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Quinn & Farmer Gallery Catalog Sale

Walter C. Newman | April 20th, 2013


The high lot of the Quinn & Farmer sale was this massive (99" x 72" x 22") carved Renaissance Revival oak server. The three-section piece dates from the last half of the 19th century and exhibits extensive and elaborate carving. The lower cabinet has four doors enclosing storage shelves; the center section has open galleried shelves; and the top has an arched canopy supported by four columns with human forms shouldering fluted columns above. There are decorative carved panels and roundels throughout. A determined in-house bidder purchased the server for $7080 (est. $1000/3000).


George Wright (British, 1860-1942) is noted for his equestrian and sporting scenes. This untitled oil on canvas depicts one male and one female mounted rider with foxhounds. It is likely that this was a commissioned portrait of the horses and riders. The painting is signed “G. Wright.” The date is illegible. The canvas is labeled from the London art supply firm Winsor & Newton. The piece measures 9½" x 11½" sight size and sold to the phone for $4720 (est. $1000/3000).


Michael Lyne (British, 1912-1989) was a well-respected sporting artist who came to the U.S. after World War II. He secured commissions among horse and sporting enthusiasts from Virginia to Massachusetts. This oil on canvas, Orange County Virginia Looking toward the Blue Ridge Mountains, is signed but not dated. The piece measures 23½" x 35" sight size and sold to an Internet buyer for $4425 (est. $500/1000).

Quinn & Farmer Auctions, Charlottesville, Virginia

Photos courtesy Quinn & Farmer Auctions

The last page of the most recent Quinn & Farmer auction catalog lists the firm’s schedule for the remainder of the calendar year. The company is only six months old, but from the look of it, Paul Quinn and Ken Farmer have settled on a fast-paced auction schedule. Going forward, there are at least three sales every month, with the exception of December when only two have been scheduled so far. There are weekday evening sales that are called “Treasure Auctions,” and there is at least one monthly “Gallery Auction,” a catalog sale held on a Saturday.

If the April 20 gallery sale is an indication, Quinn & Farmer may have hit on a format that will be successful with patrons and consignors. For those who are potential buyers and who choose to attend the sale in person, it is not an entire day’s commitment. This sale consisted of 350 lots and lasted a bit less than four hours. For consignors, the idea that every month there are multiple opportunities to have their items sent to market will likely lessen the concern and anxiety of having to wait a protracted length of time before one’s consigned items are offered. In addition, dealers may find it comforting to know that if one sale is missed, there will be another one within a week or so.

This strategy will be successful so long as week in and week out the items that are offered are worthwhile. The April 20 sale offered a very good cross section of antiques marketplace categories. Groups of ceramics, furniture, Americana, jewelry, floor coverings, glass, silver, and artwork crossed the block in small enough numbers that the auction pace was steady. At the same time, the quality and diversity within the groups seemed to satisfy a wide range of buyers. No single category dominated.

The high lot of the sale came from a group of Renaissance Revival furniture. The monumental carved oak buffet featured a spectacular arched canopy-like top. It sold for $7080 (includes buyer’s premium), against an estimate of $1000/3000. Among the other Renaissance Revival pieces that sold were a huge, 99" x 95" x 27", elaborately carved walnut veneer armoire, $1180; a king-size bed with a double arch headboard, $2655; and a pair of marble-top nightstands, $885.

A dozen-lot collection of carriage clocks sold well. Most of the clocks were brass and sold in the $100/300 range. A sterling silver example, circa 1889, with a French movement and the marks of William Thomas Wright and Frederick Davis brought $561; and an unmarked French tortoiseshell style example with a porcelain dial brought $384.

The one category that seemed to set itself apart was fine art. There were no blockbuster items, but all forms in the category sold well. Sculpture, both bronze and marble, realized solid sales, as did paintings, etchings, and drawings. The high lots within the category were a marble bust of the god Bacchus that brought $5605; an icon painting of Saint Anthony the Great, $3540; and a serigraph by Pop Art icon Robert Indiana, $1770.

For additional information, contact Quinn & Farmer Auctions at (434) 293-2904 or visit the Web site (www.quinn farmer.com).

This sterling silver gravy boat displays the mark of Ball, Black & Co., a New York retailer of made-to-order and specialty silverware. The firm operated from 1852 to 1876. Its successor was the more familiar firm of Black, Starr and Frost. The gravy boat features a figural head handle, beaded rim and base decoration, and a band of Greek key decoration. The boat measures 6¼" in overall height and 8¾" in length. The piece sold to the Internet for $1180 (est. $300/500).

This icon painting depicts a Christian holy man standing in a barren landscape with Arabic calligraphy in the upper portion of the icon. The translation of the inscription reads “Righteous Saint Anthony Senior.” Known to history as Saint Anthony the Great (Egyptian, 251-356), he was a Coptic-speaking Christian and is often referred to as the “Father of All Monks,” as he is credited with originating monasticism in the Catholic church. The icon is painted on a three-board panel. The area of sky above the desert background is painted in a gold geometric tile pattern. There is an illegible signature and the date “1901” on the back of the frame. The image is in overall good condition with some losses where the panel boards are joined. The icon measures 32" x 22¾" sight size. It sold to an Internet buyer for $3540 (est. $500/900).

A matching pair of carved oak Renaissance Revival chairs or stools were the objects of a heated bidding duel between an Internet bidder and an individual on the sales floor. The chairs are X-form with carved lion’s heads on the posts and carved paw feet. The intersections of the structural elements display a figural face carving. The Internet bidder eventually won the chairs for $1416 (est. $200/300).

This simple oval-form white jade snuff bottle was attractive to several bidders. The piece has a classic tapering form with a flat base. The cap has a metal collar. The 2¾" x 1¾" bottle sparked active bidding and sold to an Internet buyer for $1770 (est. $100/300).

This Meissen figure depicts a woman dressed in 18th-century finery interacting with a child servant. The child is shown in blackamoor attire and appears to be attempting to relieve the lady of an apple she is holding behind her. The Meissen mark is from the period after 1934. The figure sold for $2655 (est. $100/300).


Originally published in the July 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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