Antique Desire

Antique Desire

Auction Finds of the Week Returns: Thursday Morning at Stair 25 February 2021

by Kelly Keating on 02/23/21

Welcome back everyone!  I hope everyone is safe and well during the very difficult time of the pandemic.  Besides feeling I was existing in a Walking Dead narrative, I have been watching and participating in many wonderful webinars on all types of topics especially British and French ceramics and I have been perusing many auctions to learn and to be inspired by the objects I see during this crazy and difficult time.

Stair located in Hudson, New York is one of my most favorite auction houses continually offering intriguing and quality goods.  Their weekly estate auction entitled Thursday Morning at Stair is always filled with great stuff.   This week's auction is on 25 February 2021 starting at 11am.  You can bid through the Stair website or also on LiveAuctioneers.  Here are 5 lots which I found appealing and unusual, but not exorbitant in price/estimate.

The first find is Lot 12 a Victorian style ebonized and luggage color leather  tete-a-tete with a pre-sale estimate of $1000-1500.  This tete-a-tete can comfortably seat 3 people, so perhaps we should name a Trois Tetes.  Although lot 12 is not a period Victorian piece, it certainly plays the part.  The leather upholstery gives it a decidedly modern feel.  One could replace the leather upholstery with a tapestry fabric for example to get a whole different antique Victorian look.  I would love to see the Trois Tetes be the starting point in the design of an entire living room.  It would certainly be the showpiece of the space. 

Lot 3 a brass and marble drinks table by John Bonne with a pre-sale estimate of $200-400 was next on my list of discoveries.  Boone is a well-known and respected furniture designer in New York City.  The drinks table measures 21.75" x 12.25" in diameter.  It evokes the Chippendale aesthetic in the use of a tripod base ending in slipper feet and an abstracted version of a reeded column as the main support of the table.  This John Boone table is smart and elegant and could be placed anywhere needed in the living room.  (Note as of late 23 February the drinks table has already been bid up to an impressive $1400.)

The next discovery at Stair is Lot 40, an Art Deco style chrome table lamp with a pre-sale estimate of $200-300.  The table lamp measures 23" high x 6" in diameter.  It has the look of a skyscraper of several cylinders bound together and with the right shade, perhaps a black fabric drum shade, it could work well in a living room or bedroom.  Stylish and sleek.

Continuing with the Art Deco theme, Lot 65 is a period American Art Deco metal-mounted mahogany drinks cabinet with a pre-sale estimate of $300-500.  The rectangular bar compartment with 1 fitted glass shelf stands over 2 drawers featuring single metal drawer pulls with the whole raised on a footed plinth.  The drinks cabinet measures 32" x 26.25" x 17".  This cabinet is a great size for a small New York City apartment or put it unobtrusively a larger living room where it could stylishly perform its libation function without overtaking the whole room.  To me, this piece is simple and stylish and demonstrates quite well the Art Deco aesthetic.

Of course your new American Art Deco bar cabinet needs a suite of superb cocktail implements in glass and silver so that the inside of the cabinet sparkles.  Lot 318, a Danish A F Rasmussen .835 silver grade cocktail shaker after 1947 with a pre-sale estimate of $300-500 would perfectly complement our drinks cabinet with its geometric paneled construction reminiscent of the rectangular construction of the bar cabinet.  The cap of the cocktail shaker has a lovely decorative monogram of entwined L's like the mark one finds on 18th century Sevres porcelain.  Any of your guests I am sure would be delighted to be served a cocktail from this elegant shaker.

I hope you enjoyed this Auction Finds of the Week featuring items from Stair in Hudson, New York.  The sale begins at 11am on Thursday 25 February 2021 if any of these lots interest you.

Also, if you are in need of an appraisal (insurance, donation, estate) for fine silver or English ceramics please contact me.  You can visit my website for further information about how I work and my qualifications.

All the best to everyone and stay safe during this difficult and trying time of the pandemic.

Kelly T Keating
Accredited Appraiser in Silver
Appraisal Association of America
USPAP compliant until the Spring 2022

Auction Finds of the Week: Fantastic Objects at Doyle New York 11 June 2020

by Kelly Keating on 06/08/20

Welcome back to Auction Finds of the Week after a long hiatus.  This week I look at the quite lovely upcoming English & Continental Furniture, Silver & Decorative Arts sale at Doyle New York on 11 June 2020 starting at 10am.  My five discoveries this week include furniture, painting, porcelain and an antique textile.  If any of these items interest you and you would like assistance in bidding on them or any other object in the sale or have questions, contact me at [email protected] and consult my website.

