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Circa-1825 classical rosewood gilt stencil decorated and painted fold-over games table, attributed to Barzilla Deming and Erastus Bulkley of New York, estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers

Doyle presents American fine furniture, folk art, and decorative art, May 2

Circa-1825 classical rosewood gilt stencil decorated and painted fold-over games table, attributed to Barzilla Deming and Erastus Bulkley of New York, estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers
Circa-1825 classical rosewood gilt stencil decorated and painted fold-over games table, attributed to Barzilla Deming and Erastus Bulkley of New York, estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK – Doyle will hold an American Furniture, Silver, Decorative Arts, and Folk Art auction on Tuesday, May 2, beginning at 10 am Eastern time. It features fine American furniture spanning nearly 150 years; folk art and American country furniture from several collections; nautical antiques from a prominent private collection, including a group of colorful woolwork maritime scenes; an array of American silver and decorative arts; and a selection of Chinese export porcelain. Among the sale’s varied highlights are folk portraits by William Matthew Prior, a sand art bottle by Andrew Clemens, a high chest of drawers from Salem, Massachusetts, and furniture from the late 18th and early 19th centuries attributed to accomplished American cabinetmakers and clockmakers from Baltimore to Boston. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

The furniture in the auction features important pieces of American craftsmanship spanning more than 100 years, from a circa-1750 Queen Anne high chest of austere design and elegant proportions made in Salem, Massachusetts, to a highly embellished Renaissance Revival center table by Pottier & Stymus of New York, dating to around 1870. Two impressive pieces of Federal case furniture attributed to the Seymours of Boston are a tambour-fronted sideboard and a secretary bookcase cabinet with eglomise detail, of which fewer than five are known. There are examples of classical card tables attributed to cabinetmakers in Baltimore (John and Hugh Finlay), Philadelphia (Gostelowe and the Haines-Connolly School), and New York (Barzilla Deming with Erastus Bulkley); this last, a classical rosewood gilt stencil decorated and painted fold-over games table, has an estimate of $20,000-$40,000. A Fifth Avenue collector consigned many of the finest pieces of furniture.

William Matthew Prior portrait of Herbert J. Wright, estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers
William Matthew Prior portrait of Herbert J. Wright, dating to circa 1850, estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers

Leading the folk art section is two paintings of children of the Wright family attributed to portrait painter William Matthew Prior, one bearing his inscribed name on the reverse. The two works by Prior as well as a number of other paintings and folk art objects are from the estate of Elizabeth Bailey of Reston, Virginia, a highly accomplished economist and academic. According to the New York Times, Dr. Bailey was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton (in 1972), the first woman to be appointed to the Civil Aeronautics Board (in 1977), and the first woman to be named dean of a Top 10 graduate business program, when she took that post at Carnegie Mellon (in 1983). For her accomplishments, she was bestowed with the Carolyn Shaw Bell Award by the American Economic Association, given to recipients who promote the success of women in the economics profession. The estate of Elizabeth Bailey also features 18th- and 19th-century American furniture and several antique carpets.

Andrew Clemens sand bottle with Centennial theme, created in 1876, estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers
Andrew Clemens sand bottle with Centennial theme, created in 1876, estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers

Another folk art highlight is a sand art bottle made and labeled by Andrew Clemens of McGregor, Iowa, completed in 1876 to mark the American Centennial for Mr. and Mrs. H.J. Boardman. H.J. Boardman appears to be Halsey Boardman, a railroad businessman and politician based in Boston whose dealings may have taken him through McGregor, Iowa in the mid-1870s. This is an early bottle by the renowned artist whose work, as it has become better studied, has gained tremendously in popularity during the last 10 to 15 years. It exhibits details and flourishes that became Clemens’s signatures throughout the 1880s – a spread-wing eagle and patriotic motifs, complex geometry, and a high degree of personalization.

Late 19th- or early 20th-century American green-painted sheet iron peacock weathervane, estimated at $1,200-$1,800. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers
Late 19th- or early 20th-century American green-painted sheet iron peacock weathervane, estimated at $1,200-$1,800. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers

Other notable folk art pieces come from the estate of Mary Ann Wolf and also a New Hampshire collection. Mary Ann Wolf was a keen-eyed collector who ran a shop in Roslyn, New York, in the mid- to late 1980s. Charming items from the group are a carved and painted figure of a blue jay and several other birds, molded copper weathervanes of good form, and an attractive group of 19th- and early 20th-century American quilts. From the New Hampshire collection come accomplished folk portraits, including works attributed to Sheldon Peck, Joseph Whiting Stock, and the scarcely found artist Orlando Hand Bears. Several country furniture pieces with original painted surfaces round out the New Hampshire collection.

English 19th-century woolwork picture of a maritime scene with an urn of flowers, estimated at $2,500-$3,500. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers
English 19th-century woolwork picture of a maritime scene with an urn of flowers, estimated at $2,500-$3,500. Image courtesy of Doyle and LiveAuctioneers

Leading a group of British woolwork pictures, a form colloquially known as “woolies,” and other nautical antiques from a prominent private collection is a bright and colorful example showing two vessels flanking a central reserve with a basket of flowers surrounded by an elaborate border. From the same collection comes a large sailor’s shellwork valentine, probably made in Barbados, and a whalebone dominoes box, likely created by French prisoners of war circa 1800. A group of objects consigned by various owners, including three Nantucket basket purses by Jose Formoso Reyes, compliment the nautical items from the collection.

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