Purchase Story

MacKay and Field Collection

Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Photos courtesy Northeast Auctions

Connecticut dealers Susan MacKay and Peter Field began collecting at an early age. They set up as MacKay and Field Antiques in 1986 when their own collections were bursting. They began with flea markets and soon were exhibiting at indoor shows, all the while refining their own collection of Pilgrim-century antiques.

Luigi Lucioni, Pillars of Vermont, this 20" x 31¼" oil on canvas view of Shelburne Farms, Lake Champlain, and the Adirondack Mountains, is signed and dated 1937. Bidding on the picture opened at $37,500 and ended when it sold for $96,000 (est. $20,000/25,000) to the same phone bidder who bought Lucioni’s The Birches and Manchester Village, Vermont. Electra Havemeyer Webb, founder of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, commissioned Lucioni in 1930 to paint a Vermont landscape as a wedding present for her daughter. He stayed at the family home, forming his lifelong custom of spending summers in Vermont, first at Shelburne and later in Manchester, and winters in New York City.

A group of Vermont paintings by Luigi Lucioni (1900-1988) set the phone bank hopping. The Birches, this 22" x 36" oil on canvas view through a stand of birch trees at the Ekwanok Country Club in Manchester, Vermont, where the artist spent many summers, opened at $20,000 and sold for $76,800 (est. $25,000/30,000). The 1940 painting went from Kraushaar Galleries in New York City to Mr. and Mrs. Peter Frelinghuysen and descended to the consignor. It went to a buyer on the phone who also bought Lucioni’s Manchester Village, Vermont (not shown), a 5¾" x 8¾" view from the Ekwanok Country Club, for $3840 (est. $2400/3200). Northeast Auctions photo.

Montague Dawson (1890-1973), Dawn Suspect: The Revenue Clipper “Kite” Chasing a Smuggler Lugger, 24¼" x 36¼", oil on canvas, $66,000 (est. $35,000/50,000).

In the foreword of the catalog for the August 18 Northeast Auctions sale, Sue MacKay wrote that “the highlight of Peter’s summer was the arrival of the Northeast Auctions catalog.” Sadly, Peter died in 2010, and Sue has decided to move on. She called Ronald Bourgeault, who said on a walk-through of their historical Jonathan Ashley house in Chaplin, Connecticut, that he was reminded of Roger Bacon’s collection.

MacKay and Field acquired this 7⅜" high London delft blue-and-white claret bottle, dated 1662, at the 2010 sale of the collection of Thomas A. Gray at Brunk Auctions. At Northeast Auctions it sold for $6000 (est. $1200/1500). Not shown, a blue-and-white London delft sack wine bottle dated 1650 and inscribed “SACK / 1650” sold for $4800 (est. $1200/1500). MacKay and Field had bought it from the same Brunk Auctions sale. MacKay and Field. Northeast Auctions photo.

Several bidders pursued this primitive 7½" high American carved pine coffin doll in tablet form with linear carving and the figure of a young girl that was estimated at $400/600. Woodbury, Connecticut, dealer David Schorsch took it for $12,000. MacKay and Field. Northeast Auctions photo.

This early carved and painted tavern sign is dated 1777 and decorated with a painted tree and the promise of “Entertainment By E.N.” The sign brought $10,800 (est. $3000/5000). MacKay and Field. Northeast Auctions photo.

This Connecticut oak blanket chest with a hinged pine top and two drawers, possibly in the tradition of Peter Blin (c. 1640-1725) of the Wethersfield, Connecticut, area, is carved with tulips and a central sunflower stalk within ebonized split spindles, a style generally associated with the area. It was estimated at $5000/8000 and sold for $6300. MacKay and Field. Northeast Auctions photo.

Thus the MacKay and Field collections came to auction in two parts: the lifelong collection of Susan MacKay and Peter Field on August 18, followed by the shop inventory, sold on August 18 and 19, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, along with other consignments on the second day. In each case the objects were those that were in daily use. They were in fine condition, and bidders found much to admire.
At MacKay’s request, Northeast Auctions sent 100 catalogs to MacKay and Field clients, most of whom were unfamiliar with the auction process, but 98% of them bid and bought. All prices include the buyer’s premium.

Northeast Auctions will sell the collection of Michael and Elizabeth Dingman in Hampton, New Hampshire, on October 27 and 28. For more information, see (www.northeastauctions.com) or call (603) 433-8400.

This 18th-century New England child’s six-board blanket chest in red paint has a game of fox and geese on the top with 15 pegs carved as Revolutionary War soldiers and painted red and blue. The chest also has a deeply serpentine apron. It sold for $11,040 (est. $3000/5000). MacKay and Field. Northeast Auctions photo.

This miniature portrait in pen and ink with watercolor, 7" x 5½", of Henry C. Burdick (1831-1898) of Nantucket at seven months in April 1832 is inscribed on the back, “This painting is supposed to be the work of Sallie Gardner of Nantucket.” Burdick’s death notice is affixed to the back. He became a ship’s chandler on the island. He later relocating to Springfield, Massachusetts, where he died, but he is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery on Nantucket. The portrait, estimated at $1000/1500, brought $33,600 from a phone bidder.

This 18" high architectural carved pineapple, similar to an example from a house in Newburyport, Massachusetts, that adorns the dust jacket of Architectural Heritage of the Merrimack: Early Houses and Gardens by John M. Howell, sold for $22,800 (est. $800/1200).Northeast Auctions photo.

This circa 1795 pastel portrait, 21½" x 17¾", of a baby girl wearing a blue skirt and holding a basket of flowers sold for $12,000 (est. $700/1000). The sitter was identified as Susan Alden (1793-1878) of Randolph, Massachusetts, daughter of Ebenezer Alden and Sarah Bass Alden. Northeast Auctions photo.

This Newport Chippendale mahogany dressing glass is attributed to the Goddard-Townsend school, based on chalk letters on the backboards of the three drawers. A dressing glass was described in an account for a “Dressing Glass Frame and Stand” by T. Goddard (1750-1790) and sold in 1787 to Newport merchant, financier, and ship owner Christopher Champlin of Newport. Estimated at $5000/10,000, it sold for $15,600.

Two albums containing a collection of 72 cartes de visite of African American abolitionists brought $48,000 (est. $5000/8000). One album, inscribed “Mrs. Harriet Hayden / From her friend / Robert Morris / June 8, 1863,” contains images of sitters mostly from Massachusetts. The second is inscribed “Mrs. Harriet Hayden / Presented by / T.Y. Birmingham, M.D.” and contains images of sitters from various parts of the country. Harriet Bell Hayden (1813-1893) and her husband, Lewis Hayden, escaped slavery in Kentucky and settled in Boston, where they ran a boarding house on Beacon Hill that was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. Their friend Robert Morris (1823-1882) was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and was one of the first African American lawyers in the country. The lot went to the same buyer who bought the Revolutionary War documents. Northeast Auctions photo.

This Hadley chest with two drawers and three recessed panels carved with tulips, leaves, and hearts, circa 1716, was made for Rhoda Belding, whose initials are carved in the center panel. It is one of several examples made for relatives in the Belding and Belton families, and it sold for $49,200 (est. $30,000/40,000). The chest descended from Rhoda Belding to collector Charles Nicoll Talbot (1802-1874) and remained in his family until it was consigned to Christie’s in 2004, when MacKay and Field acquired it.

This Boston Queen Anne mahogany blockfront dressing table sold for $18,000 (est. $10,000/20,000).

Originally published in the November 2018 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2018 Maine Antique Digest

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