Bonhams First East Coast Auction of Fine American Furniture, Decorative Arts, Folk Art and Silver

Bonhams’ highly anticipated inaugural New York sale of American Furniture and Decorative Arts will be presented in January 2009. The more than 200 lots feature a full spectrum of 18th and 19th century furniture, folk art, silver and ceramics, and include collectibles from Phyfe to Herter Brothers.

american-furniture.jpgTaking place on January 22nd, the American Furniture and Decorative Arts sale is aptly timed to coincide with New York’s famed Winter Antiques Show. Considered the most prestigious antiques show in America, the annual event attracts the world’s top collectors to Manhattan –making this an ideal time to present the sale.

Devotees of early American furniture and decorative arts have much cause for excitement. An extraordinary School of Duncan Phyfe piece will be offered. Dating from the early 19th century, the Federal carved mahogany and caned settee features a carved cornucopia on the crest rail, very rare double lyre arm supports, and highly unusual hoof feet. Estimated at $80/120,000, this important example presents a great opportunity for collectors.

From the Inglis Family of Northern California comes a collection of more than 75-pieces of important furniture and decorative arts. Of particular interest to collectors is an outstanding Chippendale carved cherry tall case clock from the fourth quarter of the 18th century. Its dial is inscribed by its maker, reading ‘Squire Millerd, Warwick Rhode Island’. Fighting with the American militia during the Revolutionary War, Squire Millerd (1750-1820) was appointed Captain in the Providence Battalion in 1780 and Captain in the Second Warwick Company as of 1781.

Estimated at $30/50,000, the piece displays various subtle interpretations of the “Newport block and shell design” and features a convex shell carved with twelve outer lobes and eight inner petals.

A Pennsylvania walnut schrank with paneled doors and two drawers in the lower section is also expected to garner attention. Dating from the third quarter of the 18th century, the impressive piece is estimated at $30/40,000.

Also of interest amongst the Inglis Family Collection is a mid-18th century Boston Queen Anne maple and walnut wingchair (est. $20/30,000); a third Qtr 18th century Philadelphia Queen Anne walnut dressing table with trifid feet and unusual scrollwork carved aprons (est. $12/18,000); and a Philadelphia carved walnut flat top high chest of drawers (est. $18/25,000). Collectors of early Delft will also find many fine examples amidst this collection.

In addition, from a private Pennsylvania collection comes a rare painted dower chest from Berks County, PA, dated 1803, which carries an estimate of $50/70,000.

Rounding out the sale will be an important and comprehensive offering of American Renaissance and Aesthetic movement furniture, created by Herter Brothers, the premier cabinet-makers of the late 19th century. The collection includes exceptional tables, cabinets, folio stands and dressing mirrors – commissioned for Milton Slocum Latham (1827-1882), former Governor of California, and railroad magnet Mark Hopkins (1813-1878). The entire collection was purchased from Butterfield & Butterfield (now known as Bonhams & Butterfields) in 1942 for the Warner Bros. Studios Collection.

Word of the Studio’s collection became known to scholars in the 1980s and it is considered by many to contain some of the finest examples of late 19th century craftsmanship known. Perhaps the most coveted item in the collection is a highly important American Renaissance parcel-gilt, carved, inlaid and ebonized bedstead, circa 1872. Commissioned for Latham’s famed Thurlow Lodge in Menlo Park, CA, the massive bedstead bears all of the hallmarks of a classic Herter Brothers work. Estimated at $300/500,000, the piece represents a wonderful opportunity for collectors. Other pieces from this imposing suite include a large mirrored dresser, a cabinet, a shaving mirror on stand and two bedside stands.

Also of great interest are an exquisitely detailed American Aesthetic marquetry inlaid and ebonized slant-front desk (est. $40/60,000) as well as a carved and inlaid rosewood center table (est. $125/175,000) and sideboard (est. $150/250,000) commissioned in 1878 for the salon of the opulent Mark Hopkins residence in San Francisco’s Nob Hill.

Bonhams has been known for offering iconic Herter Brothers works at auction. Many of the pieces sold in Bonhams’ salesrooms were featured in the landmark exhibition “Herter Brothers: Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age” which was organized by Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

“We’re particularly pleased to offer such great examples in so many American collecting categories,” states Director of Bonhams New York Jon King. “This is certain to be an exceptional inaugural sale.”

The illustrated auction catalog will be online for review and purchase in the weeks preceding the sale at Previews open at Bonhams NY on January 17th – continuing daily until the auction. For more information about this specialty department please visit: