Category Archives: Blog

Learn-iture and Decorative Smarts | Americana Trivia Game

Virtual Americana Trivia Game

Created by Chris Barber, Deputy Director of American Furniture & Decorative Arts

Test your knowledge of all things Skinner Americana (specifically, this November’s sale offerings) in this virtual game of as-competitive-as-you-want-to-make-it trivia and fun! You’ll venture through topics ranging from ceramics, glass, and metalware to furniture and folk art. Play at home with family or over a video conference with friends near and far!Read More

Virtual First Tuesday | December 1

Join us for First Tuesday online!

AUCTION EVALUATION DAY | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1

See what hidden treasures our experts may be able to reveal

We invite you to join us online for our Virtual First Tuesday on December 1. Submit your items anytime before the 1st and Skinner specialists from all departments will be on hand on Tuesday to evaluate items and respond by email.

Let’s get started: 

Step 1: Gather information and images for up to three items of fine & decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, silver, watches & coins and much more.Read More

The Collection of Jazz Guitarist John Abercrombie | Video Gallery

At once guitar hero and guitar anti-hero, John Abercrombie (1944-2017) was hard to pin down. Unlike most whose musical identity is tied to a specific make and model (Jimi Hendrix and his Fender Stratocaster, or Bill Monroe and his Gibson F-5), his was more fluid, constantly evolving; swapping this for that, pick for thumb, guitar synth for electric mandolin, etc. It is for this reason, perhaps, that when in 2003 a house fire decimated his collection, John rebuilt with instruments from across four continents.… Read More

Maine Rocks: The Tourmaline of Maine

Maine’s iconic coast brings to mind images of granite cliffs leading to bold ocean views in places such as Monhegan Island, or of coastlines strewn with rocks and pebbles made smooth over time. Lighthouses stand guard to guide boats away from treacherous rocks. Pink granite cliffs highlight the coastline of Acadia National Park and Mt. Desert Island. 

As children, my cousins and I were fascinated by the tidal pools encircled by rocks as the water ebbed and flowed.… Read More

Reflecting the Natural World: Respite and Shelter in Rug Design

The endless fecundity — and beauty — of the natural world is a constant theme in antique rugs, and that is especially true of the selection for our Fall 2020 Sale. The importance of the idea of “the Garden” is an often-noted feature of Islamic Art in general, and Persian Art in particular. A garden, of course, has echoes of the original Paradise, Eden, as well as the Paradise to come. But beyond all notions of the life-to-come, a garden, no matter how small, represents respite and shelter in a region where much of the landscape is arid and unforgiving.… Read More

Virtual First Tuesday | November 3

Join us for First Tuesday online!

AUCTION EVALUATION DAY | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3

See what hidden treasures our experts may be able to reveal

We invite you to join us online for our Virtual First Tuesday on November 3. Submit your items anytime before the 3rd and Skinner specialists from all departments will be on hand on Tuesday to evaluate items and respond by email.

Let’s get started: 

Step 1: Gather information and images for up to three items of fine & decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, silver, watches & coins and much more.Read More

Consider This: Collecting Chinese Textiles

Subject and Symbolism

The symbols depicted on a textile can tell you quite specifically what the function was and who would have owned it. Chimes, twin fish, and double happiness characters are symbols for blessings in marriage, designating a marriage robe. At the same time, Imperial dragons were strictly only used on Imperial textiles until the later parts of the Qing dynasty. 

Manchu Wedding Robe, China, 19th century. Sold for $9,225 in September 2019.

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The Allure of Chinese Blue and White Porcelain

Chinese blue and white porcelain has an appealing charm that has long been recognized among art collectors and ceramics aficionados. Many elements contribute to this, but the most prominent would be the cobalt blue color. In China, the use of blue pigment on ceramics began as early as the late Tang dynasty. Still, it was not until the late Yuan dynasty that blue and white porcelain gained popularity, and production started in sizable quantities.… Read More

Identifying Counterfeit Whiskies with Joe Hyman

Rare Spirits Specialist, Joe Hyman, delves into the fascinating subject of counterfeit spirits bottles and shows us what to look out for. Three whiskies in recent months raised red flags and Joe points out the reasons why. Watch now to uncover telltale counterfeit signs on labels, capsules and yes, even when tasting.

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Video Blog: An Explanation of our Glossary of Terms

Understand the terms used throughout catalog descriptions for Fine Art at Skinner. Robin S.R. Starr, Vice President and Director of American & European Works of Art, explains and illustrates how, where, and why these terms are used at Skinner in the accompanying video.

Glossary of Terminology:

Attributed toThe work may be by the artist’s hand, but leaves some question or doubt as to actual authorship.

School ofA work of an unknown follower executed in the style of the artist and contemporary in period.… Read More

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