Joyce Bowes Collis Sale Exceeds Expectations

Walnut Architectural Shrank, Ca. 1770, Realizes $34,440

July 16, 2021

Pook & Pook’s June 24 and 25 sale of the estate of Joyce Bowes Collis recorded strong results, grossing $1.26 million, 19 percent above estimate. Strong bidding pushed 47 percent of lots above high estimate, with a total of 79 percent of lots hammered down at or above estimate and a 99.7 percent sell-through rate.
Furniture was the largest category, led by a monumental Lancaster County, Pa., walnut architectural shrank, ca. 1770, which commanded an equally impressive price of $34,440. Two quintessential Berks County, Pa., painted dower chests, late 18th century, both retaining their brilliantly painted original surfaces, brought $13,530 and $15,990. A Sussex County, Del., hard pine corner cupboard by Ralph Brothers, ca. 1800, brought $18,450, and a Pennsylvania painted poplar jelly cupboard, 19th century, retaining its original yellow and red paint decoration, inspired spirited bidding and sold for $11,070. Equally desirable was a New England painted pine apothecary cabinet, 19th century, retaining its original floral swag decoration, selling for $11,070. Two George I pieces, a two-part oak secretary, ca. 1730, and a diminutive oyster veneer chest of drawers, ca. 1720, sold for $22,140 and $11,685. A miniature Pennsylvania painted poplar corner cupboard retaining an old blue surface and salmon interior brought an outsized price of $6,765.
The needlework category achieved a high return ratio, the top lot a large Charles II silk and metallic thread embroidery, late 17th century, depicting royal figures in a landscape, surrounded by allegorical figures, birds, and beasts, which commanded a $29,520 price. This result was rivalled by an elaborate English or Irish silk on linen sampler, 18th century, wrought by Jane Frame, with a detailed Georgian manor house in a park teeming with animals and figures, selling for $27,060. An intriguing Charles II stumpwork casket, dated 1653, with heavy embroidery and a secret compartment, realized $15,990.
It was a strong sale for two local artists. The auction featured 31 works by David Ellinger, including a folk art watercolor of a basket of fruit selling for $5,155, and 31 works by Jeanne Davies, including a painting of exotic birds selling for $6,150. The top art category lot was an English portrait of a young girl with a bird, late 18th century, which sold for $15,990.
Additional highlights included the top lot of the sale, a Montgomery County, Pa., sgraffito redware charger, dated 1790, attributed to George Huebner, selling for $36,900, and the first lot of the sale, an exceptional mocha pitcher, with earthworm, twig, and tulip decoration, which sold for $13,530. The final lot, Chinese export Wooley Sheep famille rose porcelain, 18th century, closed the sale with a strong $11,070. Prices reported include a 23-percent buyer’s premium.
Pook & Pook will sell the remainder of the material from the Collis estate on Wednesday and Thursday, July 28 and 29, in an online only Decorative Arts Auction.
For additional information, call 610-269-4040 or visit


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