We have begun to prepare the descriptions of the wonderful estate of Sigourney Cheek of Nashville, Tennessee–exceptional silver, intriguing copper, gorgeous armorial English ceramics (Flight Barr and Barr, etc). But today I want to give you a preview of the unveiling of these items next Friday, the 13th, and also a taste of the extent to which we go to properly research, authenticate and guarantee every item we sell.
Sigourney was a fanatical collector of Staffordshire figures, ranging from the 18th century through the Victorian era. Of the Victorian pieces, most are dogs (and one terrific fox!), but the most wonderful pieces are the early works of John Walton, Enoch Wood, and Ralph Wood, Jr. as well as the many groups categorized by scholars over the years but not specifically attributed. This is a rarified area of expertise and happily over the years both Pat Halfpenny and Myrna Schkolne have become friends. Pat, long of Winterthur, is the author of ”English Earthenware Figures, 1740-1840″ and Myrna Schkolne, is the author of “People, Passions, Pastimes and Pleasures, Staffordshire Figures, 1810-1835″ as well as a massive four volume set to be published by Schiffer. Both of their books are readily available on all internet book sites and both are simply invaluable resources. Myrna’s blog is also a continual parade of fascinating information with lots of fakes revealed and auction house and ebay shenanigans exposed! Delicious fun. (Simply google Myrna Schkolne and sign in to her blog–you will be greatly rewarded!)
Most happily Myrna lives a bit over an hour away and she graciously took three hours last week to share her knowledge of each piece with Elizabeth and me. Here are a few photos of the three of us exploring the collection–the early pieces only. All have now been described and priced, the tags are being prepared and on April 13th they will be available for sale (with a few exceptions of pieces spoken for by FOS–friends of Sigourney).
A Dancing Bear/Performing Bear Examined
The Ring is Perfect!
Even the miniscule ring is intact and perfect on this Persuasion (a proposal of marriage).
Yes, we had some laughs!
For those of you who are blowing up or magnifying these photos, the four pieces not available are the little dog, Persuasion, Performing Bear and The Dandies.
Available items will include: a Pratt Autumn, The Scottsman, The Fawn, Baby in Cradle, John Walton signed Ewe and Lamb spill, The Hunter, The Gardner (additional provenance of Fred S. Johnston Collection, Kingston, NY, and Winterthur Board Member), The Tithe (Tythe) Pig of Enoch Wood, Boy With Bird’s Nest (additional provenance of Jonathan Horne) made and marked by Ralph Wood, Jr., a charming Ewe and Lamb, Bag Piper with Dog and Swan spill (a bit later at c. 1830), Jobson the Cobbler, also c. 1830, and many more. Come visit us on Friday the 13th!