News-Antique.com - Jan 07,2010 - Important Americana: Silver and Prints, 22 Jan, 2pm Among the highlights of the silver and prints offered in the January sale of Important Americana is An Important American Silver Punch Bowl, Cornelius Kierstede, New York, 1700-1710 (est. $400/800,000), the most massive known piece of early 18th century American silver. The bowl has descended in the family of Commodore Joshua Loring, whose stately home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the Loring-Greenough House, has been preserved as an historic site. In March of 1776, Loring and his wife evacuated to London, escaping the Revolutionary War. Loring’s son, Joshua Jr., remained in America and continued to fight with the British army. Soon after, however, Loring Jr. fled to London, taking with him few possessions. Among the pieces taken was the present lot, which had been buried in the family well for safekeeping during the war.
Once Loring Jr. was reunited with his family in London, the monumental bowl was stored in a bank vault, where it has remained unused for over 230 years. The Maxwell Vase: An Important American silver presentation vase, Thomas Fletcher and Sidney Gardiner, Philadelphia, retailed by Baldwin Gardiner, New York, 1829 (est. $250,000-350,000) will also be among the highlights. After the Wall Street Crash of 1825, the overall value of the New York Stock Exchange (then 67 companies) fell by
30%; by 1829 eighteen companies would fail or be shut down. The District Attorney for New York, Hugh Maxwell, instigated a criminal investigation against many of the directors for fraud. In 1829, a group of “New York Merchants” commissioned this 24-inch tall testimonial for Maxwell, one of the most imposing pieces of silver created in early 19th century America. The commission involved its own fraud, though, as the New York retailer Baldwin Gardiner covertly contracted Thomas Fletcher of Philadelphia (his late brother’s partner) to design and make the item – but Gardiner would stamp his own name on it, and the secret was to be kept to avoid backlash in New York! In the collection of the New York Law Institute since Maxwell’s death, the piece was featured in the recent exhibition on Fletcher and Gardiner at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Winterthur, and in Classical Taste in America in Baltimore, Charlotte, and Houston.
Important Americana: Furniture, Folk Art and Carpets, 23 January, 10am Leading the Saturday morning session of Important Americana comprising Furniture, Folk Art and Carpets is The Important Ranlett-Fust Family Chippendale Figured Mahogany Bombé Slant-Front Desk, Probably by Francis Cook, Marblehead, Massachusetts, circa 1770 (est. $400,000/1 million). The desk is one of the rarest surviving examples of the esteemed bombé form; only twelve additional examples are known. The present example has never before been offered on the market, and is among the most original of all known examples. Extensive research suggests the desk was made north of Boston, in Marblehead, Massachusetts and through careful comparison with extant signed pieces, the desk has been attributed to Francis Cook. Also featured is An Important Federal Carved and Figured