12 Museum-Worthy Treasures from Great American Collections

recirc-great-collections-of-americana-2-640x360.jpg
Launch Slideshow

To behold American treasures is to bear exciting witness to the past. Americana Week features more than 1,000 lots of furniture, decorative and folk art, silver, ceramics and fine art – many of which hail from notable collections, including the Dudley and Constance Godfrey Foundation, the Mellon Family and more. Not only do the pieces have impeccable provenance, but many similar examples or variations can be found in some of America’s most esteemed institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Winterthur Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the White House. Click ahead for highlights from the Colonial era to the Civil War.

Important Americana
18–21 January | New York

12 Museum-Worthy Treasures from Great American Collections

  • Highly Important Zabriskie Family Engraved Pewter Tankard, Attributed to Francis Bassett I, New York, Dated 1728. Estimate $50,000–80,000.
    This elaborately engraved tankard, attributed to Francis Bassett I (1690–1758), is one of only two surviving examples of early 18th-century pewter with New Jersey history. Joost Zabriskie (1687–1756) was the son of Albert Zabriskie (1638–1711) a Lutheran from the Duchy of Prussia (present-day Russia). He settled in Hackensack, New Jersey, in 1662. The companion piece to this tankard is a dessert dish with Zabriskie family history that is dated 1728 and has identical engraving. It sold at Freeman's in Philadelphia, in American Furniture Decorative & Folk Art on 19 April 2009 for $85,000 and is now in the collection of the Winterthur Museum, Delaware.

    Private Collections of Two New Jersey Families

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Attributed to Isaac Nuttman, Still Life of Fruit with a Bird and Butterfly. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    Isaac W Nuttman, born 16 March 1801, was a descendant of Benjamin Crane (1630–1691), an early settler and extensive landowner in Wethersfield, Connecticut. In the 1839 Newark Directory, Nuttman is listed as a “fancy painter” residing at 241 Broad, and appears among a group of painters in a later directory of Newark, New Jersey businesses. One of Nuttman’s still-life paintings of fruit, from the collection of Mr and Mrs William E Wiltshire III, was exhibited at the Museum of American Folk Art in 1979.

    Private Collections of Two New Jersey Families

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Very Fine and Rare William and Mary Inlaid and Figured Walnut High Chest of Drawers, Attributed to Samuel Clement, New York, Circa 1720. Estimate $60,000–120,000.
    With burlwood walnut veneers surrounded by bands of contrasting veneers on its front and veneered sides, this William and Mary high chest reflects the Baroque concern for verticality and the contrast between thick and thin components. Very few veneered William and Mary chests of this type from New York are known. One with book-matched figured walnut veneers surrounded by herringbone bands of maple and eastern red cedar is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A high chest made of gumwood representing a similar shop tradition was made in 1726 by the Flushing carpenter-joiner Samuel Clement for Samuel Lawrence, a member of a prominent Quaker merchant family of Flushing. The high chest and its en suite dressing table are in the collection of Winterthur Museum. Both pieces are made of gumwood, commonly used for case pieces made in New York though far less popular for furniture made in the other colonies.

    Property from the Estates of Price and Isobel H Glover

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Very Rare Engraved Silver-Mounted Tortoiseshell Comb and Case, Attributed to Paul Bennett, Port Royal, Jamaica, 1688. Estimate $8,000–12,000.
    A late-17th-century tortoiseshell comb and case, made from the shell of the hawksbill turtle, which is found in the waters of Jamaica. Engraved on both sides of the combs are vines and tulip-like flowers similar to engravings found on silver of that time. The decorations on the cases varied in their detail and depictions. The most commonly used decoration was the Jamaican coat of arms, which includes a shield depicting five pineapples in a cross. The shield is surmounted by a crocodile set between two native Arawak Indians. In addition, pineapple, cashew, banana, cactus and coconut plants and trees are often included within the engraving. 

    Property from the Estates of Price and Isobel H Glover

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Very Fine and Rare Pilgrim Century Carved Oak and Chestnut Document Box, Attributed to William Savell Sr., Braintree, Massachusetts, Circa 1660. Estimate $15,000–25,000.
    This exceptional document box is one of only three surviving pieces by progenitor of the Savell shop tradition, William Savell Sr. The others are a chest at the Smithsonian Institution and a cupboard fragment at Winterthur Museum. All three pieces have their fronts secured to their sides by wooden pegs. Peter Follansbee has noted that there are many other direct quotes in the carved patterns of this box, linking it to the carved joined chests. Among these are the “broken” concave outline on its sides, as well as the gouge-chopped decoration just outside the lunette.

