ART MARKET / Up for Sale

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The Independent Culture
THE FURNITURE sales in New York next week offer glittering and expensive eccentricities such as Grandmother Frances's Japanned bookcase (left), made in England around 1765. It is studded with a profusion of verre eglomise panels - glass decorated on the back with etched and printed images of classical figures such as Hercules, Mercury and the Seven Muses. Nobody knows who Grandmother Frances was, or what her family thought of her taste. Only a paper label records her penchant for the unusual: 'This cabinet was designed and etched by my Grandmother Frances . . . and restored in 1829.' Both execution and design, says Christie's, a little stuffily, are the work of 'an enlightened amateur'. Granny appears to have copied the classical images in Francesco Bartolozzi's prints. Christie's has estimated her amateurism at a not inconsiderable dollars 60,000-dollars 90,000 ( pounds 40,000- pounds 60,000) in their sale of important English furniture, clocks, Chinese export porcelain and carpets on Saturday.

THIS FEDERAL, paint-decorated, pine basin-stand (right) is an all-American eccentricity from the collection of an American couple who were far from eccentric. Nina and Bertram Little, who died in their nineties last year - within four months of each other - assembled one of the most remarkable collections of Americana in the United States. Nina illuminated the life histories of anonymous and little- known itinerant folk artists in early 19th-century America, pioneering the use of such historical sources as manuscript account books, diaries, family and business papers, court records, family genealogies and tombstones. The Little collection, to be sold by Sotheby's New York on Saturday, includes nave paintings, 18th-century embroidery, painted wooden chests and Staffordshire pottery specially made for the American market. The early 19th-century basin- stand, whose lower shelf must have banged the legs of all who used it, has its original brass handles and is estimated at dollars 3,000-dollars 5,000 ( pounds 2,000- pounds 3,300).

ECCENTRIC English teapots, thinly disguised as fruit or vegetables, fascinated Herbert and Sylvia Jacobs, American collectors whose collection of 18th- and early 19th-century English pottery is at Christie's New York tomorrow. They visited London auctions and scoured US towns for examples. Pieces from their collection appear in reference works on Wedgwood. These two teapots, a creamware pineapple (right, c1765), probably Wedgwood, and a globular Staffordshire (left, c1760), are both estimated at dollars 3,000-dollars 5,000 ( pounds 2,000- pounds 3,300).

(Photographs omitted)

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