Auctioneers and Appraisers

Rare Painted Wood Carving of a Boston Bull Terrier






American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2680B
Date / Time :
October 27, 2013 10:00AM


Rare Painted Wood Carving of a Boston Bull Terrier, by Augustus (Gus) Wilson (1864-1950), South Portland, Maine, 1930-35, fully carved standing figure constructed of several joined wood segments, painted with black, white, and red paint, with original brass studded red leather collar, ht. 12, wd. 8 3/4, lg. 25 in.

Provenance: This rare life-size carving of a Boston bull terrier appears to be a unique subject by Gus Wilson, a lighthouse keeper and decoy maker from South Portland, Maine. It is the rarest carving from a remarkable intact group of Wilson bird carvings that passed down over thirty-five years ago through the hands of David Pinardi, a picker from Leverett, Massachusetts. Pinardi sold the group to Bill Hubbard, a renowned western Massachusetts auctioneer, author, antiquarian, and collector who kept them for himself until he parted with the dog in 2005. Mr. Hubbard, who died in 2011, kept the dog in his home office, guarding his desk. Don Walters and Mary Benisek kept this piece in their personal collection until offering it to its current owner.

This sculpture relates best to the three rare life-size standing tiger carvings for which Gus Wilson is famously known. Shared details include methods of layered or built-up construction, thick enamel-like paint, red paint used in the nostrils and eye linings, and the manner in which the feet and toes are carved. A smaller scale tiger by Wilson was sold at Northeast Auctions, November 5, 2005, Lot 100.

Literature: For pictures of Gus Wilson's carved tigers, see Spiritually Moving: A Collection of American Folk Art Sculpture (Henry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998), no. 78; and Folk Art in America: A Personal View, by Adele Earnest (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 1984), pp. 12-13.

We would like to thank to Don Walters for the research and provenance of this carving.
Estimate $125,000-175,000

The ears have old cracks near the joinery to the head and have old nail repairs.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Augustus (Gus) Wilson, South Portland, Maine, Don Walters, David Pinardi, Bill Hubbard, Massachusetts, Leverett, western Massachusetts, auctioneer , author, renowned western auctioneer , author, Mary Benisek, thick enamel-like paint, Henry N. Abrams Inc., Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Adele Earnest