The sale of the Keane Collection was led by 18th and 19th century furniture and fine art from the China Trade
MARLBOROUGH, MA — Skinner Auctioneers’ sale of The Beacon Hill Collection of John and Marilyn Keane attracted interest from passionate bidders from across the United States and around the world. The sale was held live on Friday, November 19, at Skinner’s Marlborough gallery, and was highlighted by masterpieces of 18th and early 19th century furniture, as well as a collection of 19th century paintings related to the China Trade. The Keanes collected exceptional pieces with the guidance of knowledgeable members of the trade and often from established private collections, which made for a great selection during this auction. The 101 lots totaled $2,075,684, including buyer’s premium.
The collection’s top lot (Lot 31) was a rare and important Chippendale Carved Mahogany Marble-top Slab Table, with carving attributed to Martin Jugiez of Philadelphia, c. 1765. The Keanes had purchased it from The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland, at a landmark auction held in New York in 1998. The table, of rare form and quality, had masterful carving to the knees of the elegant cabriole legs, and finely formed claw-and-ball feet. Its most striking characteristic was a multicolored marble top with a swirling green, purple, orange, black and white design. The table sold for $396,500 to a private collector.
A pair of Classical Card Tables attributed to Charles Honore-Lannuier of New York, c. 1815, was another success. The tables–of a known group by the cabinetmaker employing caryatids as their front supports and the only examples with carved dolphin feet–featured brass-inlaid edges, rosewood veneers, and rich, bright surfaces. Lannuier tables of this type have largely found their way into museums and institutions over the last few decades, and collectors saw their appearance here as a rare opportunity. Competitive bidding from multiple sources drove the tables to $262,500.
Other furniture highlights include:
The Hezekiah Smith Chippendale Carved Mahogany Desk and Bookcase, which brought $75,000;
A small Mahogany Block-front bureau, which sold for $50,000.
18th century card tables from Boston ($25,000) and New York ($26,250).
A Salem square-back sofa with carving attributed to Samuel McIntyre, which achieved $37,500.
The sale featured the best group of fine art from the China trade that Skinner has handled. Eleven works comprising portraiture, port scenes and an interesting figural work showing an Imperial review combined to bring over $725,000. The group was led by a serene portrait of a Hong Merchant , possibly Chung Qua, by the pioneering Chinese artist Spoilum, which brought $162,500. A rare view of Singapore dating to c. 1850 brought $106,250, an exceptionally beautiful view of Shanghai under a rose pink sky sold in spirited competition at $81,250, and the sale’s cover lot, an unfailingly precise view of the Hongs at Canton, by Spoilum, brought $62,500. The aforementioned painting showing the review of an army – also illustrated in Carl Crossman’s indispensable book on the China Trade – sold for $93,750.
Bidders competed for other items in the sale as well. Two especially well-made whalebone model ships (lots 4 and 5) each sold for $10,000, and a yarn swift of whalebone, featuring a careful abalone inlay, achieved $17,500. Rare pieces of Georgian silver, including an epergne by Thomas Pitts and a pair of candlesticks by John Cafe, brought $11,250 and $5,312, respectively. Fine maritime paintings by Clement Drew, William Yorke, and others in the Anglo-American tradition were led by William Bradford’s Fishing in Labrador, which sold for $56,250.
Skinner attracts top consignments and commands record-breaking prices in the international auction marketplace. With renowned expertise and extraordinary service, Skinner is the place for buyers, sellers and the passionately curious. Skinner appraisers are familiar faces on PBS’s 19-time Emmy Award-nominated ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. Visit us in Boston, Marlborough, New York, Maine, or Florida, or online at https://www.skinnerinc.com