Press Release – Americana & International Auction at Pook & Pook, April 21st & 22nd, 2022
By: Cynthia Beech Lawrence
The Americana & International sale on April 21st and 22nd at Pook & Pook will feature the estates of three noted collectors, together with a variety of antique furniture, pottery, folk art, jewelry, and firearms.
Peter Tillou, of Litchfield, Connecticut, was an internationally known art and antiques dealer, scholar, and authority in a wide range of fields. Descriptions of Peter invariably included words such as “Renaissance man” and “polymath.” The true element of genius in his collecting was that, learned as he was, he operated based “purely on personal judgments about the visual merits of each work standing alone,” (Paul Rovetti, Nineteenth-Century Folk Painting: Our Spirited National Heritage, 1973) and, with an eye for the importance and relevance of each item, was able to uncover masterpieces that have been recognized over time. He responded to the rare individualist, and to pure beauty. It is an experience to view the Tillou items that will be offered at Pook & Pook. There is a breathtaking carving of a spread-winged eagle, caught exactly at the moment of maximum torque as it alights on a rocky crag, another ruffled eagle clutching a copy of The Declaration of Independence, and a portrait of a defiant patriot. A well-fed coterie of thoughtful sewer tile spaniels beseech silently with their eyes. Fat olive green fish swim along the walls on their carved plaques and signs, hanging alongside beautiful old flintlock rifles and fowlers. One of Tillou’s favorite items is a large carving of a mild-mannered pig, who looks out the door of his comfortable house as if in greeting. Folk art still life paintings, in pastels on paper, oil on velvet, and watercolor, tempt with heaped fruits, with one small strawberry watercolor theorem so delicate it appears to be painted with the essence of the fruit itself. A magnificent white cat smiles sheepishly from the velvet of a classical Recamier; and an 18th century groom proudly shows off his lordship’s white Arabian stallion. In an early 19th century ink and watercolor fraktur family record, guardian angels watch over John and Catherine Gilmore and their fourteen children. (The fraktur artist has optimistically left room at the bottom for one more). A long-lost portrait by Charles Peale Polk is the result of a successful application of Tillou’s collecting philosophy. Many of Tillou’s other passions are represented by a collection of early German stoneware, pearlware coffee pots and pitchers, Toby jugs, and Dave McGary western bronzes from his former home in Sun Valley, Idaho. In furniture, a Berks County, Pennsylvania painted dower chest blooms with its original panels of potted tulips, watched over by tall case clocks from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Elegant Chippendale slab tables from New York and Philadelphia mingle with other equally fine Chippendale: a Philadelphia dressing table, a Pennsylvania secretary, and, from Connecticut, a cherry oxbow and tiger maple serpentine chests of drawers.
Christopher Rebollo was a highly respected antique dealer who began his career with Philip H. Bradley Antiques in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. His estate collection of 19th century portraits includes four lively children, caught both scissoring each other’s hair and avoiding being scissored. Attributed to Thomas Sully, a portrait of Mary Anne Heide Morris (1803-1865), inscribed TS 1830 verso, is possibly the 1839 portrait Sully recorded painting of the same sitter. Amongst the collection of fine Chinese export porcelain are the provenanced Breck family bowl and pair of covered vegetable dishes, early 19th c., both monogrammed SJB. Samuel (1771-1862) and Jean Breck were prominent in early Pennsylvania history. Breck served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the State Senate in the early 19th century. Fine furniture includes a Pennsylvania Queen Anne walnut armchair, ca. 1760, and walnut semi tall chest, ca. 1755, with raised panel sides. Federal period furniture includes a set of eight Philadelphia Federal mahogany dining chairs, each with a scrollwork back, carved urn and rosettes, over-upholstered balloon seats, and elegant turned and fluted legs; a Baltimore mahogany desk and bookcase attributed to John Needles; and, a Federal mahogany sewing stand, ca. 1810, with an astragal top and brass animal paw casters.
The Estate of Pete Lengel, of Robesonia, Pennsylvania features a large collection of Pennsylvania Shenfelder stoneware with cobalt floral decoration, Hattie Brunner landscapes, a Joseph Lehn painted wooden saffron cup, and a colorful collection of glass to include Stiegel cobalt glass table wares, Pittsburgh cobalt glass, and English glass.
