Folk Art, Portraiture, and Chinese Export Porcelain Highlight Skinner’s February Americana Auction

Samuel Jordan (New Hampshire/Massachusetts, 1804-after 1836) Portrait of a Gentleman (Lot 323, Estimate $8,000-$12,000)

Samuel Jordan (New Hampshire/Massachusetts, 1804-after 1836) Portrait of a Gentleman (Lot 323, Estimate $8,000-$12,000)

BOSTON, MA – February 10, 2016 On Saturday, February 27 at 10AM, Skinner, Inc. will host its first American Furniture & Decorative Arts auction of 2016 in its Boston, MA gallery. The sale will showcase a broad range of furniture, ceramics, and fine and decorative arts, from 17th Century andirons to 20th Century Folk Art and Tramp Art.

Folk Art

Leading the sale is an excellent group of Folk Art and Portraiture, highlighted by a spectacular early 19th Century Polychrome Decorated Overmantel Painting on Pine with a Maritime subject (Lot 224, estimated $30,000-$50,000). It was painted in place, circa 1815, at the Brainerd home in Haddam Neck, CT, where it remained in situ until 1981. The panel is thought to depict the capture of the United States frigate President by the British frigate Endymion, an encounter which took place outside New York Harbor in January, 1815. Painted with energy, attention to detail, and considerable drama, the panel is a masterpiece of American Folk Art.

More Folk Art from the hearth comes in the form of two painted fireboards, one from Pennsylvania, the other of Connecticut origin. The Pennsylvania example (Lot 302, $15,000-$25,000), with a faux tiger-maple frame, depicts a fanciful landscape of trees below feathery wisps of clouds and four colorful birds, all above an abstracted group of flowering shrubs which are painted as rainbows. The other Paint-decorated Fireboard (Lot 343, $15,000-$25,000), more subtle but still quietly beautiful, shows a flowering potted plant flanked by flowers, trees, and a border of meandering vines on a gray ground.

Portrait of Alice Whitman Pickett, Age 2 Years 6 Months, c. 1853 (Lot 321, Estimate $30,000-$50,000)

Portrait of Alice Whitman Pickett, Age 2 Years 6 Months, c. 1853 (Lot 321, Estimate $30,000-$50,000)

Two folk portraits of particular note are a large Portrait of Alice Whitman Pickett and her dog signed by William Matthew Prior and dated 1853 (Lot 321, $30,000-$50,000), and a scarce Portrait of a Gentleman by the elusive and talented Samuel Jordan, signed by the artist and dated 1831 (Lot 323, $8,000-$12,000). In the work by Prior, Alice, in a bright red dress, has her arm around a black dog with white paws. The background at the top of the painting is divided in half – light gray behind the dog, dark brown behind the girl’s blond hair. The approach, which is very successful in creating contrast, gives the painting a structured, modern feel. Samuel Jordan, who will be the subject of a lecture by noted Folk Art scholar Deborah M. Child prior to the auction, is a fascinating character, and Lot 323 represents him at his best. The subject sits in an Empire sofa and wears a bright yellow vest with cobalt trim. Behind him is another two-part background – a landscape above what appears to be a gray-blue-painted chair rail, and printed wallpaper or below it. Colorful, whimsical, and appealing, the Jordan portrait, like the Prior, pushes the envelope of artistic convention with pleasing results.

Other Folk Art highlights in the sale include 18th and 19th Century paint-decorated woodenware, early 19th Century needlework memorials and samplers from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, and a nice group of watercolor miniatures and small framed works.

Set of Six Carved Mahogany Side Chairs, possibly Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1765-80 (Lot 107, Estimate $8,000-$12,000)

Set of Six Carved Mahogany Side Chairs, possibly Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1765-80 (Lot 107, Estimate $8,000-$12,000)


The sale features over 100 lots of 18th and 19th Century furniture, mirrors, and clocks from throughout the Northeastern United States, including a set of Six 18th Century Carved Mahogany Side Chairs from Portsmouth, NH (Lot 107, $8,000-$12,000); a Carved Walnut Tall Case Clock by Henry Taylor of Philadelphia, PA (Lot 296, $2,500-$3,500); a Carved Mahogany “Cumberland”  Dining Table, c. 1820, attributed to Thomas Seymour of Boston, MA (Lot 178, $4,000-$6,000); and a wonderful Carved Federal Mantelpiece from Kings County, Long Island (Lot 344, $4,000-$6,000).

Decorative Arts of the China Trade

The Decorative Arts of the China Trade are represented by an outstanding collection of early porcelain, comprising 18th Century Armorial ware as well as rare early 19th Century pieces. Among its highlights are “The Declaration of Independence” Punch Bowl (Lot 25, $6,000-$8,000); Armorial pieces made for the Yonge (Lot 14), Brodie (Lot 11), Napier (Lot 12), Bausset-Roquefort (Lot 18), van Gouderian (Lot 29), and Pole (Lot 13) families, among others; and a rare Yellow Fitzhugh Porcelain Dinner Plate (Lot 38, $3,000-$5,000). Also of interest are an early view of The Anchorage at Whampoa (Lot 243, $12,000-$15,000), and a watercolor and gouache of the Residence of Dr. G.R. Hall in Shanghai (Lot 244, $3,000-$5,000).

Silver Porringer, Paul Revere, Jr., Boston, Massachusetts, c. 1770 (Lot 74, Estimate $8,000-$12,000)

Silver Porringer, Paul Revere, Jr., Boston, Massachusetts, c. 1770 (Lot 74, Estimate $8,000-$12,000)

American Colonial Silver and Sterling Silver Yachting Trophies

Early American silver includes a rare Silver Porringer by Paul Revere, Jr. (Lot 74, $8,000-$12,000) with a close apparent relationship to a Revere example from the Pearce family of Gloucester, MA, and a Colonial Silver Teapot from Boston, c. 1760-70 (Lot 75, $3,000-$5,000), with elaborate chased and engraved decoration. Other silver includes a group of yacht racing trophies presented to the famous schooner Sachem in the late 19th Century, led by the Sterling Silver Repoussé Wine Cooler trophy presented for winning the 1887 Morgan Cup, a race from Vineyard Haven to Marblehead, MA (Lot 422, $5,000-$7,000).

Evening Lecture by Deborah M. Child

Please join Skinner for a reception and Samuel Jordan – Artist, Thief, Villain, a lecture by art historian, lecturer, and independent curator Deborah M. Child on Thursday, February 25, at 6PM. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please RSVP to 508-970-3240 or

Previews, Catalogs, and Bidding

Previews for the auction are free and open to the public. Previews will be held in Boston on Thursday, February 25 from noon to 7PM and on Friday, February 26 from noon to 8PM. Illustrated catalog 2880B is available from the Subscriptions Department at 508-970-3240 or from the Gallery. Prices realized will be available online at during and after the sale. The Skinner website also enables users to view all lots in the auction, leave bids, order catalogs and bid live, in real-time through SkinnerLive!

About Skinner

Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, Asian art, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, as well as in New York City and Miami, Florida, with bidders participating in person, by phone, and online. Join auctions live with SkinnerLive! and Bidsquare. For more information and to read our blog, visit the website at, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.



Emerson Tuttle
Vice President, Marketing

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