February 6, 2013 Sale Offered Almost 70 Lots of Furniture, Decorations and Paintings from Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, DC
Auction Totals $295,225, Far Surpassing Estimate of $118,050-180,350
Property from the Collections of One of America's Most Distinguished Families
On February 6, 2013, Doyle New York held a highly successful auction of objects from the personal collections of C.W. and Marjorie Merriweather Post housed at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, DC. Proceeds from the sale benefited the fund for future acquisitions at Hillwood.
With competitive bidding from the salesroom, the telephones and the Internet, the sale totaled $295,225, far surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $118,050-180,250. All but three lots were sold in the sale.
Furniture & Decorations
Highlighting the auction was a Roycroft Arts and Crafts bedroom suite of copper-mounted oak that achieved $68,500, more than doubling its estimate of $20,000-30,000. Comprising two dressers, a pair of bedsteads and a writing table, the suite was first used in C.W. Post’s bedroom, then later transferred to his daughter Marjorie Merriweather Post’s retreat, Camp Topridge, in the Adirondacks. The bedsteads are stamped Sandy, for Sanford, Roycroft founder Eldred Hubbard's youngest son, who worked in the furniture shop circa 1907-1908.
Attracting a great deal of attention during the exhibition and sale was a dramatic Continental Rococo carved and painted ceremonial sleigh, probably South German, dating to the 18th/19th century that fetched $23,750, many times its estimate of $3,000-4,000. Decorated with a gilt eagle and surmounted by a gilt grotesque figurehead, the sleigh was purchased in Venice by Marjorie Merriweather Post.
An unsigned Art Nouveau patinated-metal and iron floor lamp with a colorful leaded glass shade sold for $15,000, far exceeding its estimate of $3,000-4,000. Dating to the first quarter of the 20th century, the lamp was formerly in use at Camp Topridge.
The selection of furnishings in the French taste featured a circa 1780 Louis XVI carved and gilt beechwood boudeuse estimated at $3,000-4,000 that sold for $7,500. It was purchased from Maurice Chalom, Paris, by Marjorie Merriweather Post’s middle daughter as a gift for her mother and used intermittently at Hillwood.
Paintings in the sale were highlighted by a whimsical 1890 painting by Walter Hunt (British, 1861-1941) titled Sour Grapes that soared past its estimate of $12,000-18,000 to achieve $53,125. The charming work depicts two squirrels enjoying acorns in an oak tree while a frustrated fox looks on from below.
C.W. and Marjorie Merriweather Post
Founder of the Post cereal empire, which would one day become General Foods, C.W. Post (1854-1914) was a talented inventor, successful businessman, world traveler and generous philanthropist. The examples of English, Revival, Victorian, Renaissance-inspired and Mission style furnishings; Roman marble busts; and 19th century bronzes in the auction came from C.W.’s Battle Creek, Michigan gallery and personal office. His exceptional taste extended to the late 19th and early 20th century Arts and Crafts movement. C.W. passed on his interest in art and fine furnishings to his only daughter, Marjorie Merriweather Post.
Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) inherited C.W.’s cereal company, along with his passion for entrepreneurism and collecting. She purchased Hillwood in 1955, renovating the 1920s neo-Georgian house to accommodate her exquisite decorative arts holdings. For many years, Hillwood offered a gracious setting where Marjorie Merriweather Post would entertain Washington’s social and government elite, foreign diplomats, and members of the United States armed services. Some of the furnishings in the auction once appointed the guest rooms on the third floor of Hillwood and were removed in the late 1980s to accommodate a new conservation lab, textile storage, and staff offices.
Furniture, decorations and paintings from C.W. and Marjorie Merriweather Post’s collections emerged after many years in storage, and the auction provided collectors with a rare opportunity to acquire objects that once belonged to one of America’s most distinguished families.
The C.W. and Marjorie Merriweather Post Collections comprised lots 97 through 163 in the February 6, 2013 auction.
For information on Hillwood, visit HillwoodMuseum.org
All prices include the Buyer's Premium.