Kenneth Hill Sr. maritime collection to sail auction waters at Heritage

Montague Dawson’s ‘Night Suspect,’ estimated at $150,000-$250,000

Montague Dawson’s ‘Night Suspect,’ estimated at $150,000-$250,000

DALLAS – Kenneth Hill, Sr. turned his love of the water into a lifetime of collecting. The Fort Worth, Texas resident and retired pharmaceutical pioneer sought only the finest examples of maritime fine art and antiques to complete a truly outstanding collection ranging from ship models, including a coveted Napoleonic prisoner-of-war ship carved from bone, to masterpiece paintings by Montague Dawson and Franz Richard Unterberger.

“Hill’s astute collector’s eye pursued objects rarely seen outside of institutions,” said Michelle Castro, Director of Trusts & Estates at Heritage Auctions. “His taste was impeccable and now his collection is ready for an entirely new generation of connoisseurs.”

“Hill’s estate will be presented across three auctions. Highlights first appear in Heritage’s Automobilia, Transport History and Mechanical Models Auction, May 25 and an important group of paintings will be offered in the firm’s European Art Auction, June 4 and objects of Decorative Art will be offered June 22.” Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers for the May 25 and June 4 sales.

Kenneth Alan Hill, Sr. was born in Texas to a third-generation ranching family in 1941. Growing up in West Texas, Hill and his two brothers worked cattle on a 20,000-acre ranch during the 1940s and 1950s. Hill attended the University of Texas at Austin and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy in December 1971.

Ken’s waterside residences on Texas’ Possum Kingdom Lake and on Miami’s Venetian Islands inspired his passion for collecting maritime art and objects. Each house was meticulously curated with the finest antique furnishings and marine style paintings purchased from his travels.

His Miami home included an eclectic mix of Versace furnishings paired with glimmering Venetian scene paintings by Felix Ziem and Antonio Maria de Reyna. Driven by a playful spirit and a love of the sea, Hill blended modern, colorful design with 18th- and 19th-century paintings and ship models.

Carved bone Napoleonic prisoner-of-war ship HMS Alexander model, estimated at $15,000-$20,000

Carved bone Napoleonic prisoner-of-war ship HMS Alexander model, estimated at $15,000-$20,000

A number of Napoleonic prisoner-of-war ship models are featured in the May 25 auction. A rare find is a carved wood Napoleonic prisoner-of-war ship model, dating to circa 1795-1815, and a carved bone Napoleonic prisoner-of-war ship HMS Alexander model from circa 1795-1815. This last carries an estimate of $15,000-$20,000. Hill’s diverse collection also includes a fascinating American engraved New London Piquot Harbor lighthouse powder horn with mahogany and glass case, estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

Later in his life, Ken settled into a historic Fort Worth home that exuded sophistication and luxury. In an effort to remain connected to nature, he acquired marine masterpieces by Montague Dawson and Franz Richard Unterberger. Elaborate mirrors, candelabras, fine china, and silver graced nearly every room in his palatial estate, but the true showstopper was a pair of bronze patinated horse chandeliers signed by Francois Linke, one of the most important furniture makers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

American engraved New London Piquot Harbor lighthouse powder horn, estimated at $2,000-$3,000

American engraved New London Piquot Harbor lighthouse powder horn, estimated at $2,000-$3,000

“Ken was a man who let his passions dictate what he collected,” Castro said. “The joy he felt out on the water was a feeling he sought to replicate through his art collection.”

Among the fine art that embodied his passion for the open sea is Montague Dawson’s 1958 work Night Suspect, estimated at $150,000-$250,000, which comes to auction for the first time in more than a decade. Two additional works by the artist, The Song of the Sea (1936) and Up Channel are also on offer June 4.

Felix Ziem, ‘Gondaliers at Esclavons Quay,’ estimated at $50,000-$70,000

Felix Ziem, ‘Gondaliers at Esclavons Quay,’ estimated at $50,000-$70,000

Also featured in the European Art Auction is Gondaliers at Esclavons Quay, a circa 1865 work by Felix Ziem, estimated at $50,000-$70,000. Franz Richard Unterberger’s monumental Riviera di Santa Lucia (Naples), estimated at $40,000-$60,000, is on offer along with two additional works by the artist, including a sweeping view of the Grand Canal titled Santa Maria della Salute from the Grand Canal, estimated at $30,000-$50,000, and Venice Under Sunset, estimated at $12,000-$18,000, in which the artist depicts a highly detailed sunset over a vast expanse of the waterway highlighted by bright white sails of merchant ships on the canal.

Breathtaking examples of decorative art, to be presented June 22, range from a 20-piece St. Louis Excellence pattern stemware service, estimated at $3,000-$5,000, and a stunning 202-piece Versace for Rosenthal porcelain Les Tresors De La Mer pattern dinner service for 12, designed in 1996 and estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

 

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