Freeman’s will highlight more than 300 years of Pennsylvanian and American craftsmanship and history with back-to-back auctions. The highly anticipated annual Pennsylvania Sale will leadoff on November 12 and will be followed by Freeman’s autumn American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts auction on November 13. Combined, the two sales will offer close to 600 lots of folk art, silver, books, maps, historical documents, textiles, porcelain, pottery, American Indian art, and furniture spanning the earliest colonial period through the 20th century.
The Pennsylvania Sale is one of our strongest since its inception,” shared Americana Department Head Lynda Cain, “and both sales feature items from private collections that have descended through families. These often whimsical and important objects offer collectors a closer look at the rich political and artistic history of Pennsylvania and the U.S.”
The combined effort of the Americana, 20th Century Design, and Books & Manuscripts departments at Freeman’s, The Pennsylvania Sale honors the heritage of the Commonwealth and offers an array of objects made and used in the state. The inaugural auction in 2005 marked Freeman’s 200th anniversary as America’s oldest auction house and as Quaker state institution.
This year’s November 12 Pennsylvania Sale boasts a range of works for every manner of style and taste. The top lot from the 20th Century Design section (Lots 1-36) is an important cocobolo sculpture “Essie”/“Rebecca” by Wharton Esherick ($60,000-80,000). The substantial wood carved figure, a representation of his daughter, is one of the artist’s most important and personal artworks. Two of many highlights from furniture maker George Nakashima include an exceptional Slab Coffee Table ($20,000-30,000) and a Minguren I Coffee table ($8,000-12,000). Furniture and decorative arts by Paul Evans, Florence Knoll, Mira Nakashima, and Samuel Yellin, among others, round out this portion of the sale.
The Books, Maps & Manuscripts section (Lots 37-104) is chock full of Revolutionary War history. A hand-colored engraving by Carington Bowles after Scull & Heap’s 1754 “East Prospect View of the City of Philadelphia, in the Province of Pennsylvania, in North America; Taken from the Jersey Shore” ($6,000-9,000), which was reissued by Bowles in 1778 during the British occupation of Philadelphia will be on sale. Another lot of note is a clean and attractive 1775 copy of The Pennsylvania Evening Post ($800,-1,200). The newspaper features an an extract from George Washington Esq. Chairman resolving to form “well regulated militia.” Lastly, a German Bible ($1,200-1,800), known as the “Gun Wad Bible,” which was first printed just before the Battle of Germantown will be of interest to collectors. Much or most of the edition was destroyed by occupying British soldiers, using them for fuel, horse bedding, or wadding paper in their firearms.
A rare canvasworked furniture or chest cover by Mary Flower, dated 1767, featuring brightly colored worsted yarns worked in an Irish stitch with a bouquet of flowers ($20,000-30,000) is the centerpiece of the Pennsylvania Furniture & Decorative Arts portion (Lots 105-272)of the sale. Passed down for generations this needlework may be a unique example of its kind to survive from the Colonial period. Created to enliven the surface of chest of drawers or dressing table, the chest cover is part of a well-known, unrivaled and varied group of 18th century Philadelphia needlework created by Mary Flower (1744-1778) and her two sisters Ann (1743-1778) and Elizabeth (1742-1781). The sisters produced extraordinary and elaborate display pieces as well as utilitarian ones. Mary worked two silk needlework pictures considered to be among the finest of American 18th century silk embroideries: the first, depicting a fox hunt entitled the "Chace" and the second, a pastoral scene, are illustrated and discussed in Betty Ring's Girlhood Embroidery: American Samplers and Needlework 1650-1850 Vol II. Other needlework attributed to Mary Flower are in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Other lots of note, include a Fine Chippendale carved mahogany chest-on-chest ($15,000-30,000), a rare portrait miniature of Col. Benjamin Flower ($6,000-8,000), best known for saving the Liberty Bell from British capture during the American Revolution, and a James Fuller Queen watercolor of the Delaware River at Philadelphia, Severe Winter 1856 ($8,000-12,000). A number of items from the pioneering Pennsylvania collection of Mr. and Mrs. J. Stogdell Stokes are also in the sale.
The American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts auction on November 13 commences with A Gentleman’s Collection, from a Washington, DC Townhouse (lots 275-343). High points within this section include a marble bust of George Washington, by Raimondo Trentanove (1792-1832) 1820, purportedly once housed in the Boston Athenaeum ($8,000-12,000), a fine pair of Classical giltwood girandole looking glasses, circa 1810 ($10,000-20,000), and a set of nine Federal carved mahogany dining side chairs, circa 1815 ($5,000-8,000) originally owned by the Cope family of Awbury Arboretum.
