Bonhams & Butterfields to Offer Fine European & American Furniture, Decorative Arts, Garden Statuary and Porcelain on October 29, 2007

In conjunction with the annual and much-anticipated San Francisco Fall Antiques Show, the West Coast’s longest-running international antiques event, auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields bring a wonderful selection of American and European furniture and decorative arts to auction on 29 October 2007. Previews will open in San Francisco on October 26th in the auctioneer’s salesroom and gallery.

Vice President and Furniture Department Director Jeffrey Smith commented that from American folk art to the Italian Renaissance, the fall offering would be “one of the more fascinating sales, comprising not only fine antiques, but also unusual furniture and decorative arts from America and Continental Europe.”

American folk art devotees are expected to appreciate a monumental and elaborately carved walnut centerpiece stand produced for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. This table, expected to bring $40,000 to $60,000, is extraordinary for its high quality craftsmanship and seamless interplay of American and Italian artistry. The piece is complete with four adjustable mirrors and is intricately carved with figures holding flags of America and Italy.

Other American furniture highlights include a set of late 19th century seating furniture removed from the Menlo Park residence of the 1800’s mining multimillionaire James Flood. As well, a rare and beautiful mahogany Chippendale block front chest on chest, possibly attributed to American cabinetmaker Benjamin Frothingham, is expected to sell for as much as $35,000. A fine selection of Federal and classical sideboards will also be offered.

American decorative arts include a pair of oil paintings from the School of Gilbert Stuart — depicting a lady and a gentleman — once inventoried and sold by noted antique dealer Israel Sack. The pair is expected to reach bids of $5,000 to $8000. A 1785 portrait miniature on ivory by celebrated painter James Peale is also of interest, as is a signed and ebonized mahogany tall case clock by James Watson, Philadelphia, circa 1820. This clock is quite exceptional and bears its original paper label.

Folk art collectors will find a selection of American weathervanes from the 19th century on offer including a zinc cow weathervane estimated at $7,000 to $9,000. Bidders are expected to express interest in two Gold-Rush era canes. A true find, these canes are gold-topped with inlays of natural gold in quartz. Each is engraved with names of San Francisco “royalty” – the example bearing the name Gump is attributed to the department store mogul and valued at $10,000 to $15,000.

The auction previews are being coordinated with the San Francisco antiques show calendar and will include a four-day preview and exhibition of the lots to be sold to the highest bidders, such as rare pieces from Continental Europe. A particular highlight is a pair of painted panels from a ducal hunting lodge or palazzina di caccia in Turin, Italy around 1722. Illustrating Chinoiserie motifs, popular in 17th and 18th century Europe, these screens illustrate the story of an empress leading a hunting expedition through the Chinese countryside (est. $50/80,000). Italian Renaissance artistry is also highlighted with two prized Florentine angel torchieres, as well as a Venetian walnut commode from the 16th century. Beauvais-style French as well as Flemish tapestries will also be featured as a testament to fine European craftsmanship of the 17th and early 18th centuries.

Ceramic highlights include a 19th century service porcelain plate from the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky — modestly valued at $3,000 to $5,000. This plate was crafted and fired to perfection by the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersberg and dates to the reign of Czar Alexander II. Several Chinese porcelain pieces will also be offered in the October sale, most notable is a porcelain oval terrine with French gilt bronze mounts. This piece is considered quite collectable and expected to bring $6,000 to $8000.

Ornate stone fountains will make grand statements in the Garden Statuary section of the sale. These beautiful outdoor ornaments will share the stage with classical marble figures featuring humanistic depictions, floral sprays, the “King of Beasts” and other flora and fauna crafted of marble and stone, enabling buyers an opportunity to transform any garden or terrace space.

The previews open in San Francisco October 26, 2007 from 10am-5pm, continuing daily until sale day on the 29th. The illustrated catalog will be online at in the weeks preceding the previews. In 2006, more than 700-lots of fine European and American furniture, decorative arts and silver were sold to bidders attending the auction and those bidding by telephone from locations across the US, Europe and Latin America. A near record price was achieved for a fine 19th century suite of Louis XVI style giltwood and Beauvais tapestry upholstered seat furniture which brought $166,750. Last year’s American Silver section included a circa 1790 silver soup ladle marked Revere — expected to serve up bids of $18,000 to $20,000, it ultimately sold for $38,838.