Folk art, samplers and early Americana shine at June 26 Virginia auction

MOUNT CRAWFORD, Va. — On Saturday, June 26, 2010, Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates conducted its semiannual cataloged auction of Americana, Fine Antiques & Decorative Arts. The 567-lot auction began at 9:30 a.m. ET and concluded in just under five hours.

The auction included material formerly in the collection of Dr. E. R. Eller (Curator, Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, Pa., from 1949-1969), deaccessioned material from a Virginia institution, fresh offerings from the Hilda Fried estate of New York City, numerous Shenandoah Valley estates and several private Virginia collections.

The sale’s champion lot was a two-piece Pennsylvania paint-decorated poplar Dutch Cupboard from the Eller collection that retained its original two-tone grain painted surface. In excellent condition with no replacements or major repairs, the cupboard sold to a telephone bidder for $17,250 (lot 339). All prices quoted here include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates is one of the few auction houses that offer an in-house packing and shipping service, carefully preparing all but excessively large objects for transport across the country and around the world, but the packing crew undoubtedly heaved a collective sigh of relief when a floor bidder won lot 409, a pair of French palace urns marked for manufacturer Samson Porcelain Works. Each Chinese-style covered urn, with extensive chinoiserie polychrome decoration and gilt highlights, measured 19 inches in diameter and 30 inches high. Despite a rim chip and light hairline to one urn, this monumental pair achieved an astounding $13,800.

Wasting no time in climbing to $10,925 was a circa 1825, signed “Jacob Eby/Manheim” Pennsylvania mahogany and cherry tall-case clock that stood 102 inches high and retained its original weights, pendulum and winding key (lot 335); an American sailing ship graced the clock’s moon phase dial. The Eby clock received a lot of pre-auction interest and by the time it crossed the auction block, multiple absentee and telephone bidders were all vying for the win. An 89-inch tall Shenandoah Valley of Virginia Federal inlaid cherry tall-case clock, which was in “very good as-found condition,” brought $7,475 (lot 338) and a 91-inch Pennsylvania Queen Anne walnut tall-case clock sans weights and in unknown working order, realized $5,750 (lot 334).

Two Maryland pieces each achieved $6,900 – an oil on canvas portrait painting (lot 208) and a cast-iron stove plate (lot 229). In its original frame and measuring 49 1/2 inches by 54 inches overall, the colorful circa 1840 painting was attributed to John Beale Bordley II who beautifully captured the innocence of four Burroughs children and a family kitten. According to the provenance note, the portrait had been purchased from a descendant of the Burroughs family of Croom, Md. (Prince George’s County). The extremely rare Rock Forge Furnace (Washington County, Md.) stove plate decorated with columned arches, tulips, stars and hearts, was inscribed “D : S Hughes,” “Fornace,” and “1771.” Recently discovered in Charlottesville, Va., the stove plate was in outstanding condition.

Four folk art watercolors on paper from the Eller consignment resulted in impressive prices. All were colorful, primitive-style depictions of rural life by Hattie Klapp Brunner (1889-1982), an artist commonly referred to as “The Pennsylvania Grandma Moses.” A winter scene featured a covered bridge in snow (lot 225, $1,265) while the other three were richly hued autumn views with subjects that included a train traveling through a small town (lot 224, $1,725), a red covered bridge (lot 223, $2,875) and a quaint country auction (lot 222, $3,220). Other notable artwork included a 16 1/2-inch by 22 1/2-inch (sight) oil on canvas titled “Herder with Sheep” by William J. Hyett (Pittsburgh, Pa., 1876-1952) that was signed by the artist and dated 1910 (lot 205, $2,415), and a 9-inch by 5 3/4-inch unframed oil on board painting titled “Valley Falls, Alleghany Co., VA” on verso and signed “G. Emmolt / 1877” (lot 201, $1,955).

Two 19th century silk on linen needlework samplers were excellent buys at $2,070 – one wrought by Mary W. Moon of Albemarle County, Va. (lot 246) and the other by Annie E. Giles who was possibly from Maryland (lot 247). With her careful stitches in subtle colors of green, blue, white and olive, thirteen year-old Mary Moon tells us that she was born “the 23day of April 1824” and that she worked her sampler in 1837; an undulating double-vine border surrounds her statements, which are positioned below eight rows of ABCs and numerals. Age unknown, Annie Giles was confident enough in her sewing abilities to incorporate multiple motifs into her sampler. At the center, below the alphabet and within a floral vine border, she embroidered a four-line poem and “Annie E. Giles 1851,” further embellishing the sides with butterflies, flowers and blue and white baskets. An entwined floral vine bordered the top and sides, and the sampler was grounded by a red two-story house with four chimneys and end wings, flanked by a weeping willow and another tree.

A tiny, 3-inch by 2 1/4-inch brightly colored Pennsylvania watercolor and ink on paper fraktur drawing of a bird perched on a tulip realized $1,380; a tall price for a piece that was about the size of a credit card (lot 226). While examining the bible of Henry Erb (1808-1885) of Manheim, Pa., that had been consigned for the auction by Erb family descendants, Jeff Evans discovered the circa 1830 unframed watercolor tucked away within the pages; the period pencil inscription on the back explains that it had been received as a 19th birthday gift. Only slightly larger were a pair of Virginia-attributed watercolor and pencil on paper profile portraits from the late 18th or early 19th century. These diminutive portraits of a lady and gentleman, which measured just 3 1/4 inches by 2 3/4 inches each, were mounted on paper and framed, and although the pair suffered from some losses and a small crease and stain, this lot also brought $1,380 (lot 207).

Other items of note included an 8 1/2-inch by 6 3/4-inch Italian micro-mosaic Grand Tour plaque from the Fried estate (lot 323, $1,725), a “Merrick’s Six Cord” oak revolving spool cabinet, patented July 20, 1897 (lot 130, $1,610), a Swiss Vacheron & Constantin 18 karat gold case pocket watch in excellent running condition (lot 495, $1,495), and an 8-gallon stamped “W. H. Lehew & Co. / Strasburg, VA” two-handled stoneware jar with brushed cobalt decoration; the largest Lehew jar recorded to date (lot 1, $3,335).

The entire auction catalog was presented online at the firm’s website where online absentee bidding (powered by Auction Flex) was available up until two hours before sale time. Those who wish to bid in real-time without physically attending the sale have the option of “live” Internet bidding (provided by LiveAuctioneers) or telephone bidding. Details about the various bidding methods, buyer’s premium, auction terms, etc., can be found at under the “Buying” web page.

Cataloged auctions are normally conducted once a month, on a Saturday, at the Mt. Crawford, Va., auction gallery, which is approximately 15 minutes south of Harrisonburg. Each sale is usually preceded by a Wednesday through Friday public preview, held between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Auction and/or preview days may vary from the standard schedule; contact the auction house or check the firm’s website for dates/times.

Upcoming 2010 sales at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates include Antique Sewing (Aug. 28 and Dec. 4), Early American Pattern Glass (Sept. 25-26) and Early American Glass and Lighting (Oct. 23). Catalogs are posted online approximately two weeks prior to the auction. A buyer’s premium applies to each auction lot won and certain terms and conditions apply.

Visit to purchase past auction catalogs and hard-to-find antiques reference books, sign up for e-mail notification, check auction schedules, and view past auction results.

Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates is always seeking quality, fresh consignments and can accept single items as well as entire collections; a pick up service is available. Call 540-434-3939 for additional information or email


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