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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.

The Arts & Crafts Movement: Making It Irish

Harry Clarke (1889–1931), The Baptism of St. Patrick, 1912. National College of Art and Design, Dublin

Harry Clarke (1889–1931), The Baptism of St. Patrick, 1912. National College of Art and Design, Dublin

The Irish Arts & Crafts movement often does not get the attention it deserves in publications and exhibitions. That is why it was particularly exciting to visit the Making It Irish exhibition at the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College over the weekend. The curators have brought together over 150 objects, including textiles, metalwork, glass, furniture, books, and jewelry, to examine the movement in the context of the enormous social and political upheavals that characterized Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was fascinating to see how the artists used the language of Celtic imagery in order to forge a unique Irish identity apart from English culture.

Phoebe Anna Traquair, "The Lovers", enamel, c. 1901

Phoebe Anna Traquair, “The Lovers”, enamel, c. 1901

I was especially struck by the beautiful enamels by Phoebe Anna Traquair, who was born in Dublin in 1852. She attended the School of Design at the Royal Dublin Society. After her marriage in 1874, Traquair and her husband moved to Scotland, where she would live until her death in 1936. Traquair worked across mediums. She was an accomplished painter, embroiderer, bookbinder, and enamellist. Her individual iconography often included scenes depicting love; romantic, familial, or religious. The five enamel pieces on display in the exhibition were beautiful examples, not only in composition, but also in the expert use of baisse taille enamel. This technique uses layers of translucent enamel over patterned metal. The play of light between the enamel and the metal backing gives the pieces a painterly effect. My favorite piece was a pendant entitled The Lovers which depicts a man and woman being encouraged to kiss by an angel. It was surprising to read that the piece was made in 1902 and Traquair had only learned to enamel in 1901.

The stained glass by Richard King, Harry Clarke, and Willhelmina Geddes were also highlights of the exhibition for me. The iconography is mixed with Celtic inspiration, Christian imagery, and the new modernist sensibility that influenced all the arts in Ireland, including the contemporary Irish Literary Revival. The Geddes panel The Fate of the Children of Lir is a wonderful example of this uniquely Irish Arts & Crafts iconography. It depicts a medieval Irish story of children turned to swans by a wicked stepmother and finally saved by the intervention of the Catholic Church, rendered in a distinctly modernist style. The stained glass installations in the exhibition are very well done, which allows the visitor to appreciate the small, fine details that make up the compositions.

Making It Irish is only on view until June 6th at the McMullen Museum at Boston College. For more information please see their website.

Edwardian Jewelry, Diamonds, and Colored Stones Featured at Skinner Fine Jewelry Auction, June 7

Edwardian Natural Pearl and Diamond Necklace (Estimate $80,000-$100,000)

Edwardian Natural Pearl and Diamond Necklace (Lot 559, Estimate $80,000-$100,000)

BOSTON, MA – May 25, 2016 – Skinner, Inc. presents its second Fine Jewelry auction of 2016 on June 7 in Boston. The auction will feature over 500 lots of diamonds, colored stones, and antique and period jewelry.

Exceptional Edwardian Jewelry

The standout of this auction is an extraordinary Edwardian Natural Pearl and Diamond Necklace (Lot 559, estimated between $80,000 and $120,000) from an important Massachusetts estate.… Read More

Single-Owner Collection Leads Skinner’s June Shaker Auction

Shaker Yellow-painted Oval Fixed Handle Carrier, Canterbury, New Hampshire, 19th century (Lot 68, $15,000-$25,000)

Shaker Yellow-painted Oval Fixed Handle Carrier, Canterbury, New Hampshire, 19th century (Lot 68, $15,000-$25,000)

MARLBOROUGH, MA – May 25, 2016 On Saturday, June 4 at 10 AM, Skinner, Inc. will present at auction The Shaker Collection of Erhart Muller in its Marlborough, MA gallery. The auction will showcase the last of the pioneering Shaker collections to be offered to the public, along with additional Shaker objects from other private collections.… Read More

Erhart Muller: The Man Behind the Collection

Eldresses Bertha Lindsay and Gertrude Soule with Erhart Muller at the dedication of the Holy Hill Project

Eldresses Bertha Lindsay and Gertrude Soule with Erhart Muller at the dedication of the Holy Hill Project

Erhart Muller: The Man Behind the Collection

A Lecture by Maggie Stier, New Hampshire Preservation Alliance

Friday, June 3 | 6PM | Marlborough

RSVP

Maggie Stier met Erhart Muller in the late 1980’s when she was curator at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts. Their shared interest in the Shakers led to a friendship based first on explorations around the Harvard Shaker Village, where Mr.… Read More

Music & Memorabilia Consignment Day | June 7 | New York City

Stage work Nudie Suit from the Estate of Little Jimmy Dickens. To be offered at auction in November 2016.

