Prominent Mass. estates pack country Americana auction

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — On Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth, Mass., Willis Henry Auctions will hold an exceptional country Americana auction with estate collections of 18th and 19th century decorated redware, stoneware, folk art, and painted furniture gathered from New England, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Covered redware urn. Image courtesy Willis Henry Auctions.

Covered redware urn. Image courtesy Willis Henry Auctions.

The Earl and Evelyn Curry collection of New England redware features pieces drawn mainly from New Hampshire, Maine, Essex County, Mass. and South Eastern, Mass., primarily Bristol County. Many pieces were packed away in the 1970s and were never taken out of the box, still wrapped in the Boston Globe newspapers of March 1976 when found in his estate.

Another collection to be offered is the Affler estate, which primarily consists of original blue painted furniture from the 19th century. The Afflers were good friends of Mary Emmerling, who wrote one of the defining books on country furniture: “American Country Classics: The New American Country Look.” Mary influenced the Affler’s in their search for 18th and 19th century baskets, treenware, apothecary chests and cupboards, primitive portraits, samplers, quilts, and folk art. Most everything was found in the original painted finishes, and almost always in shades of blue.

Downsizing from a large colonial home in Norwell, Mass., the consignor collected nautical folk art with many paintings of ships and seascapes.

Ship captain's writing desk.

Ship captain’s writing desk.

One piece that stands out is a ship captain’s writing desk with the history of the Barque “Mary Ballard,” and written history of the ship’s captain B.T. Obear, who sailed in New England’s China Trade in the 1830s and ‘40s. It is brass bound, mahogany and rosewood with pockets for stationery and quill pens, and is estimated at $800-$1,200.

A colorful 19th century American Parcheesi game board from the Norwell collection will also be offered. Decorated with stars and diamonds, it has eight separate colors.

The John P. Richardson estate from Hingham, Mass., features many signed 19th century Hingham pieces of woodenware, shipwright tools, and other rare and unusual items from the Massachusetts South Shore, such as a miniature profile watercolor of George Washington, dated “1791”.

Scrimshawed whale teeth.

Scrimshawed whale teeth.

Whaling items such as harpoons, sailor’s knives, and pieces brought back by the whalers such as a very early boomerang, and an Indonesian bow with poison-tipped arrows will be offered. An outstanding 19th century portrait of the whaling ship “Lancer” out of New Bedford, along with a large folio hand-colored print in fine condition “Sperm Whaling. No. 1 – The Chase” was consigned from a family formerly of Fairhaven, Mass., and now living in Florida. Another whaling item is a pair of scrimshawed teeth picturing a gentleman on horseback on one side, and a young woman on the other, consigned from Arizona, (the family came from South Dartmouth, Massachusetts). The consignor’s great-great-grandfather was a ship captain, Capt. William T. Hawes (1819-1887), who sailed vessels all over the world.

Rare Windsor chair.

Rare Windsor chair.

Connecticut Windsor armchairs from the estate of one of the country’s foremost Shaker dealers, Ed Clerk, will go on the block.

A very rare low back, fan back in original red painted finish is a highlight; as well as two other painted Windsor chairs, and an outstanding grain painted candle box.

The previews for the live Willis Henry Auction will be Friday, Nov. 15, from 1-7 pm, and Saturday morning from 9:15-11:15 am, with the sale beginning at 11:30 am.

A full color catalog is available for $20, as well as the online catalog at

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