Session II of the Richard Wright Collection will take place on October 24th starting at 11 a.m. in the Skinner gallery in Boston, featuring Tiffany Lamps, Martin Brothers Pottery, and Art Nouveau Furniture. Richard Wright, a prominent and colorful appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, had a discerning eye for furniture and decorative arts. The collection to be auctioned is representative of his ability to unearth the rare, the unique and the unusual. Among the offerings are Tiffany lamps, Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts furniture and decorations, Art Deco porcelain and bronze figures, Aesthetic Movement articles, as well as important Martin Brothers and Doulton pottery.
According to Stuart Whitehurst, Director of the Wright Collection at Skinner and sale auctioneer, "This collection tells a very personal story about who Richard Wright was and what kinds of things inspired him. It clearly shows an individual collector's eye at work. Each piece acquired by Richard was one step in a near lifelong journey of seeking out the fine, the fantastic, the fun, and the funky -- the culmination of that journey is this amazing collection. "
The highlight of the auction is featured on the auction catalog's cover: a Tiffany Studios leaded glass and bronze "Elaborate Peony" lamp shade and base, c. 1910 (lot 307, est. $300/500,000). This particular pattern rarely surfaces at auction.
Also featured on the catalog's cover is a star of the Art Deco bronzes, a large figure by Bruno Zach titled The Riding Crop (lot 85, est. $12/15,000.) This figure of an alluring, semi-clad woman holding a riding crop is a force to be reckoned with; at 33 ½ inches high, she represents the largest casting of this model that Zach produced.
Other important offerings include two large and whimsical Martin Brothers glazed stoneware "Wally-Bird" tobacco jars and covers (lot 151 and 152, est. $12/18,000 each). Twenty-four other lots by the eccentric and brilliantly talented brothers Martin are featured in the collection. Wright's passion for late 19th/early 20th century British pottery is further displayed in over forty marquee lots of Doulton Lambeth pottery presided over by a near-life-sized salt-glaze stoneware figure of a contemplative monkey by George Tinworth (lot 185, est. $3/5,000). Works by the Barlow sisters and other famous Doulton decorators enchant the eye with their skillful decoration of animals. Lot 517 is a pair of Doulton Lambeth blue and brown salt glaze mantel vases depicting frolicking cotton-tail rabbits (est. $1,2/1,800), lot 39 is a Doulton Lambeth Faience hanging charger by Linnie Watt depicting a scene of winsome children gathering wildflowers (est. $2/3,000).
Another stunning piece is a Louis-Ernest Barrias' silver and ivory mounted figure of an allegorical maiden, Mysterious and veiled 'Nature' uncovering herself before science (lot 356, est. $7/9,000). Made by the Susse Freres Foundry, circa 1893-1908, the work features a parcel-gilt silver body with carved ivory face, torso, and hands, and mounted with silver and lapis lazuli accents. A similar example is in the collection of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Other decorative arts of note that illustrate Wright's keen and discerning eye include an Arts & Crafts enamel-mounted silver plate jewelry casket (lot 403, est. $3/5,000) by Ernestine Mills, an important figure in the British Arts & Crafts movement, and a fervent political activist and suffragette, and a large Russian bronze figure of a bear attributed to Nicolai Liberich (lot 736, est. $10/15,000).
Also, included in Wright's collection is a varied selection of fine art including a fabulous original Arthur Rackham watercolor of an illustration for John Milton's Comus (lot 546, est. $20/30,000) depicting nubile dancing water nymphs.
The fine furniture selection includes several signed examples by star designers of the Art Nouveau period including works by Serrurier-Bovy, Galle, and Majorelle. Works by these artists include a Gustave Serrurier-Bovy Art Nouveau padouk wood dining table with seven dining chairs (lot 282, est. $14/18,000); a Galle mother-of-pearl and fruitwood two-drawer side table (lot 306, est. $6/8,000); and a Majorelle Art Nouveau fruitwood marquetry-inlaid Walnut side table (lot 358, est. $2/3,000.)
"We've enjoyed handling this diverse and impressive collection," notes Whitehurst. "From the sublime to the smile-inducing, this sale is sure to offer something for everyone." Please join Skinner for a gallery walk discussing some of the many highlights of the sale on Friday, Oct 23rd, reception at 5:30 p.m. with a gallery walk at 6:00 p.m. RSVP to 617-350-5400.
Previews for the auction will be held on Thursday, Oct 22nd from 12 to 5 p.m., on Friday, Oct 23rd from 12 to 8 p.m., and on Saturday, Oct 24th from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Illustrated catalog #2481 is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 508-970-3240. It is also available at the gallery for $32. Prices realized will be available at www.skinnerinc.com during and after the sale. Skinner's site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, order catalogs, and bid live in real-time through Skinner-Live. To register for real-time bidding go to http://www.skinnerinc.com/buy-sell/skinner-live.php.