Skinner Auctions
Skinner AuctionsBoston MA
March 1, 2015 10:00 AMCalender

Carved Applewood and 14kt Gold Jewelry Suite

Sell one like this
Auction: American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2786BLocation: BostonDate / Time: March 01, 2015 10:00AM


Carved Applewood and 14kt Gold Jewelry Suite, Browne & Spaulding, Jewelers, New York City, 1865, comprised of a brooch and a pair of earrings depicting acorns and oak leaves with black enamel accents set in 14kt yellow gold, in original fitted box marked Browne & Spaulding, together with an 1865 letter addressed to the original owner William Cullen Bryant, a period Brown & Spaulding trade card showing a similar suite, and a 1908 Anderson Auction Company catalog of "A Portion of The Library of William Cullen Bryant" listing the suite as lot 407.

Note: According to a number of contemporary accounts, including their own, Browne and Spaulding made a suite of jewelry for General Ulysses S. Grant's wife using wood from an apple tree at Appomattox, Virginia, under which General Robert E. Lee was sitting when he was asked to discuss the terms of surrender which would end the Civil War. The Grant set, which is apparently featured on the trade card included in the present lot, also consists of a larger piece, in addition to the earrings and brooch which are identical to the ones here. Thinking that William Cullen Bryant - the American romantic poet, staunch supporter of President Lincoln, and long-time (and current) editor-in-chief of the New-York Evening Post - or presumably, his wife, would also enjoy having such a suite, Browne & Spaulding sent one, unsolicited, to Mr. Bryant along with a letter dated November 27, 1865, which reads: "Dear Sir, Accompanying, please find a trifling specimen of our art as constructors of jewelry, which it will afford us much pleasure, if you will kindly accept. It is in itself trifling but embodying as it does a little memorial of the closing scenes of the war, it will probably be looked upon as an object of interest. The wood employed we can guarantee to be portions of the tree at Appomattox, under which Gen. Lee commenced the negociations [sic] that terminated in his surrender. With great respect We are Dr. [dear] Sir, Yours Obliged, Browne & Spaulding." Bryant clearly accepted the gift and cherished it, since it was sold at auction intact with the original jewelers' letter in 1908.
Estimate $5,000-7,000

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.


William Cullen Bryant, Robert E. Lee, Appomattox, Anderson Auction Company, New York City, The Library of William Cullen Bryant, Ulysses S. Grant, Virginia, editor-in-chief, President, romantic poet, Lincoln