Mark and Marjorie Allen were well-known antiques dealers based in New Hampshire whose collecting tastes encompassed early American, English and Continental furniture and decorative arts, many acquired on their buying trips to Europe.
Marjorie died in 2014 and Mark in January this year and more than 600 lots from their estate were offered by Pook & Pook (26% buyer’s premium) of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, on June 30 and July 1, virtually all of which found a buyer.
Early Delft, both English and Continental, and metalwares were particular focuses for the Allens and this sale was rich in both categories. Bidders were enthusiastic and, aided by what seemed to be realistic estimates, some of these ended up among the highest-priced lots in the auction.
Delftwares included some of the most sought-after categories, such as large chargers decorated with royal portraits or Adam and Eve and pieces decorated in the style known as Bleu Persan.
A number of tile panels decorated with cats, dogs and birds also appeared, as well as numerous groups of individual tiles and more standard pieces such as plates and boxes. Some were catalogued as English, some Dutch and some simply as Delft (styles and decoration can overlap).
English and Continental Delftwares have long been very popular with US buyers and although there has been a market correction since the height of popularity for these ceramics around the turn of the last century, the most collectable categories still have a following – as prices for some of the chargers offered here demonstrated.
Candlesticks proliferated among the brassware with over 50 lots on offer, some dating back to the 17th century. There were also other examples of early metalwares such as brass and iron food choppers and other utensils and tobacco dishes.
The sale was led by two American pieces, each of which realised $18,000 (£15,000) apiece.
One was a 3ft 4¾in (1.03m) wide walnut slope-fronted four drawer desk attributed to the workshop of Thomas White of Perquimans County, North Carolina, c.1760. The other was a massive 15ft (4.57m) high zinc and cast iron garden fountain made by JW Fiske and Company, c.1875, and decorated with figures of putti plus shells and masks and topped by a draped female holding a ewer and a goblet.
£1 = $1.20