For those interested in militaria, Freeman’s is pleased to offer an important War of 1812 Presentation Sword awarded to Lieutenant John Tayloe IV by Virginia Legislature ($15,000-20,000). It was given to Lieutenant Tayloe for “the intrepidity and valor of Midshipman John Tayloe of the United States Frigate Constitution in action and capture of the British Frigate Guerriere.” A portrait of the lieutenant with the sword is currently hanging in the Octagon House in Washington, DC. This home was owned by Tayloe’s father and was opened to President Madison and Dolley Madison after the burning of the White House. It was also where Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812. Another object associated with the War of 1812 is a four page folio of “Fort McHenry or The Star Spangled Banner” ($8,000-12,000). Though undated, this rare second and first Philadelphia printing of Francis Scot Key’s Star Spangled Banner sheet music was likely issued within days of Thomas Carr’s Baltimore printing. This printing predates the amended first edition published in Baltimore in 1814 or 1815.
Additional notable lots from the Americana auction include a Shirred Rug: Urn with Flowers, circa 1850 ($5,000-8,000) and A Pair of Portraits: A Young Cape Cod Couple, American School 19th century ($8,000-12,000). Twentieth Century Design enthusiasts will find Art Deco silver, decorative glass by Favrile and Tiffany Studios, and several Tiffany lamps such as a patinated bronze and leaded glass “Tyler Scroll” table lamp ($10,000-15,000) and a patinated bronze and leaded “Daffodil” table lamp ($15,000-25,000). The auction will also feature fine silver, Chinese Export porcelain, needlework samplers, folk art carvings, as well as American Indian works of art and textiles.
- Lot 10 Wharton Esherick (1887-1970) Important Cocobolo Sculpture “Essie”/ “Rebecca,” 1933 ($60,000-80,000)
- Lot 119 Rare canvas worked furniture or “chest” cover, Mary Flower (1744-1778), Philadelphia, PA, initialed “MF” and dated “1767”($20,000-30,000)
- Lot 1 George Nakashima (1905-1990) Exceptional slab coffee table, 1967 ($20,000-30,000)
- Lot 134 Fine Chippendale carved mahogany chest-on-chest, interior bearing period chalk inscription, "William Preston," Philadelphia, Pa, circ 1765 ($15,000-30,000)
- Lot 26 George Nakashima (1905-1990) Minguren I Coffee Table, 1987 ($8,000-12,000)
- Lot 262 James Fuller Queen (Philadelphia, 1820 or 1821-1886) Scene on the Delaware River at Philadelphia, Severe Winter 1856, Watercolor on paper, framed ($8,000-12,000)
- Lot 142 Philadelphia School 18th century, rare miniature portrait of Benjamin Flower (1748-1781), Colonel in the Artillery Artificers Regiment and Commissary General of Military Stores ($6,000-8,000)
- Lot 96 1 piece. Bowles, Carrington after Heap, George; Scull, Nicholas. Hand-Colored Engraving. "An East Prospect View of the City of Philadelphia, in the Province of Pennsylvania, in North America; Taken from the Jersey Shore.” London, 1 Jany 1778. ($6,000-9,000)
- Lot 66 1 vol. (Bible in German.) Biblia, Germantown [PA]: Christoph Saur, 1776. 3rd ed. Known as the "Gun Wad Bible." ($1,200-1,800)
- Lot 70 1 piece.The Pensylvania Evening Post. [Philadelphia]: Tuesday, Feb 14, 1775. Jan 17, 1775, George Washington Esq, Chairman, resolving to form "a well regulated militia." One of the earliest published American Revolutionary call to arms. ($800-1,200)
- Lot 383 Important War of 1812 Presentation Sword awarded to Lieutenant John Tayloe IV by Virginia Legislature, circa 1812 ($15,000-25,000)
- Lot 538 Patinated bronze and leaded glass "Daffodil" table lamp, Tiffany Studios, New York, NY, circa 1910 ($15,000-25,000)
- Lot 284 Pair of Classical giltwood girandole looking glasses each bearing paper label for Henry Marks, Boro, England, circa 1810 ($10,000-20,000)
- Lot 537 Patinated bronze and leaded glass "Tyler Scroll" table lamp, Tiffany studios, New York, NY, early 20th century ($10,000-15,000)
- Lot 488 American School 19th century, Pair of Portraits: A Young Cape Cod Couple ($8,000-12,000)
- Lot 277 Raimondo Trentanove (Italy, 1792-1832)white marble bust of George Washington, 1820 ($8,000-12,000)
- Lot 384 Francis Scott Key, "Fort McHenry, or the Star-Spangled Banner, Sung with Great Applause by Mr. Hardinge, at the Theatre Baltimore Air, Anacreon in Heaven," sheet music, publisher, George E. Blake (1774-1871), Philadelphia, after Oct. 9, 1814 ($8,000-12,000)
- Lot 487 Shirred Rug: Urn with Flowers, Mrs. Stephenson, Edenton, Vermont, circa 1850 ($5,000-8,000)
- Lot 298 Set of nine Federal carved mahogany dining side chairs, Philadelphia, Pa, circa 1815 ($5,000-8,000)
Previews for both auctions will take place at 1808 Chestnut Street, with viewing times as follows:
November 7-8 2014: 10am-5pm
November 9, 2014: 12pm-5pm
November 10-11: 10am-5pm
November 12: 10am-5pm (Americana sale only)
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