Auction Report: Cowan’s Winter Sale
Cowan’s Feb. 7 Winter Fine and Decorative Arts Sale has 668 lots going up comprised in part from the collections of Joan Erikson, Sara C. Kaufman and William and Phyllis Gilmore, Cowan’s is welcoming in the new year with a diverse and interesting collection of art, antiques and collectibles.
It may be a result of our turbulent financial times, but it is interesting to note that most of the furniture items, with perhaps a few exceptions, are listed with very low estimates. Paintings seem to be holding their own with or without attribution. Silver is still a good investment based on this sale, and interesting provincial/regional pieces deserve a second look as potential long-term investments.
Lot 5, a fine oil on canvas in the style of Edwin Landseer. It is a work by M.S. Offord and inscribed in verso, “Spaniels of King Charles Breed painted by M.S. Offord exhibitor after Edwin Landseer RA,” 1802-1873. In a period gilt frame, its estimate is $1,200-$1,600. The work was commissioned by the owner of the spaniels, Robert Vernon. It is a stylistically sound work by a listed artist.
M.S. Offord’s spaniels
Lot 52, a rare Flight and Barr, Worchester, inkstand. This English piece, circa 1800, possibly earlier, is porcelain and decorated with chrome green and puce enamels enhanced with gilding. “Flight & Barr/Worchester” is marked in puce script. Although there are minor condition issues and the lid is missing, this piece is considered extremely rare. Estimate: $300-$500.
Flight and Barr inkstand
Lot 60, an American or English circa 1800 oil on canvas, unsigned. It shows a well-dressed gentleman seated in front of a draped column with glimpse of sky.
The portrait is in a period frame with minor restoration. Estimate: $2,000-$4,000
Lot 63, the Omnibus Livery and Bait Stables at the White Swan Inn, painted by James Pollard, (1792-1867). An oil on canvas, signed and dated 1853, it depicts a lorry pulled by a Welsh cob horse in the foreground with the White Swan Inn in the background. What is significant about this piece is that Pollard is recognized as the foremost artist of coaching and sporting paintings. Pollard is a listed artist and recognized as a “chronicler” of the coaching age. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000.
James Pollard painting
Lot 137, a provincial combination collection box and traveling desk with interior watercolor drawings, American 1855. This is a hinged box in old paint with a velvet-covered writing surface inside. The interior is decorated with hand-drawn illustrations, circa 1831. Drawings include St George and the dragon, Robinson Crusoe, Richard III and Napoleon. Estimate: $500-$700.
Combination collection box
Interior of combination collection box
Lot 157, an exceptional collection of eight Hepplewhite dining chairs in mahogany, Massachusetts 1790-1800. Chairs consist of carved shield-back side chairs with swagged brass tacks on upholstered horsehair seats. These chairs were originally purchased at the 1998 Sotheby sale. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000.
Hepplewhite dining chairs
Lot 165, a museum-quality, extremely rare Chandee and Holloway (Baltimore) compass. There is an inscribed signature on the face. The compass dial is fully engraved. The face is elaborately engraved with a fleur-de-lis North insignia, single inset level bubble vial and two subsidiary numbered counters activated from beneath for counting both poles and miles. The compass is complete with the original brass cover and period-fitted wooden case. Two listed Chandee and Holloway compasses are documented to exist on in a private collection and one in a museum. Fully documented with an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.
Chandee and Holloway compass
Lot 448, an exceptional folk-art cane depicting an African-American man’s head. Circa 1880, Kentucky, the figured wooden handle is carved showing the mouth open and well-defined features. Below the carved head is a smooth silver collar followed by carved detail and a projecting twist shaft that terminates in a brass ferrule. Estimate: $2,500-$3,500.
– By Christopher Kent, a member of the WorthPoint board of advisers and director of evaluations for WorthPoint. He is also an antiques and collectibles generalist, fine-arts broker and president of CTK Design.
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