Skinner Inc.

Auctioneers and Appraisers

Heavy bidding for Massachusetts’ American Country House Past in July

Victorian Carrara Marble Lion Garden Table, late 19th century. Sold for: $29,000

Victorian Carrara Marble Lion Garden Table, late 19th century. Sold for: $29,000

Highlight’s from  the European Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction Sale # 2835B

The European Department’s banner two-day sale, which featured over 1200 lots of decorative arts, ceramics, furniture and fine silver, was a heavily bidded event.  Featuring lots from top collectors across the country, one lucky bidder took home a stunning Victorian table with alabaster top marble winged lion pedestals (Lot 163), with a great story to tell.  From the time of Massachusetts’ American Country House past, when its own Downton Abbey Gilded Age set dominated the social scene, furniture such as this lion table set the tone for the whole era.  The winning bidder took home a great piece of Massachusetts and Industrialist-era history when they picked up this table for $29,000 (estimate of $8,000-12,000).

Our sale on July 18th of European furniture was not the first time this exceptional lion table appeared at auction.  It was reportedly part of a robust July auction in Lenox Massachusetts in 1946, where a sea of luxurious imported furniture and furnishings–all belonging to former Bellefontaine house owner Giraud Foster–was in the hands of auctioneers.  The goal was to liquidate everything, including the house holding the contents, a house built by Carrere and Hastings in 1897 to emulate Petit Trianon (architects of the New York Public Library, Henry Clay Frick’s Manhattan residence, and others).  The lion table, which once stood in a marble hall with Foster’s seemingly endless collection of statuary, was part of the contents to be sold in 1946.  Giraud Foster, his wife, Jane Van Nest, and their son (from the moment of birth, he was just called “Boy”), lived at the estate, until Foster died at the age of 95 in 1945. The estate changed hands several times after the initial sale in 1946, and suffered from a fire on the interior in the late 1940s, then owned by Our Lady of Mercy Seminary who had to rebuild and restore the interior. It was purchased in the late 1980s by Canyon Ranch Spa, which still owns it today.

Seven-piece Empire Ormolu Surtout de Table, Paris, early 19th century (Lot 364, Estimate $10,000-$20,000)

Seven-piece Empire Ormolu Surtout de Table, Paris, early 19th century (Lot 364, Estimate $10,000-$20,000)

The lion table was just one of the many remarkable pieces for auction at sale 2835B in July.  Other auction highlights include, just to name a few, Lot 364, a fine Seven Piece Ormolu Surtout de Table, in the manner of Pierre-Philippe Thomire, (sold for $45,000, with an estimate of $10,000-20,000); Lot 601, Wedgwood & Bentley Period Self-framed Encaustic Decorated Black Basalt Plaque (sold for $15,000, with an estimate of $8,000-12,000); and Lot 1047, an Extensive David Andersen Sterling Silver and Cloisonné-enameled Tea and Coffee Service (sold for $10,000, with an estimate of $3,000-5,000).

More exciting pieces are being consigned now for our next auction of European Furniture & Decorative Arts in Boston, on Saturday, October 10, 2015! See you there!

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