    Property from the Dudley and Constance Godfrey Foundation

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Very Fine and Rare Chippendale Carved Mahogany Side Chair, Possible Workshop of Thomas Tufft, Philadelphia, Circa 1770. Estimate $8,000–12,000.
    This side chair represents a richly embellished version of an extremely popular chair design in Colonial Philadelphia undoubtedly made by multiple cabinet shops. A chair from the same set is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A set of lozenge-carved chairs with similar treatment of the back but variations in the carving of the crest, seat rail, knees and feet is in the collection of Winterthur Museum and was formerly in the collection of Howard Reifsnyder. A set of lozenge-carved chairs with similar treatment of the back but variations in the carving of the crest, seat rail, knees and feet is at the White House. Other variations are in the collections of Yale University, Colonial Williamsburg and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Property from the Dudley and Constance Godfrey Foundation

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Ammi Phillips, Portrait of Mrs. William Northrop Bentley (1786–1842) and Her Daughter, Louisa (1813–1902), Circa 1818. Estimate $80,000–120,000.
    This portrait is a rare example of Ammi Phillips's transitional work from his early “Border Limner” style characterized by pale violet-hued backgrounds to his “Kent” period, in which he favoured a more emphatic depiction of his figures. Here Mrs William Northrop Bentley (Rhoda Goodrich; 1786–1842) is depicted with striking red hair and her blond daughter, Louisa (1813–1902) holding a wedge of watermelon. Rhoda Goodrich Bentley and her husband, Captain William Northrop Bentley, were the proprietors of Columbia Hall, a popular hotel in Lebanon Springs, New York that remained in the family until it was sold in 1846.

    Important American Folk Art and Furniture from the Collection of Bobbi & Ralph Terkowitz

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Exceptional Federal Cherrywood Tall Case Seven-Tune Musical Clock, Martin Cheney, Windsor, Vermont, Circa 1809. Estimate $80,000–120,000.
    This rare and important musical tall clock is signed by the maker, Martin Cheney of Windsor, Vermont. The son of the clockmaker Benjamin Cheney, he trained under his father and in 1805 established his own business. With the complexity of the musical movement and inlaid decorated case, this clock stands as a prime example of the products supplied by the sophisticated craftsmen that were drawn to Windsor during the Federal era. Interestingly, Cheney only stayed in Windsor from 1805 to 1809, supporting a narrow manufacture date. After leaving Windsor, Cheney moved his business to Montreal, Canada, where his last known advertisement appeared in 1827.

    Important American Folk Art and Furniture from the Collection of Bobbi & Ralph Terkowitz

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Ernest Hüpeden, Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Circa 1864. Estimate $6,000–8,000.
    On 27 June 1864, Kennesaw Mountain, located about twenty miles northwest of Atlanta, became the scene for one of the major battles of the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. The significant frontal assault launched by Union general William T Sherman against the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Joseph E Johnston ended in a tactical defeat for the Union forces. Strategically, however, the battle failed to deliver the result that the Confederacy needed – a halt to Sherman’s advance on the city of Atlanta.

    Property from the Mellon Family Collection

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Important Red-Painted Butternut Shaker One Drawer Work Table with Stretchers, Elder Timothy Hubbard, New Lebanon, New York, Circa 1800. Estimate $12,000–18,000.
    Possibly the earliest documented example of Shaker furniture by the Elder Timothy Hubbard, who made and signed this piece and stopped working in 1806.

    Distinguished American Furniture and Folk Art from the Collection of Annie Abram and Steve Novak

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Important Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany Tall Case Clock, Works by Thomas Harland, Norwich, Connecticut, Circa 1780. Estimate $50,000–80,000.
    An accomplished, prolific and influential Norwich, Connecticut clockmaker, Thomas Harland learned the trade in England and emigrated to Boston by 1773. He moved to Norwich soon after and established a successful clockmaking business. The distinctive engraved-brass dial and arched-top case are of the types found on many of Harland’s tall case clocks. A closely related clock with a movement by Harland and similar mahogany case is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Another inscribed “Thos. Harland/ Norwich/ 1776” with a musical movement and cherrywood case is in the collection of the US Department of State.

    Property from the Collection of Patricia M Sax

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
  • Very Fine and Rare Classical Figured and Ormulu-Mounted Mahogany Bureau, Charles Honoré Lannuier, New York, 1810–1815. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    Stamped four times H. LANNUIER / NEW – YORK, this bureau was made by Charles- Honoré Lannuier (1779–1819) in le gout antique, an early 19th-century style that favoured heavier architectural forms with ornamentation inspired by ancient furniture excavated from archaeological sites. It is one of the few known case pieces by Lannuier that survives. In keeping with his practice, it is made of the finest mahogany veneers with elaborate cast-brass ornamentation and an original white Carrara marble top, which he had shipped at high cost from Italy. Other notable examples of Lannuier’s le gout antique oeuvre include a card table at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a nearly identical table at Winterthur Museum once owned by Dolly Madison as part of the White House furnishings.

    Property from the Collection of Patricia M Sax

    Important Americana
    18–21 January | New York
/
Close

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

By continuing to use our Site, you consent to our use of cookies and to the practices described in our updated Privacy Policy.

Close