Skinner to Auction American Furniture and Decorative Arts

Folk Art

Exceptional examples of folk painting include an unsigned American School work, lot 75, Portrait of Lavinia Fanning Age Seven Years. This portrait of the daughter of Nathaniel Fanning, a midshipman on John Paul Jones’s ship Bon Homme Richard, was painted in 1803 and is estimated between $8,000 to $12,000. It comes to Skinner through family descent and reportedly hung in the family home for over 200 years. A pair of portraits by John Brewster, lot 69, depicts Captain John Low and his wife Sara (Herrick) Low, and is estimated between $30,000 and $50,000. Another appealing portrait is Jonathan Orne Johnson “J.O.J.” Frost’s folk painting The “A(Zor). ORNE HOME,” Marblehead, Massachuesetts. J.O.J. Frost was an untrained artist who took up sculpting and painting later in life. The painting depicts several African-American servants with yard tools and a white gentleman holding a basket by a house. Interestingly, this house was used in the 1830s in the “Underground Railroad” as a secret meeting place for the New England Anti-Slavery Society. Auction estimates for lot 169 range from $15,000 to $25,000.

Weathervanes, whirligigs, and folk art sculpture going on the block include a whirligig tavern sign from Connecticut, circa 1870s, lot 82, estimated between $8,000 to $12,000. The carved painted wood figure of a woman with paddle hands reportedly stood at the “Halfway House,” a tavern and inn established in 1876 halfway between the towns of Darien and Stamford, Connecticut. A diverse variety of weathervanes including codfish, horses, roosters, cows, a peacock, and a leaping stag will be offered. A copper “Dexter” running horse weathervane, lot 87, from the late 19th century had been mounted on a barn in Worcester County, Massachusetts since its original purchase and is expected to bring between $3,000 and $5,000. Finally, a J. Howard rooster weathervane, lot 692, made of gilt zinc and copper, and made in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, circa 1854-67, has been estimated to sell between $10,000 and $15,000.

Marine Paintings

Marine works include Solon Francis Monticello Badger’s Portrait of the Schooner Young Brothers. The Young Brothers was built in Belfast, Maine, in 1890. Her captain and share owner was George Snow of South Falmouth, Massachusetts. The painting, lot 622, is expected to sell for $10,000 to $15,000. Rounding out the marine offerings is an unsigned work, lot 601, Portrait of the Bark Silver Cloud. Capt. Thos. W. Lewis, Master, with an estimated value of $6,000 to $8,000. A portrait of the captain himself attributed to William Matthew Prior will also be offered as lot 600. According to information collected at the Mystic Marine Museum and Bath Maritime Museum by a descendant of the consignor, the bark Silver Cloud was built in 1853 by General Joseph Barry at George Town, in Bath, Maine. A painting by Ralph Eugene Cahoon, Jr. of Cotuit, Massachusetts, lot 634, entitled Nantucket Fish Co. will also be sold at an estimated auction value of $20,000 to $30,000.

Needlework and pottery

Textiles and needlework include several lots of samplers stitched by New England girls in the 19th century. Lot 215 by “Hannah W. Perkins Age 11,” from Jaffrey, New Hampshire is an example of the needlepoint featured in “Pictorial Samplers of Southern New Hampshire” in Girlhood Embroidery: American Samplers, Pictorial Needlework 1650-1850, by Betty Ring, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Ring writes, “Between 1817-1821, girls of Fitzwilliam and Rindge placed paper-faced ladies in elegant pastures surrounded by luxuriant floral borders…Their samplers have an interesting variety of materials and their paper-faced people and consistently worked flowers unquestionably relate them to a later example naming Jaffrey.” Hannah Perkin’s sampler is expected to bring between $8,000 and $12,000 at auction.

The sale will also feature an important collection of American Rockingham-glazed stoneware, including an early example by William Capron. The stoneware jar decorated with a cobalt flower and bird design is dated to Albany, New York, c. 1800-05. William Capron is thought to have been the first producer of stoneware in Albany, New York. He opened a pottery shop there on Washington Street in 1800. The jar, lot 188, has an estimated value of $2,000 to $3,000.

Miniature objects, toys and household items from the collection of Joanne Forney will also be auctioned. Mostly 19th century, this collection is highlighted by a Nantucket oval box, painted blue and decorated with a whale carved from ebony. Lot 353 has an estimated value of $1,000 to $1,500.


A selection of American clocks to be featured include patent timepieces, attributed to Aaron Willard Jr., John Sawin, and other makers, one of which has a full-striking movement. Lot 431, a mahogany striking patent timepiece from Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1830, with mustard yellow and red eglomise tablets, is expected to sell for $1,500 to $2,500. Tall clocks are highlighted by a Federal inlaid mahogany tall case clock, lot 516, by Joshua Wilder, Hingham, Massachusetts, c. 1807-10, has a rocking ship dial. Auction estimates range from $6,000 to $8,000. Another Federal mahogany inlaid tall case clock by James Cary, Jr. of Brunswick, Maine, c. 1810-15, comes from the collection of Israel Sack of New York. This clock, lot 517, is illustrated and described in American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection by Highland House Publishers and has an estimated value of $6,000 to $8,000.

Previews and Special Events

Previews Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursday, August 11th 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Friday, August 12th 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, August 13th 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and preceding the auction on Sunday, August 14th, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Skinner Inc. will present an Americana lecture by Philip Zea, President of Historic Deerfield, on Saturday, August 13th, 2011 with a reception at 2:30 p.m. and lecture at 3:00 p.m. in their Marlborough gallery at 274 Cedar Street. R.S.V.P. online or  call (508) 970-3000 or email

Catalogs and Bidding

Illustrated catalog #2558M is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at (508) 970-3240 or at the gallery for $32. Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale. At, users may also view all lots in the auction, leave bids, order catalogs and bid in real-time through SkinnerLive!

About Skinner

Skinner, Inc is one of the world’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art. With expertise in over 20 specialty collecting areas, Skinner draws the interest of buyers from all over the world. Skinner auctions regularly achieve world record prices. Providing a broad range of auction and appraisal services, Skinner is widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the auction business. Skinner appraisal experts are frequently featured on the PBS-TV series Antiques Roadshow. Specialty departments include American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American & European Paintings & Prints, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, 20th Century Design, Fine Ceramics, Fine Jewelry, Couture, Fine Musical Instruments, Asian Works of Art, Fine Wines, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Oriental Rugs & Carpets, American Indian & Ethnographic Art, Fine Judaica, Antique Motor Vehicles, Toys, Dolls & Collectibles, Discovery and Science, Technology & Clocks. Skinner galleries are located in Boston and Marlborough. For more information on upcoming auctions and events, visit



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