Category Archives: Blog

Chinese Kangxi Porcelain – A Concise Field Guide

Building on the forms and techniques of ceramic production of the Ming dynasty and preceding what is considered the pinnacle of Chinese ceramics production, the Yongzheng period, the Kangxi period (1661-1722), is a landmark in the chronology of Chinese ceramics.

Chinese porcelain collectors and connoisseurs consider Kangxi ceramics to have the most variation—artistic expression combined with impressive techniques. Perhaps you are curious how to identify antique Chinese porcelain or are considering starting or adding to a collection.Read More

English Parian Ware: The Statues of the People

Wedgwood Carrara Figure of Milton, England, 19th century

Parian ware is a type of porcelain produced to imitate carved marble. As it could be cast and molded, the material was ideal for mass production at a scale and cost not possible with carved stone. Unglazed white bisque porcelain was popular in the late 18th century at the Sevres factory in France and Derby in England, each producing very sophisticated bisque figural groups. By the 1820s several other firms were in production, including Worcester, Rockingham, Coalport, and Minton.… Read More

5 Questions with European Specialist Emily Stegner

Emily Stegner joined Skinner in 2021 as a European Furniture & Decorative Arts specialist, focusing on Fine Silver. She is responsible for cataloging, researching, and marketing a diverse array of objects for the European department. Before joining Skinner, Emily worked in Sicily as a Finds Specialist for the American Excavations at Morgantina: Contrada Agnese Project. She also had the pleasure of cataloging Historic Beverly’s archaeological collection to make it usable for research.… Read More

The Cyrus B. Allen Elgin Patent Cutlass Pistol: The U.S. Military’s First Official and Most Unusual Percussion Handgun

In the world of military firearms firsts, few guns are as visually unique as the Elgin Patent Cutlass Pistol. The roots of the pistol’s design extend back into the 17th century when a handful of English and European gun makers made and marketed to the public and commercial enterprises swords that incorporated flintlock pistols in their hilts, and blunderbusses and pistols with folding bayonets or daggers attached to their muzzles. Weapons of this type survive in notable numbers, showing that they enjoyed some popularity.… Read More

Virtual First Tuesday | July 6

Join us for First Tuesday online!

AUCTION EVALUATION DAY | TUESDAY, JULY 6

See what hidden treasures our experts may be able to reveal

We invite you to join us online for our Virtual First Tuesday on July 6. Submit your items anytime before the 6th 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

5 Questions with Skinner Photographs Specialist James Leighton

James Leighton joined the American & European Works of Art Department at Skinner as a Photographs Specialist in 2021. Prior to arriving at Skinner, he held a curatorial role in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

During his time at the museum, he organized the exhibition Georgie Friedman: Fragments of Antarctica (2019) and co-organized Elsa Dorfman: Me and My Camera (2020) and Ansel Adams in Our Time (2019).… Read More

Jeweled Creatures Great and Small

Whether it’s called zoomorphic personal ornamentation or critter glitter, animals of all kinds have been a recurring motif in jewelry history. Their natural beauty and unique traits have inspired countless pieces, from the scarab beetles of ancient Egypt to David Webb’s zebras and frogs.

The perennial fascination with animal themes is also because certain mammals, birds, reptiles and even insects are regarded as symbolic of virtues or desirable characteristics — “brave as a lion,” “wise as an owl,” “busy as a bee.”

In the ancient world, the Greeks, Persians and Romans followed the Egyptians in prizing jewelry with animal motifs.… Read More

A Life and Art Full of Contradictions

Can you name a renowned woman artist primarily associated with Taos, New Mexico?

Well, yes, there’s Georgia O’Keeffe. But there is also Agnes Martin.

The Canadian-born painter (1912-2004) had a life and career that were full of fascinating contradictions. She began painting traditional narrative themes, but made her name with art that has most often been classified as Minimalist. (She thought of herself as an Abstract Expressionist.) She lived off the grid in Taos, New Mexico – what was then a remote, unfashionable outpost – but became influential in the art world and a wealthy woman late in life.… Read More

Designing @Auction: “Get the Look” with Phillip Thomas + Skinner

Skinner welcomed Phillip Thomas, Founder and Principal of Phillip Thomas Inc., a New York-based design firm, for a behind-the-scenes look into the warehouse to view furniture, objects, and works of art. Phillip created “get the look” interior vignettes with pieces from our June 20th Century Design auction.

“Dining rooms are so often under-utilized spaces for an individual to tell their story and share their passions. I enjoy incorporating beautiful collections into my clients’ dining rooms.”

LOT PICKS: 1111, 1319, 1139, 1484, 1477, 1311, 1476, 1116

“The at-home bar has been making a comeback over the last few years in my designs.Read More

Designers Curate the Gentleman’s Auction

Interior designers Phillip Thomas, Prudence Bailey, Christina Roughan have helped curate a portion of the May 25 – June 3 Gentleman’s Auction. Read on to see what they picked.

Phillip Thomas’ Picks

Five Pottery Planters and Flowerpots (Lot 1038)

There is something so beautiful about even the simplest of pottery. The shapes and the colors of the glazes are always so captivating to me. I could see these pieces arranged on a table with beautiful specimen plants of equal interest.… Read More

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