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Auctioneers and Appraisers

Antiques and Fine Art Auctions Blog

Skinner expert appraisers and auctioneers discuss antiques, fine art, and collectibles. Keep up on market trends and get collecting tips from antiques experts. Discover the stories behind the art and antiques Skinner offers at auction.

Porcelain Passion: The Refined Botanicals of Flora Danica

Royal Copenhagen Porcelain "Flora Danica" Soup Tureen and Platter, Denmark, c. 1985-91 (Lot 795, Estimate: $$2,000-3,000)

Royal Copenhagen Porcelain “Flora Danica” Soup Tureen and Platter, Denmark, c. 1985-91 (Lot 795, Estimate: $$2,000-3,000)

There are a robust 35 lots of Flora Danica porcelain tableware items (from a coffee service to egg cups, butter pats and plates of all sizes, platters, tureens and more) in Skinner’s European Furniture & Decorative Arts auction on October 7. For those who seek out Flora Danica’s beautifully rendered botanical specimens that are the “trademark” of the service, there will be something for everyone in this upcoming sale, and a perfect time to add to or start a collection.

The original creation of Flora Danica porcelain is set within a great framework of artisan history.  Madness for porcelain in the 18th century throughout Europe signified a devotion to creating skillful works of art using the finest techniques, and a showcase of design expertise that underscored the power and political prowess of royal courts on the Continent. In Germany, vibrant blues and greens were created by Meissen as the porcelain craze proliferated, and soon influenced some of the color palettes created by Sèvres in France. Louis XV became the sole owner of Sèvres in mid-18th century, and his mistress Madame du Pompadour’s thirst for Sèvres was insatiable. Their bright signature shade of blue, now known as Bleu Celeste, was exclusively used for his Louis XV’s first dining service.  In Denmark, the power of porcelain created another taste for aesthetics, where bright colors were employed for painted botanical specimens. The royal family in Copenhagen designed a porcelain service, now being made today by Royal Copenhagen factory which produces the highly sought after pieces. Its elegant colors and details are enough to attract the attention of many, including Architectural Digest, who in a recent article written Spring this year, cited a stop at the Royal Copenhagen Factory to see their beautiful Flora Danica porcelain as one of the top reasons to visit Copenhagen.

Twelve Royal Copenhagen "Flora Danica" Porcelain Large Plates, Denmark, second half 20th century (Lot 735, Estimate: $1,200-1,800)

Twelve Royal Copenhagen “Flora Danica” Porcelain Large Plates, Denmark, second half 20th century (Lot 735, Estimate: $1,200-1,800)

Danish king Christian VII ordered what is now known as Flora Danica porcelain to be produced in 1790 as a gift for Catherine the Great of Russia. She was a great collector of porcelain, and sought other luxury goods, art, and literature to flourish in her court. However, Catherine the Great died only six years later in 1796, long before the service was completed in 1802, and the finished service stayed in Copenhagen, with the Danish royal family.  Creation of Flora Danica porcelain was inspired by a hearty 51 volume taxonomy featuring botanical specimens of Denmark, and their intricately painted depiction on porcelain became a source of national pride. Copper plate prints of each specimen from the book were rendered by Johann Christoph Bayer for the porcelain service.

 Royal Copenhagen "Flora Danica" Coffee Service with Ten Cups and Saucers, Denmark, second half of the 20th century (Lot 614, Estimate: $800-1,200)

Royal Copenhagen “Flora Danica” Coffee Service with Ten Cups and Saucers, Denmark, second half of the 20th century (Lot 614, Estimate: $800-1,200)

Approximately 1500 pieces of the original service still exists today. The size of the original dessert service alone was over six hundred pieces, including trays and stands of all shapes and sizes, for every confection imaginable.  In the mid-19th century, the production of Flora Danica was revived by the Danish royal family to commemorate the marriage of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to Edward VII, the future king of England. From that point on, Flora Danica has been made by Royal Copenhagen factory.


October First Tuesdays | Marlborough


Join us for First Tuesday in Marlborough

Tuesday, October 4 | 1:30PM – 4PM

Skinner experts will provide complimentary verbal auction evaluations during our monthly consignment event on the first Tuesday of each month.

