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Freeman's announces highlights from its sale of American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts sale
A set of four walnut examples each with a splat pierced with an inverted heart, circa 1770. Estimate: $5,000-$8,000.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freeman’s November 14 sale of American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts will bring to auction nearly 500 lots of fine furniture, decorative arts, textiles and historical paintings from the 18th to the 20th centuries.

An undoubted highlight of the sale is an important and rare Chippendale carved mahogany looking glass, with original phoenix cartouche, attributed to John Pollard (1740-1787) and Richard Butts (active 1768-1778), circa 1770 (Lot 104, estimate: $20,000-30,000). The craftsmen advertised their partnership in Philadelphia at the Sign of the Chinese Shield on Chestnut Street in 1773. Micro-analysis has determined the secondary woods of the glass to be white pine and Atlantic cedar.

This premier example of Philadelphia Chippendale furniture joins other formal and folk pieces from the region, namely, a number of Delaware Valley Chippendale side chairs from an early Pennsylvania collection. Highlights from this collection include a set of four walnut examples each with a splat pierced with an inverted heart, circa 1770 (Lot 105, estimate: $5,000-$8,000) and a fine pair of shell-carved walnut side chairs, circa 1765 (Lot 88, estimate: $8,000-12,000). Other significant seating featured in the auction includes a rare carved mahogany Campeche chair, Mexico, early 19th century, which retains its original embossed leather (Lot 22, estimate: $8,000-$12,000) and a set of eight stained and paint- decorated Gothic Revival armchairs, circa 1900, that were used in the studio of William R. Mercer, Jr. (1858-1939), Doylestown, PA (Lot 398, estimate $2,000-$4,000).

The sale also includes a number of Federal period furnishings led by a fine inlaid and carved mahogany tall case clock by Aaron Willard, Boston, MA, circa 1800 (Lot 151, estimate: $25,000-35,000), bearing its original paper label on waist door and previously deaccessioned from the Virginia Historical Society. A Federal figured and inlaid mahogany desk and bookcase, probably from Salem, MA, circa 1790 (Lot 174, estimate: $15,000-25,000); a Federal inlaid walnut spice/valuables box attributed to Charles C. Cameron or his circle, Potomac River Valley, VA, circa 1800; and a number of miniature Federal period furniture pieces are also worthy of note.

Painted and decorated chests of the Pennsylvania Germans of the 18th and 19th centuries have long been sought after by collectors, and the auction has two examples: a painted and decorated pine “Black Unicorn” blanket chest from Berks County, circa 1785 (Lot 48, estimate: $8,000-12,000), and a painted and decorated pine architectural blanket chest from Lancaster County, dated 1786 (Lot 50, estimate: $2,000-3,000). Other folk art in the auction includes ten extraordinary quilts from New England to the mid-Atlantic states; a Portrait of a Small Child with Cat and a Rose by Joseph Whiting Stock (1815-1855) (Lot 286, estimate 20,000-30,000); a whimsical carved and painted weathervane in the form of a whale (Lot 335, estimate: $3,000-5,000); a fine St. Julian sulky and driver copper weathervane, attributed to J.W. Fiske & Co., New York, circa 1880 (Lot 290, estimate: $15,000-25,000); and a painted and decorated patriotic octant case with octant (Lot 339, estimate: $3,000-5,000). The auction's cover lot is a highly unusual theorem depicting a landscape by Rezpah E. Eye, Portland, ME (Lot 199, estimate: $800-1,200).

The auction also includes needlework samplers, ten lots of framed fraktur—including hymns, birth records, and drawings—as well as fine silver and Chinese Export porcelain and a number of miniature portraits and historical paintings.

Concluding the auction are more than 60 portraits and marble busts from the Collection of the Philadelphia Bar Association, the oldest association of lawyers in the United States. A group of 71 lawyers met in 1802 and established the Law Library Company of the City of Philadelphia to share law books. Along with the purchase of legal books and manuscripts for the Law Library, portraits and sculptures were purchased and presented to honor and celebrate current and past figures of importance to the local and national legal community. The lawyers depicted in these portraits were often among Philadelphia’s most famous citizens: renowned orators, educators, community and legislative leaders, as well as highly successful litigators. Highlights from the Collection include a portrait of Horace Binney (1780-1875) by Thomas Sully (1783-1872) (Lot 419, estimate: $5,000-10,000); a portrait of Joseph Reed Ingersoll (1786-1868) also by Sully (Lot 421, estimate: $4,000-6,000); and a portrait of Edward Tilghman (1750-1815) by Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860), (Lot 412, estimate: $5,000-8,000). Other artists represented in the collection are Jacob Eichholtz, John Neagle, Samuel Bell Waugh, Daniel Huntington, Albert Rosenthal and Alice Stoddard Kent, among others.

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