ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A pair of handsome, centuries-old chambers that served for a time as executive dining rooms for Schenley Imports Company, the former New York City-based liquor company in the Empire State Building, and then later exhibited at the St. Petersburg Museum in Florida, will be part of a massive, 600-lot auction slated for October 18 by Burchard Galleries. Start time is 12 noon. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
“This is the best auction in the 35-year history of Burchard Galleries,” said Jeffrey Burchard, owner of Burchard Galleries. “We’re offering lifelong collections of important treasures, plus the contents of a Lake Hollingsworth mansion in Lakeland.” The catalog is jam-packed with Tiffany art glass and lamps, Steuben pieces and Russian sterling silver objets de vertu, including Faberge.
The list continues with important paintings, prints and sculptures by listed artists, to include Anthony Thieme (Dutch, 1888-1954) and Peter Max (German-American, b. 1937-), plus vintage lamps and lighting, two large Stella music boxes, European porcelains, Galle, Moser, Baccarat, Lalique, Sevres, Dresden, Meissen, capo-di-monte and even a 1901 Stieff/Shaw grand piano.
Also offered will be antique Chinese carved jade, snuff bottles, important grandfather clocks, elegant 1920s French dining and bedroom furnishings, KPM porcelain plaques, Asian bronzes, Mougin Brothers French pottery, miniature clocks, vintage Victorian and Deco purses, African masks, sterling silver services, estate Oriental carpets, diamond watches and palatial chandeliers.
But the auction’s undisputed headliners are the so-called Schenley Rooms, which came into existence in England long before the company was founded. They are true gems of English Georgian and Jacobean décor. The historic chambers were painstakingly taken apart, crated and brought over to the New World, to typify what company officials called “Schenley elegance.”
One of the rooms, called the Georgian Room, was built during the Georgian period (1714-1830), during the reign of the Georges. The circa 1740 room is fully paneled, with a fireplace mantel, and surrounds a 560-square-foot area. It was originally from the Bull Inn, Guild Hall, London.
The Jacobean Room (shown at top of page) dates to the Jacobean Age, which began in 1603 with the death of Queen Elizabeth I. The 350-square-foot room, with stained glass windows and a fireplace, dates to 1610 and undoubtedly came from a typical early Jacobean, many gabled house, in the heart of London.
Around 1960, when Schenley moved its headquarters from the Empire State Building to new quarters in Rockefeller Center, the decision was made to not provide space for the new rooms. That’s when Theodore “Ted” Wiehe, Schenley vice president, approached officials at the soon-to-be-built St. Petersburg Museum if they’d like to exhibit the rooms, and they quickly agreed.
The rest of the auction catalog may not have as colorful a back story as the Schenley Rooms, but they’re no less important. The 15 art glass lamps include wonderful examples by Tiffany & Co., Handel, Duffner & Kimberly, LeGras, Schneider, E. Miller and others. Also offered will be Satsuma porcelains, Ginbari cloisonne and more than 100 perfume bottles and large factices.
The list of noted, listed artists is lengthy and includes names like Robert Butler, Jim Carson, Ted Coconis, Henry Robertson Craig, Edward Curtis, Herbert Laurence Davidson, Pierre De Belay, Robert Elwell, Vassily Grachev, Patrick Hennessy, Eugene Lancerag, Nikolai Lieberich (bronze bear), Josef Lorenzl, Pierre Jules Mene, Alphonse Mucha, Walter Schott and Syd Solomon.
Other artists include David Stribbling, David Tutwiler, David Wilkie, David Bruno Zach and others. The more than 75 pieces of fine estate jewelry will feature diamond brooches and rings, Mexican and Southwest Indian jewelry, Orianne gemstone jewelry, an emerald and diamond bracelet and more. Also sold will be Russian icons, Japanese watercolors and Asian bronzes.