Miller & Miller auction steeped in Canadian history Oct. 24

Canadian history

Canadian-made Wettlaufer decorated child’s wagon (Oxford County, circa 1890). Estimate: CA$3,000-$5,000. Miller & Miller Auctions image

NEW HAMBURG, Ontario – An online Canadiana & Historic Objects auction highlighted by the outstanding lifetime collections of Dick Withington and Brian Stead will be held on Saturday, Oc. 24, by Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd. The 699-lot auction will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The auction is packed with Canadiana, clocks, art, pottery and stoneware, art pottery, furniture, folk art, decoys, historical objects, lamps, lighting, rugs and textiles. “This sale is the perfect storm,” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions. “We’re unleashing the rare clocks of a renaissance man, Dick Withington, juxtaposed Brian Stead’s Canadiana furniture and pottery.”

Regarding the Withington collection of scarce American and Canadian clocks, Miller said, “Dick Withington died in 1992, but the family retained his collection until now. In a pre-Internet world, collectors were astonished by what Dick found ‘the old way’. Today they’ll find no duplication.”

American clocks from the Withington collection include a rare, circa 1825 H. Clark shelf clock featuring ivory escutcheons, upper and lower doors and dial marked “H. Clark, Plymouth, Ct.” (est. $2,500-$3,000); and a 20th century Trippensee Mfg. Co. planetarium, manually operated with a wooden pulley driven by a cord, 30 inches long by 19 inches tall (est. $2,500-$3,000).

All estimates quoted are in Canadian dollars ($1 Canadian=$.76 U.S.).

Also from the Withington collection is a Canadian 1920s Pequegnat Clock Co. wall regulator No. 1 in a dark oak case, having a metal dial with Roman numerals, original hands and eight-day time only regulator (est. $2,000-$2,500); and a Seth Thomas double-door peanut-style clock (below) in rosewood veneer, made in America in the 1870s, having a metal upper dial with Roman numerals and eight-day time and strike round brass spring-driven movement (est. $2,000-$2,500).

Canadian history

Seth Thomas double-door American 1870s ‘peanut’-style clock in rosewood veneer. Estimate: CA$2,000-$2,500. Miller & Miller Auctions image

Mr. Miller described Brian Stead as “a quiet collector of Canadiana. Authenticity and originality were his foremost criteria. ‘Would be, could be and should be’ would never cut it with Brian.”

Furniture pieces in the Stead collection include a painted pine armoire made in Quebec, Canada in circa the 1850s, having raised panel ends, 72½ inches tall (est. $2,000-$3,000); and an 1870s Waterloo County (Canada) painted pine corner cupboard with mahoganized grain painted finish, dry scraped interior and two-piece stacked construction, 82 inches in height (est. $1,500-$2,000).

There are four oil on board paintings in the auction by the noted Canadian artist Homer Ransford Watson (1855-1936), all from the collection of the late Jack Wilfong, Watson’s paperboy. All are framed and signed. Watson has been characterized as a painter who first painted Canada as Canada, rather than as a pastiche of European painting. Works in the sale include the following:

– A 1926 painting titled verso, Spring on a Country Road (but listed as On a Country Road by Muriel Miller in her book, Homer Watson – The Man of Doon). The image area is 12½ inches by 16½ inches. It’s housed in a nice painted wood frame (est. $2,500-$3,000).

Canadian history

There are four oil on board paintings in the auction by the noted Canadian artist Homer Ransford Watson (1855-1936) including this one titled ‘Spring on a Country Road.’ Estimate: CA$2,500-$3,000. Miller & Miller Auctions image

– A work from the 1930s titled Winter Afterglow, contained in a giltwood frame. Watson incorporated outdoor elements in many of his paintings. Winter was no exception, as this scene gives the viewer a valley vista through an opening in the trees (est. $2,500-$3,000).

– An untitled 1930s painting, framed behind glass, with many key Watson trademarks and drama: the sky giving a premonition of inclement weather, the wind-swept oak tree with cattle fording, a bend in the Grand River in the direction of home (est. $2,500-$3,000).

– An untitled 1930s painting, framed behind glass, 13 inches by 17 inches (sight). Watson liked capturing atmospheric situations; the drama created here, with the partially blocked sun, pending storm and light reflection on the river, is very effective (est. $2,000-$2,500).

Another noteworthy painting in the auction (and a candidate for top lot of the auction, with an estimate of $4,000-$6,000) is an oil on panel of a horse attributed to Canadian artist John J. Kenyon (1862-1937) titled Craigie from the 1890s. The 13-by-10-inch work, in a gilt plaster frame, is expected to spark a bidding war, as paintings by Kenyon are rarely offered at auction.

Canadian history

Oil on panel of a horse attributed to Canadian artist John J. Kenyon (1862-1937) titled ‘Craigie,’ from the 1890s, 13in x 10in, in a gilt plaster frame. Estimate: CA$4,000-$6,000. Miller & Miller Auctions

Two other lots carrying estimates of $4,000-$6,000 are a rare copy of Volume 1 of Philip Miller’s Descriptions of the Figures of Plants (English, 1760), boasting 300 color copper plates (lithographs) and numerous pressed folia between the pages; and an early 19th century example of Newton’s Celestial Library Globe (English), on a Victorian-era cast-iron base, with 12 applied engraved gores, a brass meridian and ornate cast tripod base; the globe is 17 inches in diameter.

Canadian history

Early 19th century example of Newton’s celestial library globe (English). Estimate: CA$4,000-$6,000. Miller & Miller Auctions image

Also up for bid Oct. 24 will be a Canadian-made Wettlaufer decorated child’s wagon (Oxford County, circa 1890), one of only five masterpiece wagons made for Adam Wettlaufer’s grandchildren, this one built for Clara (est. $3,000-$5,000); and an English cased dueling pistol set made by William Chance & Son (London), in a mahogany case with brass inlay and complete with six tools, percussion caps tin and powder flask, in a velvet-lined case (est. $3,500-$5,500).

Miller & Miller Auctions is Canada’s trusted seller of high-value collections and is always accepting quality consignments. The firm specializes in watches and jewelry, art, antiques and high-value collectibles. Its mission is to provide collectors with a trusted place to buy and sell.

For details contact Miller & Miller Auctions at 519-573-3710 or 519-716-5606 or email


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