On Friday, May 15th, Garth’s Auctioneers and Appraisers will host its spring Americana Auction featuring the 9th Annual Ohio Valley session highlighted by a collection of pottery from the late Jim Murphy (1941-2012). Richard “Jeff” Jeffers, Principal Auctioneer & CEO of Garth’s, noted, “It is our pleasure to handle the Ohio Pottery collection of the late Jim Murphy. His passion and knowledge of Ohio Valley material culture can be witnessed in his assemblage, including some rare and important examples. Buyers are demanding quality pieces of material culture from the Middle Ohio Valley region, and we are proud to continue to offer them in Garth’s Annual Ohio Valley session.”
Over 350 lots covering a range of early Americana furniture and decorative arts and 203 lots specific Ohio Valley material will be offered including fine Americana from the collection of Judith & James Miller, Alexandria, VA, a collection of Ohio sewertile from the collection of Jack and Susan Batdorff, plus select offerings from across the United States and The United Kingdom. A broad assortment of lots will cross the block including: stoneware, Vance & Avon art pottery, sewertile; East coast and Pennsylvania furniture, paintings, clocks, outsider art, Chinese export, lighting, silhouettes, tea caddies, Navajo rugs, a nice selection of coverlets and a large quantity of documents including a grouping relating to Elmer Ellsworth.
Garth’s is pleased to begin the sale with stoneware from Mr. Murphy’s collection. Mr. Murphy spent more than three decades researching Ohio pottery, often publishing his findings in short but highly important articles in various publications, including the Journal of the American Art Pottery Association, as well as several self-published pamphlets (some of which, along with his notes were posthumously published by his friends Jeff Carskadden and Richard Gartley as James L. Murphy's Checklist of 19th-Century Bluebird Potters and Potteries in Muskingum County, Ohio). His devotion to collecting was just as passionate, and Jim amassed an encyclopedic collection of Ohio pottery. Garth's has been honored to have offered small selections of Jim's collection over the past couple of years, but this offering represents the final installment and it includes some rare and important examples of Ohio pottery. Andrew Richmond, Vice President of Garth’s commented, “Jim Murphy was a stalwart researcher of Ohio pottery, from early stoneware to mid-20th century art pottery. We sold small parts of his collection in 2013 and 2014 in Ohio Valley auctions, but this huge collection of Ohio stoneware is the last of his stoneware. There never was, and likely never will be again, assembled such an encyclopedic collection of Ohio pottery assembled.”
Leading the offering, a Westhafer and Lambright stoneware jug from Tuscarawas County, Ohio. The ovoid just has a wide mouth, two strap handles, cobalt decoration and stands 18.5” high with a presale estimate of $300-600. An Avon Faience “Spring” jardinière on a pedestal by Frederick Hurten Rhead or William P. Jervis derives from Tiltonsville, Ohio and stands 40” high. The jardinière, ca. 1902, features an art nouveau squeeze-bag decoration with the inscription, “the Splendid raiment of the Spring Peeps Forth.” (Estimate: $2,500-5,000.) Also from Murphy’s collection, a Nathaniel Clark stoneware crock dated 1852 which has an estimate of $500-1,000 and a stoneware jar incised Summit County, Ohio, dated 1848. (Estimate: $400-800.)
Many pieces of fine art will be offered including a portrait of a mother and child attributed to Ohio, ca. 1845, with a presale estimate of $800-1,600. An oil on canvas of the Hudson River Valley is a wonderfully naive image of boats on the Hudson and a man with farm animals in the foreground. Signed and noted on the back “hudson river. Burying ground at Peekskill, NY and monument to John Paulding, Snh”. John Paulding was a revolutionary war hero, one of three who captured John Andre. (Estimate: $1,500-2,500.) Fruit and Flowers by Currier & Ives carries a presale estimate of $2,500-5,000, and an oil on wood panel still life, attributed to Severin R. Oesen (Pennsylvania, 1815-1872), is expected to bring $4,000-6,000. The Card Party by Clementine Hunter (Louisiana, 1886-1988), features three women having a card party, initialed on the right, it is expected to fetch $2,000-3,000. Two additional portraits are sure to garner attention; the first a portrait of a French officer (French School, late 18th-early 19th century) shows a striking young officer in uniform displaying a wound to his arm. (Estimate: $2,400-4,500.) The second portrait features a woman attributed to Charles Balthazar Saint Memin (France/New York, 1770-1852). The charcoal and pastel on pink paper includes a label identifying her as “Miss Mary Caldwell”, daughter of Samuel and Martha Rownd Caldwell, 1774-1851. (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500.) A mail coach by Charles Cooper Henderson (United Kingdom, 1803-1877) features a night scene of a four-horse coach and should bring $1,500-2,500.
