Auctions: Freeman's goes farther afield with English, Continental

Though it is better known for its sales of American arts and antiques, Freeman's also has a respectable reputation for goods from overseas - as its two-day spring sale next week of English and Continental furniture, silver and decorative arts demonstrates.

The more than 800 lots to be offered Wednesday and Thursday come from all over Europe, and also include a selection of decorative arts from China and Japan. In addition, the auction will feature a collection of English and Continental clocks being sold by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to benefit its acquisitions fund.

Presale estimates range from $200 to $300 for a pair of early-19th-century English creamware fruit plates to $70,000 to $90,000 for a set of 10 Irish George II-style mahogany dining chairs.

The chairs will be a highlight of the first day of the sale, beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, as will the fruit plates, made by Neal & Co.

Another important, and possibly Irish, piece in the session is a large provincial oak dresser (estimate: $12,000 to $18,000). It stands 82 inches high, with three slender shelves in an upper section, making it suitable as a sideboard.

Equally important is an early-18th-century George I gilt brass-mounted coffer decorated in an Oriental motif. It sold at Christie's in London in 1999 for $15,000 to $25,000 and is expected to bring that amount this time as well.

Also included in the Wednesday session are tea caddies, porcelains, earthenware, an early-19th-century giltwood and burr-maple harp inscribed "Sebastian Erard" ($4,000 to $6,000), and, from a private Virginia collection, a late-18th-century George III mahogany corner commode chair ($600 to $900).

The three dozen lots of Chinese and Japanese arts, including Chinese export and Japanese Imari porcelains, also will be offered Wednesday. A five-piece Chinese silver tea and coffee service dating to about 1930 has a presale estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.

The nearly 100 lots of English and Continental silver in the session range from a pair of George III sterling berry spoons made in London in 1768 ($200 to $300) to a late-19th-century silverplate centerpiece made by the Paris firm Christofle ($20,000 to $30,000). The session closes with a variety of Russian icons.

The second session, beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, opens with more Continental furniture, including a Biedermeier mahogany bureau bookcase ($10,000 to $15,000) and decorative arts and bronzes, including a selection of late-19th-century bronze inkwells.

Among the decorative-arts offerings are a Louis XVI marble mantel clock and an Empire mantel, each being sold by the Art Museum and each expected to bring $2,000 to $3,000; and a couple of lots of whimsical German carved figures, notably of a small orchestra ($1,000 to $1,500).

The Thursday session's top item is a group of large porcelain figures of five of the Muses (Urania, Clio, Euterpe, Polyhymnia and Calliope) expected to sell for $25,000 to $35,000.

About 75 lots of American silver will wind up the session, including a 300-piece Gorham Tuileries-pattern flatware service ($6,000 to $9,000).

Previews are from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today, tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday and by appointment on Sunday at Freeman's gallery, 1808 Chestnut St. For more information, call 215-563-9275; view the catalog at www.freemansauction.com.

At Stephenson's. Silver also will be a highlight of Stephenson's Auction's spring sale of antiques and decorative arts, beginning at 3 p.m. next Friday at the gallery, 1005 Industrial Blvd. in Southampton.

About 70 of the sale's 450 lots are silver from such diverse sources as Russia, Scandinavia and Mexico, as well as the United States. Ninety percent of them came from a single estate near Reading, according to Cindy Stephenson.

The top lot of silver from that estate is a Lopez Taxco sterling six-piece tea and coffee service that Stephenson expects to sell for $3,000 to $5,000.

The auction also features artwork, including an Arthur Meltzer oil-on-board still life; three works by Joseph Barrett, including an oil-on-board scene of Solebury House; and a seascape, Off Cornwall by Thomas Luny. Even though it needs restoration, Stephenson expects the Luny to bring $9,000 to $15,000.

Furniture includes a Chippendale chest-on-chest ($6,000 to $9,000) and a Dunbar sofa ($2,000 to $4,000) from a Center City consigner who dealt in the brand.

The auction will be conducted live both in the gallery and on eBay. Preview is from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. to sale time next Friday. Information: 215-322-6182.


Contact David Iams at daiams@comcast.net.