The best of the Victorian era offered at Fontaine’s April 4 auction

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R.J. Horner oak winged griffin partner's desk.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – An exceptional antique estate auction featuring some of the biggest names in period American furniture, vintage lighting and more will be sold Saturday, April 4, by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. The vast bulk of the auction will comprise the living estate of Dale Miller, a dedicated collector from Asheville, N.C. The sale will take place at Fontaine’s Gallery, located at 1485 West Housatonic St. in Pittsfield, Mass. Artfact.com will broadcast live streaming video of the sale, allowing viewers to bid online via the Internet.

bronze maiden statue“Over the past 40 years, Mr. Miller has acquired nothing but the best in period Victorian-era furniture, lighting and accessories,” said John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “He has made the decision to sell everything without reserve, to the highest bidder. Anyone acquainted with Dale knows he is a perfectionist and, as such most of his items are in excellent condition and ready for home use.”

19th-century bronze of a winged maiden on carved marble pedestal.

Bidders will be treated to dozens of furniture lots with noted names like John H.Belter, J.& J.W. Meeks, R.J. Horner, Alexander Roux, Allen Brothers, Karpen, John Jeliff, and others. Lamps include, but are not limited to, those by Tiffany, Handel, Pairpoint, Wilkinson, Chicago Mosaic, and Unique. The sale will also feature over 50 chandeliers, to include early gas, gas and electric, and electric, and vintage clocks, including 10 grandfather clocks.

The list goes on: numerous original paintings, some by noted, listed artists; Oriental rugs; music boxes; juke boxes; Nickelodeon; harps; spool and ribbon cabinets; and hundreds of related accessories.

John Henry Belter (1804-1863) was a German-born U.S. cabinetmaker and designer. He settled in New York City in 1833, where he operated a shop specializing in rosewood, walnut and mahogany furniture. He patented a way to process rosewood in layers to achieve thin panels for fine carving. His shop closed in 1867, just a few years after his death, but his creations are still highly sought after today.

Belter pieces to be sold April 4 include a rosewood marble-top table in the Rosalie pattern; and an eight-piece laminated rosewood parlor set in the Rosalie pattern, with grapes. Also to be offered will be a Thomas Brooks carved walnut marble-top table; a carved Black Forest bear hall tree; an Allen Brothers carved walnut triple-back sofa; and a pair of figural carved gnome pedestals, also made by a Black Forest wood carver.

Like Belter, Robert J. Horner was a 19th-century manufacturer of high-end furniture operating out of New York City. He used the best mahogany and quarter-sawn oak hardwood for his heavily carved creations, the patterns for which he drew on a wide variety of patterns and themes. R.J. Horner chairs, sofas, parlor sets, hall trees, benches, partner tables and dining sets are highly collectible today.

Horner pieces will be offered in abundance at the Fontaine’s sale. Examples include an oak winged griffin partner’s desk; a 10-foot carved oak grandfather clock; an oak winged griffin bonnet-top china cabinet; a monumental griffin carved oak curio sideboard; a four-griffin mahogany pedestal; a carved oak mirrored hall bench; two figural maiden carved oak double door china cabinets; four matching double-door bookcases with maidens and an elaborate mahogany partner’s desk with full standing griffins.

horner carved clockJohn and Joseph W. Meeks (sons of Joseph Meeks, who made furniture in New York City as far back as 1797) went into business in 1820, making cabinets and other furniture pieces for the middle class on up to the aristocracy in the Empire, Gothic and Rococo Revival styles. Earlier Meeks Rococo pieces were often mistakenly attributed to J.H. Belter. Like Belter, Meeks is highly prized today.

Two of the several J. & J.W. Meeks lots set to cross the block in April are a Hawkins laminated rosewood sofa and an eight-piece Stanton Hall parlor set. Other furniture pieces sure to pique the interest of the crowd include a Pottier & Stymus inlaid rosewood marble-top table; a four-piece carved rosewood marble-top bedroom set; a pair of Rococo gilt-carved curio cabinets; and other high-end examples.

Over 50 vintage clocks and other timepieces will chime on time for eager bidders. A few examples include an Ansonia antique standing clock; a 12-bird automaton with Jappy Freres timepiece; and a carved Black Forest two-weight cuckoo clock with a St. Bernard. Music boxes will include two Regina 12-disc coin-operated mahogany upright changers plus several other floor and table models.

R.J. Horner carved oak grandfather clock.

Rounding out the top lots: a Wilkinson 20-inch Water Lily leaded table lamp; a pair of monumental figural landing windows; a 19th-century bronze of a winged maiden on a carved marble pedestal; and a Powers Mfg. stenciled cameragraph movie projector.

Previews will be held on Friday, April 3, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Saturday, the day of sale, from 8-11 a.m. A free full-color catalog is available.

Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. For consignment information, you may call them directly, at 413-448-8922; or e-mail them info@fontaineauction.com.

To learn more about Fontaine’s Auction Gallery and its calendar of upcoming events, please log on to www.fontainesauction.net.

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John H. Belter rosewood marble-top table in the Rosalie pattern.
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Two monumental figural landing windows.
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Wilkinson 20-inch Water Lily leaded table lamp.

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