Furniture is well represented by a mid 19th century Zoar, Ohio cupboard. The two-piece walnut and poplar cupboard was purchased, along with the cabin in which it stood (near the northwest corner of the garden), in the 1940’s by a Dr. Groh, and remained in his possession until the Plice family purchased the cabin and cupboard in the 1950’s. The Lacroix family purchased the cupboard in the 1970’s, and they then sold it to Jack and Pat Adamson in 1980, who sold it to a private collector in 1996. The cupboard was illustrated in Snyder and Goudy’s, Zoar Furniture and should bring $2,000-4,000. An Ohio Valley inlaid chest of drawers features vine inlay terminating in tulips and suggests an upper Ohio or western Pennsylvania origin. (Estimate: $1,500-3,000.) A Preble County, Ohio parquetry veneered stand has a presale estimate of $800-1,200. Similar stands of this type are known, and some have provenance to the Preble county area. Thomas Morgan of Eaton was the most prominent and prolific cabinetmaker in the county at the time, and is a possible candidate for the maker of this group of distinctive stands.
Two Banjo clocks will cross the block beginning with a Knowell Linnell, from St. Albans, Ohio. The clock is of typical form with scenic and foliate-decorated tablets and a gilt surface. Linnell was born in 1788 in Granville, Massachusetts and came west, settling near Granville, Ohio, establishing his clock factory in St. Albans Township around 1825. An old note inside indicates that the clock was in the possession of “Judge Reeves” of Lancaster and purchased at that house sale by Harold Cain of Newark, and then purchased at his estate sale in 1979. It is signed by Gus Heisey and has presale estimate of $4,000-8,000. A Benjamin Willard, (the youngest son and apprentice of Simon Willard) Boston banjo clock, ca. 1835, will also cross the block with the same estimate of $4,000-8,000.
Elmer Ellsworth (1837-1861) was an ambitious young man whose rise to prominence was cut short on May 24, 1861 when he became the first Union soldier killed in the Civil War. He grew up in Illinois and studied law in Chicago, where he also mustered the Cadet Attachment to the 60th Illinois Militia. A Springfield attorney named Abraham Lincoln hired young Ellsworth as a clerk in 1860, and Ellsworth followed Lincoln to Washington in 1861. Shortly thereafter, he moved to New York and raised the 11th New York Volunteers, modeling their training, and their uniforms, on the Algerian and French troops fighting in North Africa, called the Zouaves. Having recruited firemen for his unit, Ellsworth nicknamed them the Fire Zouaves. On May 24, 1861, Ellsworth and his Fire Zouaves began their occupation of Alexandria, Virginia. There they encountered a large Confederate flag hanging over the Marshall House Inn. In Ellsworth’s determined attempt to take down the flag, he was gunned down by innkeeper James Jackson, who was promptly killed by Zouave Corporal James Brownell. Ellsworth immediately became a martyr for the Union cause, inspiring songs and poetry, and a nation of patriotic souvenir-collectors began seeking out photographs and autographs of the fallen soldier.
Highlights from the collection include a Certificate of Organization and muster roll for the cadet attachment to the 60th Illinois militia, signed by Elmer Ellsworth and dated Chicago, April 29,1859. (Estimate: $1,500-3,000.) A document relating to the raising of a cadet attachment to the 60th Illinois militia regiment by Elmer Ellsworth should bring $800-1,200. The two sided document is signed twice by Ellsworth. One side is addressed to then Illinois Governor William H. Bissell that Ellsworth has helped organize the cadet attachment; the other is a bond for the use of necessary arms and equipment. Death relics and a gift letter, dated June 5, 1861, addressed to Ben Hopkins, Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts notes, “From Julius, addressed to “Bro Ben, enclosed is a piece of the carpet on which col Ellsworth fell when he was killed by Jackson in the Marshall house in Alexandria.” (Estimate: $800-1,200.)
Additional items include a William Fadens 1796 map of the United States which has a presale estimate of $1,500-3,000. Two half-plate Daguerreotype of US Representative Peter Wilson Strader and his family by James Presley Ball, Cincinnati, Ohio, ca. 1855, each brass mat with Ball’s stamp, and accompanied by 19th-century handwritten identifications. (Estimate: $2000-4,000.) Silhouettes of Lawrence Lewis and Elizabeth “Nelly” Parke Custis Lewis, Woodlawn Plantation, Fairfax County, Virginia, ca. 1805. The hollow-cut silhouettes feature George Washington’s nephew and step-granddaughter, with inked details to Nelly. The silhouettes are expected to sell for $1,500-$2,500. A Louis XIV signature, dated April 28, 1688, Versailles is matted and framed. (Estimate: $250-500.) For those buyers looking to add textiles to their collection, they will be pleased to see Washington Jacquard Coverlet woven by James Cunningham, (Estimate: $600-1,200), and a Maine sampler from Lewiston, Androscoggin County, 1830-1835, featuring two-story house is flanked by massive horses and tiered trees topped by birds. Large floral baskets, blue birds under the maker’s name “Louisiana D robbins / Lewiston Me.” (Estimate: $500-1,000.)
Garth's illustrated catalog is available for purchase by contacting Client Services at 740-362-4771 or view Garth’s catalogs online. Prices realized will be available online, both during and after the auction. Garth's main gallery is located at 2960 Stratford Road, Delaware, Ohio. Preview hours will be held May 8th and May 11th-15th or by appointment. Garth’s is accepting quality items for the 2015 auction year. For further information regarding how to sell at Garth’s or for a valuation of your item(s), please contact via email at email@example.com or call 740-362-4771.
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