Lockwood De Forest chairs quadruple estimate at Bonhams New York, find new home at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

25 Sep 2013, Fine American & European Furniture, Decorative Arts & Silver
Fine American & European Furniture, Decorative Arts & Silver

Lockwood De Forest chairs quadruple estimate at Bonhams New York, find new home at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

25 Sep 2013, Fine American & European Furniture, Decorative Arts & Silver

NEW YORK — A pair of chased brass overlaid teak side chairs designed by Lockwood de Forest realized $242,500 in Bonhams Fine American & European Furniture, Decorative Arts & Silver auction on September 25, more than four times their pre-auction estimate. Once situated in the hallway of de Forest's New York home, these chairs reflected his passion for the Indian Craft Tradition. The splendid chairs, which were later owned by William Randolph Hearst, are now headed to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, who prevailed in the fierce telephone bidding war with noted authority on late 19th century furniture, Margot Johnson.

"The consignors of these remarkable chairs are absolutely thrilled, and we are delighted that our cumulative team effort had such a successful result. It demonstrates yet again what the right combination of rarity of form and provenance can do," explained Madelia Hickman Ring, Bonhams American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts specialist. "These chairs are an important accession for the museum and now bridge their collections of American and Southeast Asian decorative arts."

Additional highlights from the Americana section include a rare late 17th century maple desk-on-frame of exceptional form that sold for $37,500 and an important sampler, worked by schoolmistress Mary Tidball in western Pennsylvania in 1834, that sold for $21,250. Its discovery sheds new light on the scholarship of western Pennsylvania needlework.

A Johnstone & Jeanes mahogany expanding dining table was the top lot in the English Furniture and Decorative Arts section, selling for $122,500. Called a "Jupe" table, this clever design accommodates different numbers of guests by simply rotating the table top. Sold subsequent to the "Jupe" table was a set of 12 William IV mahogany armchairs, also made by Johnstone & Jeanes circa 1840, that had survived in the family alongside the table and achieved $18,750.

The large and impressive silver section of the auction saw many outstanding results, including a pair of George IV sterling silver wine coolers by John Edward Terrey that fetched $74,500. Chinese Export silver performed well overall, partly due to increased interest from mainland Chinese clients. A pair of late 19th/early 20th century Chinese Export silver figural centerpieces by Wang Hing sold for more than eight times their pre-auction estimate, bringing $33,125.

According to Aileen Ward, Bonhams European Silver & Decorative Arts Specialist, "Unique pieces and a broad, interesting cross-section of varied international works brought out buyers from around the world."

European furniture and decorative arts highlights included a fine Louis XV carved fruitwood shaped panel from the mid-18th century that reached $50,000, more than eight times its pre-auction estimate because of its exquisite carving and excellent condition. A 20th century pair of Continental Neoclassical style gilt bronze reverse cut glass mirrors continued the trend for highly decorative furnishings, regardless of period, quadrupling their estimate to realize $33,750.

Bonhams next auction of Furniture and Decorative Arts will take place in January 2014, with a focus on Americana. For more information visit www.bonhams.com


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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