J.E. Buttersworth Painting

Value (2005) | $80,000 Auction$120,000 Auction

GUEST:
My mother passed away in 2001 and left me a few other things besides this one.

APPRAISER:
And do you know where she got it?

GUEST:
Somewhere in Atlanta. Perhaps at a gallery... She said it was a gallery somewhere in Georgia.

APPRAISER:
And you were able to read the signature down here?

GUEST:
Correct.

APPRAISER:
Which is James E. Buttersworth. He was born in 1817, lived until 1894. He was born in England and came from a family of painters. He moved to the States in the 1850s, and we can tell that this is a fairly early work for him, and one reason we can tell is this repeated pattern in the waves-- it's very static, not dynamic. It doesn't have all the movement that you see in later pictures. So, this appears to be a yacht race.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And one very good clue that we have here is this American flag in the distance. Now, these two boats are racing, and this is what you call a spectator or observer boat and we don't know the names of the ships, but there might be a way to research this with, say, the New York Yacht Club. And there are these tiny identifying flags here and on this boat, and what you might be able to determine from further research is whether this is an America's Cup race.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
And that would be a very good thing. Another thing that he liked to do was actually go out in the water in a small boat so that he could observe the ships close at hand. So you often get the kind of perspective that he had of being right on the water. Buttersworth was a very meticulous painter. You can see he had quite the eye for detail, and this is just a lovely, well-painted example of his work. Do you have any idea how much your mother might have paid for it?

GUEST:
I have no idea. None. They had it in their house, hanging on the wall, and I inherited the trailer with the contents, and this was one of the contents.

APPRAISER:
A couple pictures about the same size as yours, also yacht races, sold recently at auction. They each made about $90,000.

GUEST:
Oh, jeez.

APPRAISER:
So I think you could safely say at auction that this would be an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.

GUEST:
You're kidding. Oh, goodness. She would have a fit.

APPRAISER:
It's a terrific picture.

GUEST (tearfully): Oh, mercy.

APPRAISER:
I think it needs a better frame.

GUEST:
Mmm. It's got to have a better place to hang than near the bathroom, because that's where it was hanging-- near the bathroom.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Nan Chisholm Fine Art, Ltd.
New York, NY
Appraised value (2005)
$80,000 Auction$120,000 Auction
Event
Tampa, FL (June 25, 2005)
Period
19th Century

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