Antiques & Collectibles: Amid mighty icons, a boy from folk art

Rembrandt Peale’s 1857 portrait of George Washington, a copy of the original portrait he painted in 1795 when he was 17, is expected to bring $150,000-$200,000 at James D. Julia’s Fine Art, Asian, & Antiques Auction next week.
Rembrandt Peale’s 1857 portrait of George Washington, a copy of the original portrait he painted in 1795 when he was 17, is expected to bring $150,000-$200,000 at James D. Julia’s Fine Art, Asian, & Antiques Auction next week.

A Rembrandt Peale portrait of George Washington, a unique Lincoln commemorative screen, and an 18th-century Chinese imperial gilt-bronze seal are among the highlights of James D. Julia’s End-of-Summer Auction Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m. at its Fairfield, Maine, gallery.

The 2,800-lot Fine Art, Asian & Antiques Auction opens with the sale of 600 American and European works of art topped by the Peale portrait. It is from a collection of 32 paintings from an Augusta, Maine, estate and expected to bring $150,000-$200,000.

Signed by Peale (1778-1860), the painting is inscribed in pencil on the back of the canvas liner “Painted by Rembrandt Peale 1857 from original portrait of Washington 1795.”


Peale, who learned to paint under the tutelage of his father, the portrait artist Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), was 17 when Washington permitted him to paint his portrait. Rembrandt had accompanied his father, who was painting his seventh portrait of Washington from life, to the sitting.

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Rembrandt Peale was 79 when he painted the 1857 copy of his 1795 portrait, and although he lived only three more years, he replicated the copy a number of times. The copy being sold is accompanied with a 1994 purchase invoice from the consignor indicating the portrait descended through the Romanov family of Russia.

Other important paintings from the Maine collection include “Thunderheads Over Beach With Breaking Waves” ($50,000-$75,000 estimate) by the Philadelphia-born artist William Trost Richards (1833-1905) and two snow scenes with estimates of $50,000-$70,000 and $40,000-$60,000 by Russian-born Ivan Federovich Choultse (1877-1932), who served as court painter to Czar Nicholas II.

Among the highlights of Wednesday’s session are the Lincoln screen, a collection of early silver from the First Congregational Church, Woburn, a rare terrestrial globe, and an exceptional black folk art carving.

The 19th-century 74-inch wooden floor screen with a carved bust of President Lincoln in profile framed by four crossed US flags and commemorating his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation has a $15,000-$25,000 estimate.


The group of six silver beakers and two two-handle cups, which is being sold by the 371-year-old Woburn church to make improvements to its fifth and present building, has estimates ranging from $10,000-$12,000 for a circa 1740 beaker made by the Boston silversmith Jacob Hurd (1702/03-58) to $600-$800 for a circa 1741 beaker made by John Burt (1692/93-1745/46).

The rare terrestrial globe, made around 1811 in Bradford, Vt., by James Wilson (1763-1835), the first commercial globe maker in the United States, is one of Wilson’s earliest dated globes and expected to bring $30,000-$50,000. A farmer with little formal education, Wilson became interested in cartography after moving from Londonderry, N.H., to Vermont in 1796. That interest turned to globes after he saw a pair of European terrestrial and celestial globes at Dartmouth College and decided to make globes. His first 13-inch-diameter globes sold in Boston for $50, and by 1818 Wilson and his sons had established a globe-making factory in Albany, N.Y.

The four-foot-high black folk art carving of a smiling seated boy, from the late 19th or early 20th century, is expected to bring $30,000-$40,000.

Thursday’s session features 10 lots (some with four and five pieces) of Louis Vuitton steamer trunks and suitcases, the luxury luggage made in France since 1854. The oldest piece of luggage in the sale is a steamer trunk once owned by Hannibal Hamlin, the Bangor native who served as vice president in Lincoln’s first term. It has a $5,000-
$10,000 estimate.

More than 1,200 lots of Asian antiques and works of art will be sold in two sessions, Thursday at 1 p.m. and Friday at 10 a.m. A highlight is the historic imperial gilt-bronze seal dated to the third year (1738-39) of Emperor Ch’ien Lung’s rule and made for the Plain White Banner, one of the Eight Banners of the Manchu military system. The seal was consigned by the nephew of the late Rear Admiral William A. Sullivan (1894-1985), a Lawrence native, who spent time in China before the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45). The estimate is $20,000-


Other highlights include a 19th-century 6¼-inch carved agarwood brush pot ($30,000-$35,000) and a pair of antique Chinese huanghuali horseshoe-back armchairs ($100,000-$125,000).

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The USS Constitution Museum, a treasure trove of artifacts that help preserve the past of Old Ironsides, is making it possible for the public to own a piece of the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat.

The museum has issued a commemorative medallion crafted entirely of copper removed from the hull of the frigate when it underwent restoration in the 1970s.

“What makes this collector’s medallion even more unique is that it is the first of its kind that not only honors the legendary strength of the USS Constitution but also the fierce courage of her crew,” said Anne Grimes Rand, president of the museum located in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Among the museum’s artifacts are the sea bag, powder horn, and leather trunk that belonged to John Lord, a gunner on the Constitution between 1824 and 1828. A design featuring a crossed cannon and anchor spanning a pyramid of cannonballs and the letters “U.S.N.” on Lord’s belongings has been reproduced on the reverse side of the medallion. The design is thought possibly to have been Lord’s personal logo.

The obverse side depicts the USS Constitution under full sale with the words “USS Constitution” and “Old Ironsides” ringing the image, which was inspired by an oil painting by the Boston marine artist Marshall Johnson (1850-1921) . The painting is in the museum’s collection.

Each medallion is sealed in an acrylic holder placed inside a box with the Johnson painting reproduced on the cover. The price of the medallion is $27.95.

To order, visit www.ussconstitu; or e-mail giftshop
@constitutionmuseum. org; orwrite Gift Shop, USS Constitution Museum, PO Box 291812, Charlestown, MA 02129.

Virginia Bohlin can be reached at vbohl