Spotlight On Roycrofters Furniture, Frank Lloyd Wright Chairs and More at Toomey & Co
by Kate Nixon
Hosting nearly 400 lots of prints, sculpture, furniture, lighting, metalwork, jewelry, and textiles, Toomey & Co’s Fine Art + Furniture & Decorative Arts auction brought the popularity of the Arts and Crafts style once again to Oak Park, Illinois and to online collectors.
The June 9th auction boasted a number of important art, furniture, metalwork, lighting, jewelry, and silver, while the number of quality of Roycrofters furniture was a major standout for a number of Arts & Crafts era collectors and a number of important works were offered like Frank Lloyd Wright designed chairs from Chicago’s The Unity Temple and a pair of Greene & Greene andirons designed for Pasadena’s Henry M. & Laurabelle A. Robinson House.
In a rarely-seen 32 lots of works shown from The Roycrofters in a single auction, the auction marks proof of the gravity and appeal of works from The Roycrofters as nearly all 32 works sold above their high estimates in an often popular flurry of online bidding. Director of the National Arts and Crafts Conference Bruce Johnson attributes the popularity of the style to a new and increasing population of collectors.
“The wide selection of quality Arts & Crafts furniture, in particular Roycroft furniture, was indicative that quality works still come out into the market out of older collections and are recognized for their rarity, quality, and design by a growing group of younger collectors,” says Johnson. “The sale demonstrated the strength of the Arts & Crafts market as we emerge from the pandemic.”
Left: American Beauty vase made by The Roycrofters for the Grove Park Inn sold for $5,850. Right: A Roycrofters dresser from the Roycroft Inn made of ash sold for $2,250.
There were a number of highlights in Thursday’s lively auction.
- Lot 486: A signed color woodcut by Frances Gearhart, In the Sun, sold for $10,000 – double the high estimate of $5,000.
- Lot 493: The early dresser and mirror from Gustav Stickley sold within the estimates of $10,000 – $20,000. The desk and mirror, both in “exceptional original condition” and marked with early box marks, sold for $15,000.
- Lot 500: A “Milkcan” lamp from Dirk Van Erp with Agatha van Erp stenciled mica sold for $14,300.
- Lot 515: A Tiffany Studios and Grueby Faience lamp sold for $25,000, about $5,000 more than the high estimate. The lamp featured mottled and slag glass in an “Jeweled Feather” design with a carved matte green glazed ceramic base with impressed mark and three paper labels.
- Lot 517: A rare corner cabinet from Gustav Stickley, marked with a red decal, sold for $36,250 within the lot’s estimate of $30,000 – $50,000.
Lot 536 & 537: Representatives from The Roycrofters, an oaken buffet and serving table and a separate sideboard both with the carved orb and cross sold for $17,500 and $10,000 respectively, the high estimates of the former being $5,000 and $7,000 for the latter.
- 584: In one of the higher selling items of the auction, the pair of andirons made by architect brothers Greene & Greene for the Henry M. & Laurabelle A. Robinson House sold for $37,500, just outside the high estimate of $30,000.
- 587-589: Chairs designed by Frank Lloyd Wright shared the spotlight of the auction as two chairs originating from the Unity Temple sell for $30,000 and $27,500, while a chair from the Frank L. Smith Bank brought in $11,700.
Here’s how our picks sold:
All images and descriptions courtesy of Toomey & Co Auctioneers. All listed sold prices are realized prices.
Lot 515: Tiffany Studios / Grueby Faience Company
table lamp: Jeweled Feather shade on base
New York, New York / Boston, Massachusetts
mottled and slag glass, bronze, carved matte green glazed ceramic
base with impressed mark and three paper labels, shade with applied tag, font with raised mark and number
shade: 16″dia; base: 10″dia x 8 3/4″h
Sold for: $25,000
Lot 517: Gustav Stickley (1858-1942)
rare corner cabinet, #972
Eastwood, New York, 1904
oak, glass, iron
marked with red decal
45 1/2″w x 25″d x 70″h
Sold for: $36,250
Lot 537: The Roycrofters / Roycroft
East Aurora, New York
carved orb and cross
66″w x 25″d x 48″h
Sold for: $10,000
To see the auction results of the entire catalog (realized prices), please visit toomeyco.com.