Auctions | Maude Bryant paintings a highlight of estate sale

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The boy in this Maude Drein Bryant painting is her son, William. The painting is expected to bring $15,000 to $25,000 at Smith Auction Company's sale of the Bryant estate on Jan 5.

Though not as famous a painter as Violet Oakley or members of the group of women artists known as the Philadelphia Ten, Maude Drein Bryant enjoyed a certain prominence in the early 20th century.

An alumna of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she met her husband, Everett Bryant, she produced more than 100 paintings between 1914 and 1930, mostly purchased by clients here and in Baltimore, New York and the far West. They still fetch good prices.

Most were still-lifes and landscapes, but she also did some portraits - including one featuring her son, William Bryant (now deceased), who remained in the area, working for Du Pont, and who kept the portrait in the large 18th-century home in Pocopson where he lived with his wife, Joan Neville.

That portrait will be the highlight of an estate sale to be conducted by Smith Auction Co. beginning at 9 a.m. Jan. 5 at the house, 65 N. Wawaset Rd. One of eight works by Maude or Everett Bryant that are included in the sale, it is expected to sell for $15,000 to $20,000, according to Annette Smith.

"This is the cream of the crop," she said recently. The other artworks should sell for $5,000 to $10,000 each, she says.

The auction reflects the family history of both the Bryants and the Dreins, who could trace their history to colonial days. From the Drein side comes memorabilia from Delaware, including early photographs of Rehoboth Beach that Smith expects will bring $100 to $200 because of their size.

From the Bryant side come many of the books in the auction, notably those dealing with the Brandywine Valley and the Civil War. For many years, Joan Neville was active in the Brandywine equestrian community, and the auction also features some of her riding equipment, as well as some of the trophies she won.

Most of the furniture to be offered is European, notably English pieces including a high chest, sideboards, and a drop-front secretary desk. Other highlights are a mineral collection and laboratory equipment from William Bryant's days with Du Pont.

The house itself has already been sold, according to Smith. The new owner, Joseph Grace, proprietor of the Chadds Ford Inn, is doing extensive restoration.

Preview is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 4. For further information, call 610-942-2367 or go to www.smithauctionco.com.

Saturday sale at Bunch. William H. Bunch Auctions and Appraisals, whose normal Tuesday schedule conflicts this year with both Christmas and New Year's Day, will have a "between holidays" sale beginning at 9 a.m. tomorrow at the gallery at Chadds Ford.

In addition to the usual selection of glass, porcelains, jewelry, furniture and collectibles, the sale will feature a large consignment of decorative items from three Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Delaware that are remodeling.

The items include oversize mirrors, movie posters, tin advertising items, shadow-box display cases and sports memorabilia from the restaurants in Pike Creek, Bear and Middletown, Bunch says.

The auction also will feature good country furniture and a collection of vintage fishing equipment from a Margate, N.J., consigner. Fishing tackle, including rods, reels and lures, is "amazingly collectible," Bunch says.

One of collection's highlights is a matched pair of rods made by Tycoon Tackle Inc. for a husband and wife. Bearing the label designation HRH and a crown, they are lightweight rods made of bamboo for bait-casting in salt water.

Bunch, who estimates the pair is 50 to 60 years old, says they might bring $400 to $600.

Other items include a collection of letter openers, slag lamps, a deer-foot lamp, and a pencil sketching signed "M. Taylor" and dated "1/79" that appears to be of football great Joe Namath.

Preview is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the gallery, 1 Hillman Dr. just south of Routes 1 and 202. Information: 610-558-1800 or go to www.williambunchauctions.com.


Contact David Iams at daiams@comcast.net

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