A monumental circa-1890 R.J. Horner figural carved mahogany 12-piece dining room set – consisting of a dining table, sideboard, china cabinet, server and set of eight dining room chairs – soared to $100,300 at an Exceptional Cataloged Antique Auction held on Saturday, May 21, by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, at the firm’s showroom in Pittsfield.
The set was the top lot in a sale that grossed just over $1.4 million. Over 500 lots crossed the block, in categories that included antique furniture, vintage lighting, fine art, decorative accessories, period clocks, estate jewelry, watches and more. Internet bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com and phone and absentee bidding was brisk. Overall, the sale was a success.
The dining room set featured a selection of some of the best American carved pieces of their time. It was presented in a deep untouched original finish and was in mint condition. The solid carvings and variations highlighted the peak of R.J. Horner, one of the greatest furniture makers in American history. It was the best Horner set Fontaine’s has sold in its 40-year history.
Another top lot of the auction was also a furniture grouping. It was a seven-piece John H. Belter laminated rosewood Henry Clay parlor set that climbed to $25,960. The set was in great condition, with detailed graining and a nice French polished finish. The sofa had a serpentine crest rail with three high crests. Also included was a pair of matching armchairs and side chairs.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the 18 percent buyer’s premium.
Examples by Tiffany were everywhere, and they all fetched nice high prices. A Tiffany Studios Greek key table tamp with 18-inch serpentine leaded shade brought $26,550; a Tiffany Studios swirling oak leaf and acorn table lamp with 18-inch shade in a geometric brick border made $24,780; and a Tiffany Studios turtleback desk lamp with fine bronze base rose to $14,160.
A Tiffany Studios hanging turtleback lantern having a square bronze frame with rounded edges and a pyramidal top with three coils on each side realized $23,600; a set of four signed Tiffany Favrile fiery orange iridescent art glass tulip shades with a bulbous floral form garnered $5,015; and a Tiffany Favrile wall sconce with a fiery red iridescent art glass shade hit $3,068.
A Tiffany Studios bronze crab inkwell with an exceptional brown and deep red patina with green highlights went for $23,600; and an 18kt Tiffany & Company fancy gold pin with 18 prong-set diamonds, signed and marked, topped out at $3,068. Another pin, not made by Tiffany, a floriform platinum pin with five crescent arms, each with 13 prong-set diamonds, hit $11,800.
Returning to furniture, a Wooton extra-grade three-hinge cabinet secretary with a highly carved gallery commanded $22,420; an R.H. Horner figural carved mahogany lamp table with a center pedestal showing a woman kneeling on a pillow breezed to $11,210; a standard grade two-hinge Wooton two-door cabinet secretary with a Renaissance Revival carved gallery sold for $10,620; and an elaborate figural carved mahogany R.J. Horner hall tree finished at $16,520.
In the clocks category, a large Chelsea ship’s bell mantle clock with 12-inch silvered dial changed hands for $15,930; a large French bronze balloon clock with a gold dore finish went for $9,440; a blackamoor French figural silk thread clock after Jean-Andre Reiche achieved $7,670; and a lovely bronze Guilmet wishing well conical pendulum clock with gilt framing hit $5,015.
Vintage lamps did well. A unique hibiscus leaded table lamp with a 20-inch shade beautifully decorated with large hibiscus flowers coasted to $6,785; and an Anthony Hart 16-inch cherry blossom table lamp on a light-up base hit $5,900.
In the bronze sculpture category, a monumental bronze by Arthur Waagen depicting a scene of a Kabyle hunter returning home from the hunt, seated on horseback with his catch, brought $12,980; and a large, 58-inch-tall bronze after Giovanni Bologna of the winged messenger Mercury pointing up towards Jupiter topped out at $10,620.
Another noteworthy bronze, depicting the French leader Napoleon and attributed to Christophe Fratin (Fr. 1800-1864), showing the general in full uniform and seated on his stallion, rearing back, 15 inches tall, fetched $7,080. Also, an original oil on wood panel by John F. Carlson (N.Y., 1874-1945), showing a snow-covered winter woodland scene, made $9,440.
In the sterling silver category, a 4-piece Israel Freeman & Sons, Ltd., sterling silver tea set (coffee pot, creamer, teapot, sugar) went to a determined bidder for $6,490; and a Gorham sterling pitcher stamped Theodore B. Starr (N.Y.), 11 inches tall, made $3,894. Also, a pair of blue opal glass French enameled bowls with under plates hammered for $6,785.
Estate jewelry featured a ladies’ 18kt white gold 4-prong engagement ring boasting a 1.1-carat round brilliant-cut center diamond, sold for $4,720; an 18kt gold two-tone Cartier lighter with 36 baguette diamonds set in platinum demanded $3,540; and a Waltham model 73 watch in a yellow gold hunting case, with good blued hands and 11 jewel movement, finished at $2,714.