Metal and Enamel Works A Highlight of Summer Auction at Treadway
by Kate Nixon
While rare works from Tiffany Studios and Gustav Stickley continue to sell for tens of thousands, smaller hand-hammered metalworks from the Boston and Massachusetts area were in the auction spotlight during a decorative arts auction this past June, resulting in a bidding war.
Works originating from the Robin Greenwald collection sold for thousands – or in some cases tens of thousands – in June’s Decorative Arts Auction hosted by Cincinnati’s Treadway Gallery. The auction held this past June featured both American and European Arts and Crafts objects notably classic Arts and Crafts enamelwork and hand-hammered copper. While ceramic works from Rookwood, Pewabic, Teco, Marblehead, Hampshire, Grueby, Van Briggle, Newcomb and Tiffany Studios were offered, the enamel work caught the eye of several bidders – and caught the eye of the gallery’s owner, Don Treadway.
Lot #30 in Treadway’s Decorative Arts Auction: a hand-hammered copper and enamel box made by Boston silversmith Gertrude Twichell sold for a realized price of $21,250, blazing past the high estimate of $500. Images courtesy of Treadwaygallery.com
“I’m particularly fond of the enamels from a private collection in Cleveland,” says Treadway. “The Arts and Crafts objects are quite nice at many levels.” Most of the notable copper and enamel pieces in question were made in Massachusetts, in Jamaica Plain and the Boston area. One notable copper and enameled box, made by Boston silversmith Gertrude Twichell in very good original condition, sold for an amazing price of $21,250 – with a high estimate of only $500. The small box with an intricately decorated enameled lid featuring three swirling fish in a blue background and according to liveauctioneers.com, over 30 bids came in for the small fish box just from the online bidders alone.
Another copper and enamel box additionally from the Robin Greenwald collection labelled “Peacocks box,” showing two blue and green peacocks with excellent original patina, sold for $5,938 – another realized price, blazing past the high estimate of $700. This box was not the only of its kind; another copper and enameled box featuring a peacock in all its original patina glory attributed to Frank J. Marshall also sold well past the high estimate of $700 into the thousands.
Two works that also sold well during the June 14th auction was the rare sterling silver, enamel and pearl necklace from the Rokesley shop and a hand-hammered copper charger attributed to John Pearson. The necklace, a lovely piece in excellent original condition, bore impressed marks with a 9.25” drop with lovely blue enameled flowers and a pearl center – and sold for $8.125 past the high estimate of $700. The hand-hammered copper charger, originating from England, had a beautiful flower design and was kept in excellent original condition, selling for $7,500.
Lastly, a Gustav Stickley screen made of oak and linen – the original linen was kept in very good condition as the original finish and embroidery were also in good condition – out of Syracuse sold for a realized price of $13,000, past the high estimate of $7,000. Attracting several bids online, over the phone, and absentee bids, the rare screen was one of the few examples to pass the five-figure mark. According to liveauctioneers.com, the screen was one of five to sell in the tens of thousands price.
Remarking on the status of online auctions in current times, Treadway notes that the positive aspects of the shutdown order include fielding questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and attention from internet, absentee and phone bids from around the world. “Good material with reasonable estimates and reserves are attracting plenty of bidders,” says Treadway. “Nothing quite shatters boredom like a good auction and the possibility of acquiring something nice.”
Treadway Gallery is currently searching for and picking up consignments for its upcoming Art and Design auction. If interested in selling, please visit the Treadway Gallery website at www.treadwaygallery.com.