Several highlights in the folk art category are: a Jacob Maentel (American 1763-1863) large watercolor double portrait of Elizabeth and Philip Wolfersberger of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, standing in front of their farm, Elizabeth holding a book and Philip his hat, provenance from the Halpert collection; a fine Johann Adam Eyer (Bucks County, Pennsylvania, active 1755-1837) ink and watercolor fraktur for Maria Magdalena Walterin (Walters), dated 1787, with text encompassed by a heart, with repeated miniature portraits, winged angels, and various birds and tulips; a rare Lancaster, Pennsylvania painted poplar Weber slide lid box, mid 19th c., the front with a large house flanked by trees, the sides and lid with colorful flowers, all on a blue/green ground, an impressive example of this rare form by the artist and remaining in a wonderful state of preservation; and, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania painted poplar Compass Artist dome lid box, early 19th c., retaining its original vibrant pinwheel flower decoration on a blue ground, provenance from the Pook & Pook Machmer collection, 2008.
An early and important Broderie perse quilt, dated 1814, probably Philadelphia or New Jersey, is a highlight. It features a central square with seventeen stars over a spread winged American eagle that clutches a banner inscribed E Pluribus Unum, over the inscribed quatrain Strong in thy strength we bend no knee, To Monarcks or to Tyranny, But borne upon thine ample opinion, We ride to freedom and dominion, 1814.
A provenanced collection of highly desirable redware features Pennsylvania loaf dishes from the early and mid-19th c., New Jersey and Norwalk, Connecticut loaf dishes, with the Connecticut example inscribed Lafayette in yellow slip, which may have been made to celebrate Lafayette’s 1824-1825 return visit to America. A highlight of the collection is a 19th c. Pennsylvania redware toy stove with pots and kettles fitted into a removable stovetop, listed in Pennsylvania Folk Art, from the Allentown Art Museum exhibit in 1974. A sgraffito decorated Pennsylvania redware inkstand incised Jonas Haring 1853 is another featured item. Also not to miss are some rare modeled redware figures, including a Pennsylvania redware parrot from the pottery of John Bell, Waynesboro Pennsylvania, published in Ramsay’s American Potters and Pottery; a rare figure of a seated man holding a turkey in a loaf dish, illustrated in David Schorsch’s The Pearson Collection; a rare large Pennsylvania redware cat with a finely modeled face and perky ears; and, a rare Pennsylvania or Virginia figure of a rearing cat protecting its kitten, the same figure pictured in The All American Catalog of the Museum of American Folk Art.
One furniture highlight is a late 18th c. painted hard pine tavern table, probably Southern, retaining an old gray over green surface, with provenance from the Collection of Linda and Dennis Moyer at Pook & Pook. Also offered is a Massachusetts Chippendale mahogany block front chest of drawers, ca. 1770; a Chippendale walnut tea table, ca. 1779, Pennsylvania or Southern, with a dish top resting on birdcage support with baluster standard supported by shell carved cabriole legs terminating in ball and claw feet makes a graceful statement; a fine Philadelphia combback Windsor armchair, ca. 1775, with an arched crest rail and carved ears retaining a historic black painted surface with gilded highlights over the original green; and, a stained gumwood Dutch cupboard, ca. 1800. Another highlight is a fine provenanced Pennsylvania painted poplar blanket chest, 19th c., attributed to Joe Palmer, Sideling Hill, Fulton County, the front panel with vibrant flowers in vases below the initials AW, Amos Jacob Wink, on a red ground.
Six tall case clocks featured are from the Estate of Charles West Wilson of Red Lion, Pennsylvania, including three mid 18th c. Philadelphia Queen Anne clocks from makers Peter Stretch, John Wood, and Jos Wills, along with three late 18th c. Philadelphia Chippendale examples by makers William Huston, Solomon Parke, and Benjamin Rittenhouse. Other clocks throughout the sale include a Pennsylvania Chippendale walnut tall case clock, ca. 1780, signed Josh. Ellicott Buckingham No. 24 and an Elizabethtown, New Jersey Queen Anne tall case clock, mid 18th c., signed Aaron Miller. The highlight is a rare American bracket clock, ca. 1810, with a fully engraved silvered dial inscribed Richard Miller, a member of the Miller clock making family of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, before he set up shop in Duck Creek, Delaware.