This week's first find, Lot 1101, is a pair of English yellow-ground porcelain bough pots and covers dated to the first quarter of the 19th century.  The D-shaped form is decorated with a lovely hand painted basket of purple and lavender flowers in the center of the pot curve flanked by rectangular panels with gilt decoration. THe whole is raised on 4 bun feet.  Each measure 7.5" H x 9" W x 4.125" D and have a pre-sale estimate of $200-300.  The pots can be used to hold flowers or blossom branches and would be wonderful on a mantel with white or raspberry pink flowering branches perhaps in a raspberry room.  The contrast with the bright yellow ground of the bough pots would be quite striking.

The second find this week is an intriguing and archaic piece of dining room furniture, lot 1106, a George III mahogany cheese coaster circa 1800 with a pre-sale estimate of $400-600.  The cheese caster is a dished crescent form raised on 4 leather casters.  The coaster would hold a large and heavy wheel of cheese that could then be moved around the dining table with ease for guests to partake of the cheese.  What a wonderful and different centerpiece it would make for a dining room or kitchen table filled with fruit or flowers.  Thee cheese coaster measures 7"H x 17"W x 10"D.

Lot 1102 is a pair of Chinese Export reverse paintings on glass depicting figures in a lush landscape from the first half of the 19th century with a pre-sale estimate of $800-1200.  The pair nicely retain their original Chinese black lacquer and gilt frames.  This pictures would work well in a gallery wall design incorporating works of different mediums and different origins.  The paintings measure 11.75" x 17.25" sight and 14" x 19.25" framed.

The next selection from the Doyle auction is Lot 1247 an 18th century French Aubusson tapestry panel measuring a large 8 feet x 7 feet with a pre-sale estimate of $2000-3000.  The tapestry fragment features a pair of lovers seated in a wooded landscape accompanied by their faithful dog.  Cupid who is also present has dropped his bow and arrow and is tugging at the man's cloak as if to say, "This one is not for you!"  It would be fantastic to design a whole living room or dining room around this object making it the central focus and the starting point for colors etc.  Perhaps pair it with more modern furnishings to create a dynamic and vibrant look.

The last find of the week is a very sweet, but very sophisticated small mid-18th century Louis XV amaranth parquetry and ormolu mounted secretaire.  Lot 1186 has a pre-sale estimate of $4000-6000.  Amaranth is a purplish wood much favored by French cabinetmakers.  This secretaire is stamped MIGEON for its maker Pierre IV Migeon who became a Master of his craft by 1729.  The piece consists of a three quarter galleried rectangle top with two quartered veneered panels set above an undulating case fitted with a secretaire drawer opening to a hinged flap and a polished writing surface and drawers over a kneehole recess flanked by two short drawers.  The whole raised on cabriole legs ending in ormolu sabots.  The secretaire measures 33.5" H x 39" W x 16.25" D.  It's small but functional size would work in many spots in a living room or chic office.

Thank you for joining me for Auction Finds of the Week!  I hope you found an object you like or one that simply inspired you in the creating of your own decor for your own space.  If any of these items interest you or any other item in the Doyle sale on 11 June 2020 and you need assistance bidding etc, please contact me at [email protected] Also contact me if you need any type of appraisal of your decorative arts particularly silver and English ceramics.  I am a USPAP compliant appraiser accredited by the Appraiser's Association of America.  Check out my website for further details.  Happy Auctioning and stay well and safe during this difficult time of the pandemic.

All the best, Kelly T Keating
The Antique Flâneur

Auction Finds of the Week: Brass, Bronze, Pewter, Oak & Oil Paint

by Kelly Keating on 07/11/19

Happy Summer!  Auction Finds of the Week from The Antique Flâneur returns with brass, bronze, pewter, oak and oil paint from two upcoming auctions:  Auctions at Showplace in New York City on 14 July 2019 and Friday Afternoon at Stair in Hudson, New York on 19 July 2019.

Brass.  This week's first find is Lot 41 at Showplace a brass torchiere in the manner of Paavo Tynell with a pre-sale estimate of $600-800.  Paavo Tynell (1890-1973) was a Finnish designer who is best known for his lighting fixtures and lamps.  He designed the lighting for the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York and for the Parliament House and the Lasipalatsi building in Helsinki, Finland.  The torchiere stands 61 inches high x 7.5 inches wide and rests on a tripod base.  The brass shade is pierced with groupings of 3 holes.  Elegant and sleek, this floor lamp could work in a variety of settings from traditional to modern.

