Thursday, July 30, 2015

Top Picks: Skinners August Americana

This is my favorite month for antiques. Why you might ask? Because next week is Antiques Week in New Hampshire!!! That means not only will there be the fantabulous annual New Hampshire Antique Dealers Show, but also several of my favorite auction houses are having their big Americana sales.

Skinners August Americana auction takes place August 8th and 9th in Marlborough, Ma. Not local? That's ok- you can view the entire catalog online here, and then bid online on all the yummy beautiful stuff!! And I know sometimes the links don't work, so just go to if that's the case.

          I've spent the last two days pouring through the catalog, brimming with excitement and bubbling over with 'Oooos' and 'Ahhhhhs' at all the lovely lovely things they have up to offer this year.
           So first, here's my top picks for furniture (of course it's all painted!)- such pretty colors! such wonderful surfaces!! Want want want!
I'm starting with my favorite thing- this bold green early 19th century blanket chest. I love everything about it- the color, the turned wood knobs, and the brass escutcheons, all working in perfect harmony. The piece has nice verticality and the simple apron gives it a clean, unfussy look. 

Now, I have a very similar antique drop leaf table to this one, though it's in its original dark surface. I can say I've never seen one of this form with such a vibrant early paint surface, I suspect the paint is original to the piece, or done within about twenty five years of its construction. Very cool. 

Another fantastic early piece of painted furniture, This tall chest has an incredible faded blue that leans heavily towards bottle green, Federal bail brasses dress it up just a hair. 

And how about this adorable decoratively painted corner cupboard. You rarely see them up on turned feet. Its a rural and slightly later interpretation of the more sophisticated form, making it all the more endearing. 

  This lovely yellow cupboard is a fabulous example of how good early furniture is as much art as it is functional storage. This. is. beautiful. That canary yellow! The paneled door! The gentle wear patterns that run under there knob. Spectacular, and would be as perfect in a modern New York loft as a country home in Vermont. 

When I worked at Liverant Antiques we had a glazed top cupboard very similar to this one in the shop. I admired it endlessly. The incised corners and dentil molding across the top are flashy, and I just love the red wash against the minty blue backboard.

And finally in the furniture category is this kicky little splayed leg stand in an old dry blue surface. It has a tremendous lean stance balanced perfectly by the large overhang of the top. It would be so so cute in a long hallway with a lamp on it. 

And my top pick of the smalls is this set of three early 20th century English graduated brass measures. I'm having a brass moment, or perhaps more of a metals moment, as I'm pining for copper as well. These, with their rosy glow, look like they might be bell metal (brass with a higher copper content). They're just so damn handsome. 

I really like this exuberant and exceptionally well executed theorem painting of flowers in a double handed basket. The deft workmanship is so fine that I suspect we could attribute this to a professional artist rather than a school girl learning the craft. 

Because I cannot resist this shade of green, I've picked these four painted band boxes. Sweet, and simple, but beautiful in their honest functionality. We should all be storing our jewelry and small knick knacks in such stunning containers.

Truth be told, what I know about redware couldn't fill a teaspoon but I've always admired it. Must be time to get a good book on the subject, and perhaps have a chat with the dashing Mr. Lew Scranton, the leading expert in the field. I just adore the emerald glow of this mottled glaze. It makes me happy just to look at it. 

And here's a nice little decoratively painted storage box in playful shades of white and smokey blue. The oval brass handle is nice, but the mismatched make-do latch is curious. On of these two is not original, I suspect. 

A very very very early over the door plaque. Wowsers. 

Now overmantels to begin with are rare. I've only seen three in person in my entire antiquing career. To find an overmantel with the mantel still intact?!? Ah-mazing. 

Just two sweetly painted toleware boxes. I have a nice little toleware box that I keep all my work receipts in throughout the year. The original owner scratched his name in the paint. 

The first part of the Skinners sale is all glassware, mostly from the Sandwich glassworks. I scrolled through all of it because I love glass even though I know nothing about it. This pair of deep green candlesticks caught my eye. 

A very nice watercolor on paper harbor scene from the mid 19th century. I especially like the two racing steamboats! 

This mid 19th century portrait of a pouty little girl is enchanting. My mom collects 19th century children's clothes andt she could assemble a nearly identical outfit in original pieces without the bat of an eye. 
A superb late 19th century painted sleigh. I really like these as I figure the guy that was painting these sleighs was also likely painting signs, carriages, and furniture all from the same shop. Just kind of doing a 19th century version of what I do now!

This hooked rug has the most amazing crashing wave subject matter. It feels incredibly modern considering it's over a hundred years old! Would be so pretty hung as art in a coastal home! 

And finally this little carpenter's box, a triumph of woodworking. This is the height of folk art. There was no need for this box to be anything but bottom, sides, lid and tray, but the owner was skilled, and took pride in his work. He took something humble and made it magnificent for no greater purpose than to create something beautiful. I love this. 


1 comment:

  1. Love love love!!! Sadly, we won't be attending this year :(