Stage worn Nudie Suit from the Estate of Little Jimmy Dickens. To be offered at auction in the fall of 2016.

Fine Musical Instruments and Music Memorabilia

Tuesday, June 7 | 10AM-4PM

Skinner New York 415 Madison Avenue Suite 1418 New York, NY 10017

Skinner is currently seeking consignments for our fall Fine Musical Instruments & Music Memorabilia auction. Reserve an appointment with Skinner expert appraiser Adam Tober for evaluation and possible consignment of your stringed instruments including violins, guitars, banjos and mandolins as well as music memorabilia and performance costumes.… Read More

Internationally Renowned Auction House Expands in New York City

Katie Banser-Whittle

Katie Banser-Whittle

BOSTON, MA – May 20, 2016 – Skinner, Inc. has named Katie Banser-Whittle as its newest Regional Director. In this role, Banser-Whittle will be responsible for developing new business, providing appraisal services, and managing client relations with individuals, fiduciaries, not-for-profit organizations, and museums throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Katie will be located in the Skinner regional office in midtown Manhattan, which will provide clients with convenient access to the full range of Skinner consignment and appraisal services.… Read More

Historic Silver Wind Instruments Return Home to Boston

American Keyed Bugle, Henry Sibley, Boston, 1840 (Lot 38, Estimate $12,000-$16,000)

American Keyed Bugle, Henry Sibley, Boston, 1840 (Lot 38, Estimate $12,000-$16,000)

Boston has long been a hub of revolution, academic learning and culture, but for those of us enchanted by the siren songs of Cremona or Kalamazoo, Boston’s legacy as a center of musical instrument manufacture often goes unheard. In reality, for about a century through the early 1900s, Boston’s cobblestone streets were littered with makers’ shingles, from the smallest luthier’s workshop to the largest distributor’s factory, churning out instruments for the New World to rival those of the Old.… Read More

A Collection of Historic Games at Skinner

Triangular Carved Inlaid Marble "1779" Cribbage Board, probably England, c. 1779 (Lot 1189, Estimate $300-$500)

Triangular Carved Inlaid Marble “1779” Cribbage Board, probably England, c. 1779 (Lot 1189, Estimate $300-$500)

One of the world’s most popular games, cribbage, has a broad and cross-cultural international following in the English-speaking world. Its counting boards, simply composed of neatly parallel rows of holes almost always grouped in double sets of five, are instantly recognizable, even if you aren’t a seasoned cribbage master.… Read More

Augustus to Constantine and Ancient Coins In-between

Alexander III Drachm (Lot 1001B, Estimate $50-$100)

Alexander III Drachm (Lot 1001B, Estimate $50-$100)

Ancient coins, especially those from early Roman and Greek cultures, have been captivating the interest of collectors for centuries. The recent slews of coin hoards being unearthed all across Europe have made international headlines, causing resurgence in their popularity. Most recently, a construction crew in Spain happened upon 1,300 pounds of bronze Roman coins, dating from the 3rd century AD, stashed in amphoras, while digging a trench.… Read More

Discovery – Interiors Online May 12 through May 20 features Coins, Currency and a Collection of Historic Games

1900 Lafayette Commemorative Dollar (Lot 1063, Estimate $200-$400)

1900 Lafayette Commemorative Dollar (Lot 1063, Estimate $200-$400)

MARLBOROUGH, MA – Skinner is hosting an auction of Interiors online from May 12 through May 20. Interested bidders are invited to view items and meet with specialists in person on Tuesday, May 17 and Wednesday, May 18, or anytime online. Kerry Shrives, Senior Vice President of Skinner, Inc., notes, “A variety of individual collections headline Interiors online, as May’s eclectic sale showcases a breadth of offerings from America, Europe and Asia sourced by Skinner, all with the convenience of bidding from home or away.”

The auction leads off with a selection of coins and currency including 18th and 19th century United States large cents, Carson City Morgan dollars, American gold coinage, Colonial, fractional, and obsolete paper currency, items of international interest, and silver and copper coins from ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.… Read More

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