’s “Grapes and Grains” ($28,750 against $10,000-$20,000) and Carl Rungius’s 8-by-10-inch mountain landscape ($18,400 against $8,000-
CLARIFICATION: Because of an editing error in last Sunday’s Antiques, John McInnis’s Presidential Auction featuring JFK memorabilia was reported set for the wrong date in a caption. It will be next Sunday, as the story reported.