Appraisal Video: (6:40)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Furniture and Decorative Arts
GUEST: I purchased it from a friend of mine, and he handled the affairs of a couple from England. They had some very beautiful things, and this was something that I managed to latch onto. I knew that, um, just by association, this would be something special.
APPRAISER: Quality pieces.
APPRAISER: Okay. This is actually very fine quality, early Regency cellarette. Mm-hmm. Made about 1810. Typical of the Regency period. We see these beautiful crossbanded edges here, crotch-figured mahogany on this dome top. It's the best quality.
APPRAISER: And as we go down the front, we have a wonderful satinwood inlay escutcheon hole, this beautiful molding. Look at that wood again. It's all book-matched. And then palmettes, Egyptian style, from the Regency. They did a lot of these in the Regency style. Reeded legs on casters. So it was a movable wine cooler. And we open it up, we can see here inside these dividers, of course, to hold the wine bottles. So these are used in the dining room. Now, what's really interesting about your cellarette is this history inside. What do we have here?
GUEST: We have a newspaper account from, I believe, 1898, and more or less describes the lineage of this piece and also asks for information, if anyone can help the writer, you know...
APPRAISER: To further...
GUEST: Right, to further their knowledge of the piece.
APPRAISER: Okay, and here we have a "movable gardevin," "round-topped, brass claws"-- which would be feet-- "and handles and running on casters." And here we have "Byron's gardevin." This is written early on, 1898, and it mentions "from the Newstead sale."
APPRAISER: Now, Lord Byron, of course, is one of the great Romantic period poets. He was actually born George Gordon Byron, 1788 to 1824. Born into poverty, and at the age of 10, his great-uncle died, and he became Lord Byron. He inherited an incredible, incredible estate-- this huge castle...
APPRAISER:...where he lived. He was known as a character. He had a pet bear. He was outrageous, eccentric. He wore the wildest clothes. After going to school in Cambridge, he went to this castle and threw wild parties. He apparently had a skull...
GUEST: Lived like a rock star.
APPRAISER: He had a skull that he passed around and people could drink wine out of it.
GUEST: Oh, the chalice, right. I mean, the wine could have maybe come from this...
APPRAISER: That's right, that's right.
APPRAISER: And you brought along a portrait of Byron here. Yes. And this is a period circular portrait and he was a handsome guy. One of the ladies who had a love affair with him at one time, Lady Caroline Lamb, once said he was "mad, bad and dangerous to know." (laughing) And she wrote that the first night she met him. So he was quite a character. But he died young. Only lived till 34 years old, but during his life, he did some amazing things. But the thing is, the provenance on this piece is really wonderful. Without the provenance, as a Regency mahogany cellarette, great quality, this is probably worth in the range of auction estimate would be $6,000 to $12,000. What did you pay for it, by the way?
GUEST: I think it was right in that neighborhood-- $6,000, $6,500.
APPRAISER: Okay, but given all the history, this could be an auction estimate in the range of about $20,000 to $30,000. This little portrait alone, right here, is worth about $1,000 to $1,500.
GUEST: That's amazing. That is truly amazing.