Two Federal Dressing Chests made by John and Thomas Seymour of Boston, an Extraordinary Pictoral Nee Sale Features The Patriotic Americana Collection of Marilyn and Michael Gould; Selections from the Collection of Robert Skinner; Fine Federal Furniture from the Property of a New York Collector
brilliantly inlaid Federal carved mahogany and bird’s-eye maple veneer mirrored dressing chest circa 1805-10 (lot 169, $150,000 to $200,000), believed to be one of two known extant, is stunningly elegant and outstanding in its pure expression of American form.
Another impressive example of the form made later in the Federal period is a carved mahogany and bird’s-eye maple veneer dressing chest with gilt and glazed leafage by John Penniman executed in collaboration with the Seymour shop, circa 1809-14, (lot 182, $100,000 to $150,000). The two chests, each a masterpiece in its own right, show how tastes and styles shifted in a relatively short period of time between 1805 and 1814. These examples are among only a few dozen such Seymour chests extant.
A carved oak armchair (lot 165, $10,000 to $15,000) made by Bembe & Kimbel for Thomas Ustick Walter, New York, circa 1857 comes with an interesting history. This chair was part of a group designed to furnish the newly constructed chamber of the House of Representatives. In a wave of construction and renovation that included the addition of the current, iconic dome, Walter designed expansions that house the chambers still used by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Following in the tradition of a long line of architects for whom furniture design was an extension of architectural execution, Walter designed these pieces to be used by members of the House of Representatives.
American Paintings & Needlework
A folk art watercolor masterpiece by John Orne Johnson “J.O.J.” Frost (lot 218, $75,000 to $125,000) depicts a pre-Revolutionary War event known as “Leslie’s Retreat,” which took place on February 26, 1775. This watercolor is, perhaps, one of the finest examples of Frost’s work.
A needlework (lot 159, $20,000 to $30,000), stitched with silk and chenille threads on a silk ground, displaying George and Martha Washington strolling the grounds of Mount Vernon, is an excellent example of early 19th century neo-classical needlework, perhaps one the finest example of American needlework that Skinner has ever offered.
A number of weathervanes will be offered, including a late 19th century monumental gilt copper weathervane (lot 349, $10,000 to $15,000). It depicts a full-body standing allegorical nude female figure with shaped animal-form ears and wings on her feet. One arm is held aloft while the other bears the staff of caduceus, the symbol of commerce and negotiation. A molded copper steer weathervane (lot 353, $8,000 to $12,000) and a copper and cast zinc standing horse weathervane (lot 352, $2,000 to $3,000) round out the selection.
John Quincy Adams Objects
A number of lots descended in the family of John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), sixth president of the United States, will be offered during the sale. Most significant is the rare gold presentation medal (lot 185, $30,000 to $50,000) given to John Quincy Adams to commemorate the construction of the Erie Canal, which was successfully completed during his presidency. Other items include a 14kt gold and cameo brooch depicting John Quincy Adams (lot 195, $3,000 to