Auction of The Christine Biddle Wainwright Collection on May 4, 2022
Special Section of the American Paintings, Furniture & Decorative Arts Sale
Consignments Are Currently Being Accepted for Future Auctions
NEW YORK, NY -- Doyle presented the landmark auction of The Christine Biddle Wainwright Collection on May 4, 2022. Comprising over 100 lots, the Collection was a highlight of Americana Week at Doyle with auctions offering paintings and prints, high style and country furniture, silver, folk art, Chinese export porcelain and more. Read More
With competitive bidding, the sales totaled a successful $1,931,185, surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $1,103,025-1,758,575, with 92% sold by lot and 100% sold by value.
Historical Documents & Maps
The earliest items in the collection relate to Nicholas Biddle who was born in Philadelphia in 1750 and became one of the first Captains of the United States Navy. A remarkable offering is Biddle’s 1775 commission issued and signed by Benjamin Franklin as President of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety to captain a ship named the Franklin after the great printer, scientist and statesman. Also offered is a 1777 letter from John Hancock to Captain Biddle ordering him to sail to France. Killed in 1778 in a Revolutionary War sea battle off Barbados, Nicholas Biddle is a towering figure of American naval history: testament to this are the four United States Navy ships that have been named in his honor. With the arrival of peace, the Biddle family thrived in Philadelphia. A 1787 document also signed by Benjamin Franklin grants Charles Biddle, Nicholas Biddle’s brother who had served with him on board the Randolph, several lots of land in city center Philadelphia.
A 1759 Map of the improved Part of the Province of Pennsylvania by Nicholas Scull (1700-1762) realized a stunning $88,200, tripling its $20,000-30,000 estimate. Measuring 31 1/4 x 61 1/4 inches, the map is the largest printed in America in the 18th century.
Portraits by Thomas Sully
Charles Biddle and his wife Hanna parented 10 children, including Commodore James Biddle, whose 1839 portrait by Thomas Sully was the top lot of the week soaring over its estimate of $30,000-50,000 to achieve an exceptional $94,500. Thomas Sully is one of the most notable early 19th century American painters from Philadelphia and also offered is Sully’s copy of Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Alexander James Dallas as well as a fine work known as Fancy Portrait of a Girl. Later 19th and early 20th century portraits of family members memorialize this growing, prosperous American family.
Pair of Silver Memorial Vases
As noted, the naval and military service to the United States of the Biddle family is quite distinguished. Another child of Charles Biddle, Thomas Biddle, was a hero of the War of 1812, serving under Zebulon Pike in Ontario. Thomas Biddle settled in St. Louis where he engaged in local politics and unfortunately was killed in a duel (as was his political opponent Congressman Spencer Pettis – they shot each other from a distance of only five feet). Of great beauty are a pair of presentation American Federal silver memorial footed vases by silversmiths Fletcher & Gardiner of Philadelphia, inscribed from Thomas to his brother James Biddle on the date of the ill-fated duel. The vases sold for $59,850, many times their $7,000-10,000 estimate. A mourning pin worn by Mrs. Thomas Biddle is also offered in the sale.
One of the most notable early Biddles was Nicholas, nephew of the Revolutionary captain, who went on to become an important financier and banker of the early Republic. Nicholas Biddle married Jane Margaret Craig in 1811 and came to live at the country estate built by her father and expanded by Benjamin Latrobe, known as Andalusia. In the Collection, a pair of classical tiger maple caned scrolled armchairs and a Federal pine two door-cupboard are believed to have originated there.
We Invite You to Auction!
Consignments are currently being accepted for future auctions. We invite you to contact us for a complimentary auction evaluation. Our specialists are always available to discuss the sale of a single item or an entire collection.
For information, please contact:
Furniture and Decorative Arts: Chris Barber, 917-543-3967, [email protected]
Paintings: Bill Fiddler, 212-427-4141, ext. 249, [email protected]
Silver: Todd Sell, 212-427-4141, ext. 269, [email protected]
Prints: Cynthia Klein, 212-427-4141, ext. 246, [email protected]