The sale provides a snapshot of eclectic 19th century tastes in furniture and decorative arts. Headlining the sale is a curated selection from the Townshend Estate of New Haven, Connecticut, featuring Victorian furniture, fine paintings, and European porcelain. In addition, a collection from a New England institution features Russian and Viennese enamels, fine art glass highlighted by Webb and Tiffany, bronze sculpture, and a selection of Asian works of art.
Historic Heirlooms: The Townshend Collection
Spanning five generations and more than 200 years of family history, the Townshend Estate at 709 Townsend Avenue in New Haven is a local landmark. The Townshend family purchased the original 79 acres of farmland in 1798 and erected the main house in 1804. The farm remained active through the 19th century, noted for their prized oxen. In 1858, the family expanded the house and updated it to match the Victorian style of the time, adding the cupola and the gingerbread exterior still present today.
The last owners, Henry Townshend Jr. and Doris B. Townshend, lived in the house for more than 60 years, raising their five children. Active in the local community, Henry Jr. served as an alderman for New Haven for many years and twice ran for mayor. Along with his work as a proprietor of the New Haven Green and a Trustee of the Union Trust Co., among other positions, Henry Jr. bred and trained English setters for competition. Though the Townshend Estate is now entering a new chapter separate from the family, the home still retains its character and serves as a memorial to the family’s legacy.
The Townshend Estate showcases Victorian furniture as well as an eclectic mix of decorative arts. Highlights from this portion of the sale include a carved stag marble-top sideboard, a suite of J. & J.W. Meeks Stanton Hall Pattern rosewood seating, a Capodimonte covered vase, and a pair of faience pottery character busts of a smoking couple.
A number of paintings and prints reflecting the local landscape of New Haven also come from the estate, including a pair of oil paintings by Christopher Pearse Cranch (American, 1813-1892), titled East Rock and West Rock, depicting the iconic rocky outcroppings that flank New Haven.
Other Auction Highlights
Decorative arts featured in the sale include Russian enamels, fine art glass, and European porcelain. Highlights include a Russian .875 silver-gilt and cloisonne enameled salt cellar in the shape of a chair, a Thomas Webb & Sons cameo glass vase, and a Royal Vienna porcelain tea service with tray.
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