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MARLBOROUGH, MA – A lifetime Americana collection featuring significant works of handcrafted furniture and art will be hosted by Skinner Auctioneers on Friday, November 19.

The sale consists of the extraordinary Beacon Hill Collection of John and Marilyn Keane, devoted collectors of early American craftsmanship and committed philanthropists well-known to the Boston arts community. 

Eminent benefactors of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where the American Wing’s Newport Furniture Gallery was named in their honor, the Keane’s collection is evidence of an innate understanding of early American decorative arts, as well as the work’s historical impact in relation to the young nation’s burgeoning identity and status.

Important pair of classical rosewood, gilt-gesso, and vert antique brass-inlaid card tables, Charles-Honore Lannuier, c. 1815. Each with a shaped hinged top with concave corners, the edges with brass inlaid stars, diamonds, and anthemions and ebonized molding above conformingly shaped friezes centering ormolu mounts depicting nymphs playing panpipes, on a carved gilt-gesso and vert antique caryatid winged female figure with braided hair and a star-banded waist continuing to a scrolled foliate support. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000.

Important pair of classical rosewood, gilt-gesso, and vert antique brass-inlaid card tables, Charles-Honore Lannuier, c. 1815. Each with a shaped hinged top with concave corners, ormolu mounts depicting nymphs playing panpipes and winged female figures with braided hair and star-banded waists. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000.

The Beacon Hill Collection includes 101 lots of significant works of handcrafted furniture from the colonial period and decorative movements directly following American independence. Exemplary of the collection are a pair of classical card tables attributed to the shop of Charles-Honoré Lannuier, the renowned New York cabinetmaker whose decorative style epitomized the American Empire period. The card tables are estimated at $100,000-$150,000. Lannuier’s furniture, which is featured in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the White House, speaks to the profound aesthetic and political influence of Neoclassicism on the early American spirit. The tables feature a rosewood veneer, brass star-inlaid edges, carved and gilt caryatid supports, and dolphin feet. 

Other highlights include two important pieces of Eastern Massachusetts blockfront furniture: A Boston chest of drawers carved in small and elegant proportion, with finely sculpted claw-and-ball feet, estimated at $50,000-$75,000, and an impressive secretary bookcase with a history in the family home of Congressman Hezekiah Bradley Smith, estimated at $75,000-$100,000.

Important Chippendale carved mahogany marble-top slab table, with carving attributed to Nicholas Bernard and Martin Jugiez, Philadelphia, c. 1765. The top with serpentine front edge and serpentine corners above a conformingly shaped skirt with applied carved gadrooning below, joining four punchwork-decorated and acanthus-carved cabriole legs with carved returns continuing to claw-and-ball feet. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000.

Important Chippendale carved mahogany marble-top slab table, with carving attributed to Nicholas Bernard and Martin Jugiez, Philadelphia, c. 1765. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000.

Several notable works from the sale highlight the rich contributions to colonial American furniture by renowned Philadelphia and Rhode Island cabinetmakers, the former of which includes a carved pair of dining chairs, estimated at $15,000-$25,000, an easy chair, and a rare marble slab table, estimated at $100,000-$150,000. The slab table, crafted circa 1760, with carving attributed to renowned Philadelphia carvers Nicholas Bernard and Martin Jugiez, features a boldly carved gadrooned skirt, carved knees, claw-and-ball feet, and has an impressive multicolor original marble top.

An upholstered open armchair from Rhode Island, estimated at $50,000-$100,000, is exemplary of the generous proportions and lavish design distinctive to that region in the late 1760s. The chair is distinguished by its shaped and carved arms with boldly scrolling handholds, and shell- and bellflower-carved cabriole legs ending in claw-and-ball feet.

Chippendale carved mahogany open armchair, probably Providence, Rhode Island, c. 1765. The serpentine crest above an over-upholstered back and seat, with molded and shaped arms ending in scrolled handholds on shaped supports, the seat frame joining frontal cabriole legs with shell and bellflower-carved knees and claw-and-ball feet. Estimate: $50,000-$100,000.

Chippendale carved mahogany open armchair, probably Providence, Rhode Island, c. 1765. Estimate: $50,000-$100,000.

Characteristic of the high standards of the Keane collection are China Trade paintings of rare and exceptional quality, including two remarkable portraits. An outstanding example of a Hong merchant is attributed to Spoilum, the Chinese artist often recognized as the earliest oil painter of the newly accessible Canton region. A historical scene depicting the reception of an Imperial Army, similarly attributed to Spoilum or a follower, was a relevant work discussed in Carl Crossman’s indispensable art historical guide, The Decorative Arts of the China Trade.

Portrait of a Hong Merchant, attributed to Spoilum (Chinese, active 1785-1810), unsigned. oil on canvas, 23-1/2" x 18", in a beaded giltwood frame. Estimate: $50,000-$75,000.

Portrait of a Hong Merchant, attributed to Spoilum (Chinese, active 1785-1810), unsigned. oil on canvas, 23-1/2" x 18", in a beaded giltwood frame. Estimate: $50,000-$75,000.

The collection also includes fine examples of port views of the Hongs at Canton and the Hong Kong waterfront, as well as more uncommon depictions of the Bund at Shanghai and Singapore from the Roads.

The auction starts at 10 a.m. Eastern. For more information and to see more lots, visit Skinner.

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