Bronze.  Next, another item from the Showplace auction, lot 79, a pair of bronze mid-century Sputnik lamps attributed to Arturo Pani with a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-2,000.  Arturo Pani born in 1915 was the younger brother of the prominent Mexican Modernist architect Mario Pani.  He graduated from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and returned to Mexico in 1935.  Pani was hired as the Senior Designer of the decorating company De La Pena, Lascurain y Compania designing furniture and interiors for salons and lobbies.  He soon earned the reputation as the designer to the elite of Mexico.  He created the "Acapulco Look" in the 1950's leading to international recognition.  The bronze Sputnik lamps standing 34 inches tall x 28 inches in diameter are both whimsical and sophisticated.  Imagine them on a sideboard or a modern console where they would be the dynamic focal point of the room.

Pewter.  At Stair Lot 72 is a group of pewter wares consisting of plates, candlesticks, tankards, casters and salts with a pre-sale estimate of $300-500.  Pewter has a warm and subdued matte finish unlike the hot shininess of silver.  These items would look great in a more traditional kitchen or kitchen-great room in a wooden or white cupboard.

Oak.  The previous group of pewter wares would look quite at home on Lot 177 at Stair a large Welsh oak traditional dresser measuring 85.75 inches high x 94.5 inches wide x 18 inches deep.  The dresser has a pre-sale estimate of $1,500-3,000.  This piece would make a great focal point for a kitchen or kitchen-great room.

One could also fill this oak dresser with English mochaware from the 18th and 19th centuries.  Mochaware with its geometric patterning and decoration has a decidedly modern look while still being a bonafide antique.  Here is an example of some mochaware showing its great variety:

Oak 2.0.  This week's next find is also made of oak and is being sold at Stair.  Lot 71 is an English Arts and Crafts oak settee with a pre-sale estimate of $600-800.  The settee measures 44 inches high x 36 inches wide x 21.5 inches wide and would certainly complement the Welsh oak dresser discussed above.  Both could be used in a large traditional kitchen or kitchen-great room.  The settee could be used as seating at a rustic table mixed perhaps with an odd grouping of chairs.  

Oil paint part 1.  At Showplace Lot 70 is an oil on canvas mid-century modern painting entitled "Birds" done in 1946 by William T Snaith with a pre-sale estimate of $400-600.  The painting evokes a 1940's-1950's decorative sentiment with the abstract depiction of eight birds on a heavily worked surface in blues, greens and reds.  Framed the work measures 21 inches H x 16.75 inches wide.  A good looking, affordable work for a mid-century inspired living room or dining room.

Oil paint part 2.  Also at Showplace, Lot 32 is a small oil on board painting entitled "Woodpeckers" done in 1998 by Hunt Slonem (b. 1951-) with a pre-sale estimate of $1,500-2,500.  The work is characterized by its abstract rendering of the two birds and areas of heavy impasto which creates a vibrant, dynamic and lush image.  The image measures 9.5 inches high x 7.5 inches wide and framed 14 inches high x 12 inches wide.

I hope you enjoyed this Auction Finds of the Week.  Attractive, stylish and functional furnishings can be found at many auction houses.  Auctions at Showplace in New York City and Stair in Hudson, New York are two great local houses that always have interesting and intriguing items for sale.

I am an accredited appraiser in silver with the Appraisers Association of America and USPAP compliant.  I can meet all your appraisal needs for market assessment, insurance, estate and donation appraisals.  Take a look at the Services page on my website to see how I perform appraisals and work with clients.

Until next time,
Kelly T Keating

My Interview with Antique Dealer Nate Ivey of Crescent City Connection Etsy Shop & Blog

by Kelly Keating on 01/04/19

I just had the pleasure of being interviewed by consummate antique dealer Nate Ivey of Crescent City Connection Etsy shoppe and Blog of the same name.  I discussed my history with antiques growing up on the hunt with my mom in New Jersey estate sales and how that early love of antiques has grown into my business The Antique Flâneur where I perform all types of appraisals, source antique and vintage items for interior designers and private clients and also assist clients in the selling of their antique objects.  You can read the interview here on the Crescent City Connection Blog.

Happy New Year & All the best for 2019!!!
Kelly T Keating
The Antique Flâneur

Is Silver Archaic and Obsolete?

by Kelly Keating on 03/21/17

Today silver is seen as an unnecessary or extraneous item that is not needed for one’s home and table.  Whether sterling or plate, no one wants to care for silver or polish it.  The belief is that silver care is difficult, arduous and time consuming.  And of course silver cannot go into the dishwasher or the microwave.  

Few modern brides register for a silver pattern for their wedding these days. Perhaps there are a few holdouts in the South.  A good stainless set is the way to go.  It can be used every day as well as for special occasions because no one uses special occasion china or flatware any longer.  Growing up, I always loved it when my mother was preparing for a birthday or holiday meal all my eager help of course. We used the good plate flatware from my grandmother and gently polished it.  Out came the good china from the vintage Louis XV style cupboards.  A linen cloth and complementing napkins were chosen. The quite tall pair of Reed & Barton plate candlesticks also from my grandmother were given a last minute shine to illuminate the table.  These fond memories from my childhood aren’t enacted much by the younger generations today, but I continue my mother's traditions in my own house.

