Portrait of Lady Elizabeth Mary, Countess of Belgrave by Sir Thomas Lawrence, estimate $30,000-50,000 at Cottone Auctions.

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Two portraits of Regency beauties by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) come for sale at Cottone Auctions in Geneso, New York on March 20. Both come by descent from the Buffalo industrialist Colonel Charles Clifton (1853-1928) who paid huge sums for them in the early 1920s.

Clifton was an important figure in the early years of the automotive industry, overseeing the evolution of a bicycle wheel manufacturer into the Pierce-Arrow Motor Company. A recipient of the legion d'honneur for his work with the Allied war relief in France, he served on the board of the Albright Knox Art Museum from 1914 until his death in 1928.

He collected English portraiture at that extraordinary moment in the first quarter of the 20th century when prices were at their peak. The 1818 portrait of Lady Elizabeth Mary, Countess of Belgrave, who later became Marchioness of Westminster, comes with full documentation including a copy of a 1923 receipt Fearon Galleries in New York. Then it had cost a mighty $20,000 (equivalent in purchasing power to around $400,000 today). Precisely 101 years later the picture comes for sale at Cottone with a guide of $30,000-50,000.

A second (unfinished) Lawrence oil depicts Lady Fitzwilliam, daughter of the Earl of Pembroke. This picture was part of the Bretby Heirlooms sale that was held for the 7th Earl and the Dowager Countess of Chesterfield by Christie's in London in June 1918. It was acquired by Clifton from Knoedler & Co, New York in 1923 at a cost of $9000. This time out, it is guided at $15,000-25,000.


Tiffany & Co. eight-well silver oyster plate, with Portuguese hallmarks, estimate $500-1000 at Market Auctions.

For centuries fresh or pickled oysters were a staple diet of the poor in London. However, by the Victorian period the once vast natural oyster beds were in decline, threatened by pollution and over-fishing, and the consumption of oysters became a luxury. As shellfish made its transition from cheap foodstuff to dinner party delicacy, the oyster plate came into being.

A good collection comes for sale at Market Auctions in Lake Worth, Florida, part of the March 6 sale titled Springtime in Palm Beach. In addition to classic 19th century examples in majolica glazes by Minton. George Jones, Copeland and Wedgwood are porcelain oyster plates by Union Porcelain Works, Haviland Limoges and Carl Tiesch.

Pictured here is an unusual sterling silver dish with wells for eight half shells that has 20th century Portuguese hallmarks and the retailers stamp for Tiffany. It is estimated at $500-1000.


Mid 18th century Chinese coromandel lacquer 10-panel screen, estimate $4000-6000 at Clarke Auction Gallery.

This mid 18th century Chinese coromandel lacquer 10-panel screen comes for sale at the March 10 estates auction at Clarke Auction Gallery in Larchmont, New York. It has a guide of $4000-6000 and a provenance that includes former ownership by Marmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness (1883-1940), the British shipping magnate and during his lifetime one of the richest men in the world.

The screen, decorated to one side with a continuous pavilion scene in red, green, brown, and gold and to the reverse with calligraphy and precious objects, was later sold by Mallett & Son in London in 1969, at Parke Bernet in New York in 1971 for $5500 and again in 1993 for just under $10,000. It comes for sale from a Greenwich, Connecticut estate.


River landscape by Louis Comfort Tiffany, estimate $6000-8000 at Willow Auction House.

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) is best known for his work as a glassmaker and jeweller catering to the Gilded Age elite, however he was also a formally trained artist of some merit. His oils and watercolours are of particular interest for their choice of subject matter.

In addition to typical Hudson River School style landscapes of upstate New York, Tiffany applied the lessons of French realism to paint scenes of industry along the Hudson River and the slums of New York City. His apparently tranquil scenes of Seabright, New Jersey also depict its mixed-race fishing community and the economic strife faced by African Americans who moved north after the Civil War.

This oil on canvas of houses in a river landscape is signed lower right and measures 10 x 12in (25 x 30cm). It has a guide of $6000-8000 at Willow Auction House in Lincoln Park, New Jersey on March 14.

Turner 01

Silver-plated nautilus cup designed by Franz von Stuck and produced by WMF, estimate $3000-5000 at Turner Auctions.

This nautilus cup was one of the first sculptural works created by German painter and sculptor Franz von Stuck (1863-1928). Related to a calendar illustration for the month of October published in the Fliegende Blatter in 1889, it is thought to pre-date the Glaspalast exhibition in Munich in 1892 when the artist displayed his more famous work Athlet.

Stuck himself owned a bronze version of the model, mounted with a real nautilus shell, that he occasionally used as a prop in his paintings. However, most surviving examples were made in electroplate by WMF (Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik).

This one comes for sale at Turner Auctions in San Francisco on March 9 with a guide of art of $3000-5000. It is part of a sale dedicated to the estate of Edward S Stephenson (1917-2011), a production designer for television who launched the leading prop house Hollywood Studio Gallery. The auction house sold his large holdings of Japanese woodblock prints in May 2023.