Experts Available in October:

Karen Keane, CEO ♦ Michelle Lamuniere, Specialist, Fine Photographs ♦ Robin S.R. Starr, Vice President, Director of American & European Works of Art ♦ LaGina Austin, Director of Appraisal & Auction Services, Senior Appraiser

Skinner Marlborough Gallery 274 Cedar Hill Street Marlborough, MA

First come, first served.… Read More

Three Reasons I Love Victorian Earrings

To most people the Victorian Era is known for the industrial revolution, social reform, and the Pax Britannica. For me, all those run a distant second to the Victorians greatest achievement: earring design. Victorian earrings are everything that I love about antique jewelry. Here are the three reasons why:

Gold and Amethyst Earrings, c. 1835 (Lot 175, Estimate: $1,500-2,000)

1. Motifs

Victorians were endlessly inventive with their design motifs.… Read More

What’s It Worth & Appraisal Day Events | Ellsworth ME

Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park | Ellsworth, ME

Friday, September 30 | 4:30-7:30PM Saturday, October 1 | 9AM – 2PM

Join Skinner at the Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park in Ellsworth Maine for an evening of antiques, education and socialization on Friday, September 30 followed by an Appraisal Day on Saturday, October 1.

Friday, September 30 | 4:30PM What’s It Worth? $30 per person or $50 per couple Admission includes the appraisal of one item per person or per couple Pre-registration required online Space is limited

On Friday evening guests can enjoy a Skinner “What’s It Worth?” event starting with a wine and cheese reception from 4:30-5:30PM.… Read More

Andrew Wyeth: America’s Preeminent Artist

Andrew Newell Wyeth (American, 1917-2009) Corn and Grist (Lot 286, Estimate: $150,000-250,000)

Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006) Andrew Wyeth, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, 1948, printed 1970s

Andrew Wyeth was an iconic figure in American painting of the 20th century. Son and student of famed illustrator N.C. Wyeth, the young man seemed destined to follow his father’s footsteps yet developed his own individual style. His father’s illustrations took as subjects active figures and colorful places from around the word, while Andrew Wyeth found artistic inspiration in friends and family and his immediate surroundings of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and Port Clyde, Maine.… Read More

Skinner Presents Two-Session Auction of European Furniture & Decorative Arts, October 6-7

Gorham Martelé .9584 Silver Pitcher, Providence, c. 1907 (Lot 99, Estimate: $7,000-9,000)

Gorham Martelé .9584 Silver Pitcher, Providence, c. 1907 (Lot 99, Estimate: $7,000-9,000)

Featuring Special Collections of Wedgwood & English Ceramics

BOSTON, MA – Skinner, Inc. will present a two-part auction of European Furniture & Decorative Arts & Fine Silver in its Boston Gallery on Thursday, October 6 and Friday, October 7. With over 850 lots on offer, the auction will feature Part II of The Paul Lauer Collection of Wedgwood and The Edward Knowles collection of English Pottery, as well as an expansive selection of fine silver and European fine and decorative arts of the 16th through early 20th centuries.… Read More

Jean Dubuffet: Imagining the Inner Landscape of the Mind

J. Jean Dubuffet (French, 1901-1985) Situation LXXXXI (Lot 425, Estimate: $35,000-55,000)

What does the inside of an artist’s mind look like? Purportedly inspired by a doodle he made while on the telephone in 1962, the French artist Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) sought to reveal the inner landscape of the mind by creating a new type of art he called Hourloupe. He would fill entire pages, or canvases, with fluid scribble-like lines in densely packed, all-over compositions, like this work entitled Situation LXXXXI (a l’arbre)  (Lot 425) coming up in Skinner’s Fine Paintings & Sculpture auction on September 23.… Read More

Who Can Come to an Auction?

Wayne Thiebaud (American, b. 1920)  Candy Apples, 1987

I get asked this question more than any other.  The short answer:  Everyone.

A single word isn’t much of a blog post, so let me give you the longer version. Skinner auctions are public auctions.  Absolutely anybody who loves art or antiques is welcome to attend. The previews are a time for potential bidders to come into the gallery and view lots first-hand; to examine the condition of a Wayne Thiebaud woodcut, or the construction of a card table or to feel the heft of a piece of Wedgwood.… Read More

Design Decisions: Parting with objects

Heidi Pribell

Designer Heidi Pribell dishes on fabulous finds in her curated online auction of home décor. 

May this posting be of inspiration to all of those who struggle with making tough decisions about what should stay and what should go.

In preparing to relocate my studio, I made the decision to take a close look at inventory, and I contacted Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers of Boston & Marlborough, MA.

I am flattered that they chose to launch a new area with home design at auction: Heidi Pribell Interiors for the Home Online.Read More

Heuer: The Timekeeper of Formula One

Heuer Autavia 'Andretti' Ref. 3646 Chronograph Wristwatch, late 1960s (Estimate $3,000-5,000)

Heuer Autavia ‘Andretti’ Ref. 3646 Chronograph Wristwatch, late 1960s (Lot 2515, Estimate $3,000-5,000)

Wristwatches and automobile racing have been closely linked to each other since the early 20th century. In a sport so heavily reliant on speed and times, having an accurate and accessible timekeeper is paramount. Modern chronographs, the predecessor to the stopwatch, were created in the early 19th century and were primarily used for artillery.… Read More

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