I set a mean table even when I am just having a few people over for dessert and coffee. I select antique Rococo inspired or Neo-classically themed porcelain plates with a coordinating flatware whether in sterling or plate.  My guests always appreciate my efforts and there is always discussion or questions about a certain pattern or style.  I'm sure there are a few other silver holdouts like me out there in the world.  Here is my table recently set for a simple luncheon.  As my mother always says, "Give me a cheese sandwich, but on a pretty plate."

Mostly I suspect when people think of silver, they think it has to be a fussy, elaborate, overwrought, 19th century and Victorian.  But that is simply not true. Take a gander at the novelty Georg Jensen silver centerpiece designed by Verner Panton manifested as a crumpled piece of paper from 1989.  Superb and so unexpected and so casual. Imagine this piece on your simple and traditional dining table with some interesting, even 19th century candlesticks. The contrast would be dynamic.  The piece measures 4? x 22? x 18?, a perfect size for a centerpiece.

Silver can also have a sense of humor.  How about an Art Deco Napier Silver Penguin Cocktail Shaker circa 1936.  What could be more fun than penguins and cocktails?  And a frosty tub of ice in a 19th century Gorham sterling silver ice bucket!

Gorham produced some wonderfully sleek and modern design pieces.   In 1958, inspired by the launch of Sputnik and the Apollo moon mission, Donald Colflesh designed a tea and coffee service entitled Circa 70 for Gorham in Providence, RI.  This set from 1965 features a coffeepot, teapot, sugar, creamer and tray with a great futuristic look and a contrast between the ebony handles of the pots and the base of the tray and the sterling silver.


Colflesh also designed for Gorham a pair of Circa 70 3-light candelabra, 1960 (8.25? H x 9.25? W).  One can see the influence of the Space Program on these pieces as well particularly in the contrast between the sterling silver and the ebony finial and feet.  This candlestick pair looks like some kind of robotic rovers about to scurry across the lunar surface.  

Yet, do the Circa 70 sticks and tea and coffee set continue to evoke a modern feeling 57 years after their production?  Or does their evocation of the moon landing create a sense of nostalgia and loss for a space program that no longer has that ambition.  Not modern, but past.  For me, it oscillates between the two which makes these pieces of 1960?s silver even more dynamic and more modern to my eye in their fluctuation not their date of production and design or philosophical considerations.

Here are 2 more wonderful Colflesh designs from the Circa 70 series:

Colflesh Delta Bowl from the Circa 70 series for Gorham, 1960, sterling silver and ebony, 5" x 12"x 12"

Colflesh Contour Bowl from the Circa 70 series for Gorham, 1958, sterling silver, 7.5" x 7.75" x 6.5"

And one does not have to spend a great deal to achieve a modern silver look. Silver is available at all price points; it is just having a good eye and a degree of taste to find interesting pieces to impart the look you are trying to achieve.  And of course there is always silverplate which is often at a lower price point as well.

The silverplate designs of John Prip for Reed & Barton can be found especially at auction at reasonable prices.  Prip combined Danish design and harmony with the American desire for innovation.  This dynamic is demonstrated by his silverplate Dimension tea and coffee service with a tray with a black lacquer inset made for Reed & Barton.  The fluid, organic and bulbous nature of this set standing in contrast to the black lacquer ground of the tray is pleasing and modern at the same time. 

Prip continued this modern, organic dynamic in the following 2 pieces of holloware:  a circa 1950 7" tall sterling candlestick and a circa 1960 sterling and nickel 6" tall lidded box.  The candlestick stands on 4 legs that continue seamlessly into the shaft of the stick and resemble like the split ends of a branch.  The cover of the box is sprouting some out of this world sterling fronds.

Silver is not obsolete or archaic or useless.  It is about the pieces you find and how you put them together and use them in your particular setting.  And care for silver is not hard or frustrating; it just requires a little effort and forethought. So get out there and find some great silver whether you want a modern look like the designs of Prip and Colflesh or you are interested in Aesthetic silver or Neo-classical silver or Arts & Crafts silver or so on and so on…

Until next time.

Kelly T Keating

If you would like my help in finding a silver item or items for your home and table, please contact me at [email protected] and check out the Services page of my website to see how I work with clients.

If you have some silver and need an appraisal of your pieces for insurance, estate or donation etc, please contact me.

Strolling through the city, the country and cyberspace to find your antiques and collectibles