Firearms include a wide selection for the collector: a fine Scottish engraved Charles Playfair ramshead flintlock belt dress pistol, stamped C. Playfair and Aberdeen; a New York Style engraved Remington model 1871 rolling block pistol with scroll engraving and period ivory grips; and, cased back action percussion dueling pistols, inscribed Richardson on the scroll engraved lock and London on the flat barrel. Other pairs of pistols include a pair of flintlock officer’s pistols inscribed Gauvain Gendre de and Cramon Bordeaux, with silver furniture bearing the touch of silversmith J. Petit; a fine cased pair of Irish engraved Edward Dodson percussion pistols; two cased Moore’s Patent no.1 Deringer pistols; a cased pair of engraved Belgian percussion pistols; a pair of French flintlock nickel plated pistols inscribed Faure a Valence; and, a scarce pair of William and John Rigby Irish three barrel percussion muff pistols inscribed Dublin on the right side and Wm & Jn Rigby on the left. The first of two highlights is a fine cased pair of silver mounted W. Greener flintlock pistols inscribed W. Greener New Castle. Another highlight is a deluxe factory engraved political Moore’s no.1 Deringer, with spread winged eagle and American shield, a scarce example made to be given as a gift to U.S. Congressmen and Senators who sat on military committees in hopes of landing a military contract. It is estimated that only twenty-five were produced.
An important piece of history, a Confederate States Civil War Native American Indian bronze medal, dated 22 February 1862, inscribed verso The Congress of the C.S.A. to Stand Waite, Chief of the Cherokee, recalls an eventful time in America’s past. Stand Waite was a Cherokee politician who served as the second principal chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1862 to 1866, and was the only Native American general officer of the war, and the last Confederate States Army general to surrender.
Another important historical item is a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, printed by Johan Gutenberg and Johann Fust, 1455. The leaf originates from an incomplete Bible, the Mannheim copy, sold at Sotheby’s November 9, 1920, to Joseph Sabin, and contains parts of the 2nd Book of Esdras, chapters 14 and 15. Its portfolio contains a four page introduction by A. Edward Newton. Provenance: The Estate of John Donnelly.
Fine art includes two oil on canvas works by Antonio Jacobsen (American 1850-1921), one ship portrait of the American tug Argus, 1886, and another portrait of a sloop racing off Sandy Hook, 1879, with a light ship and other sloops in the background. Both are signed, dated, and come from a Philadelphia estate. Another maritime painting is a Richard Loud (American b.1942) oil on canvas yacht race, titled Shadow Leads Nimbus c. 1876. An Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (American 1819-1905) oil on canvas titled Our Little Pets, will prove popular. A marvelous example of British sporting art, an oil on canvas steeplechase in the manner of John Ferneley (1782-1860) shows a three riders taking a fence, identified as Mr. Ben on Dux, Mr. Lowther on Blatchington, and Mr. H. Preston on Clarissa. An oil by Walter Stuempfig, Tribute to Eakins, has exhibition labels verso for Wadsworth Atheneum and The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, amongst others. A Franz Hans Johnston (Canada 1888-1949) oil on Masonite The Beckoning of Spring, promises fair weather ahead.
Other collections include thirty lots of Historical blue Staffordshire, Staffordshire Whieldon type tortoiseshell glaze punch pot, teapot, coffee pot, and mugs; a Staffordshire cauliflower five-piece tea and coffee service; spatter ware to include a blue spatter beehive teapot; a collection of finely decorated English enamel boxes; and, Chinese export.
Silver will include an English tureen and cover, 1806-1807, bearing the touch WB, probably William Bennett, the base and cover with engraved coat of arms; and, an S. Kirk & Son Baltimore sterling six-piece tea service. A partial French flatware service by Henin & Vivier comes with most pieces in their original fitted cases. A few fine items from the Estate of John Donnelly include a pair of New York sterling shell form bowls, ca. 1909; a Boston five-piece coin silver tea and coffee service, ca. 1850, bearing the touch of Samuel T. Crosby; and, a New York coin silver tureen, ca. 1830, bearing the touch of Geredus Boyce, with knight’s helmet finial.
A beautiful Serapi carpet, ca. 1900, also from the John Donnelly Estate, is one of a number of rugs. Also on offer is a collection of 19th c. hooked rugs.
A very special collection of jewelry, just in, will offer gold and gemstones, works of art to wear.
The most romantic Americana items in the sale might be two automobiles. A candy red 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air with a big block V8 engine, four speed manual transmission, and a 5-digit odometer registering 25,330 will attract a lot of attention. Its muscular companion is a Hemi Orange 1972 Dodge Challenger, with a 340 four barrel motor, three speed automatic transmission, and all the power you could ever want or need. For these special cars, many may find the opportunity to avail themselves of the collecting philosophy of Peter Tillou. If one of these automobiles increases your heart rate and makes your hair stand on end, conjures visions of the open road, classic diners, and a sunset over the mountains, bid.