John Emms Oil Painting, ca. 1890

Value (2012) | $15,000 Auction$30,000 Insurance
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APPRAISER:
With a painting like this, can I assume that you're an animal lover?

GUEST:
Yes, I like cows.

APPRAISER:
You like cows?

GUEST:
And I like dogs.

APPRAISER:
So did you buy it?

GUEST:
I inherited it from my aunt. My aunt, I think, bought it back in the late '30s on a trip to England. And she lived a very long life, and at the age of 98, after she died, we were allowed to take one thing from their home. And I liked it, and so this is what I took.

APPRAISER:
The artist is John Emms, spelled E-M-M-S. And he's a Victorian painter, born in 1843, and lives until 1912. This painting probably dates towards the end of his career. I would think this is dated in probably the 1890s or so.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It certainly is a mature work for him. You see the brushwork. His earlier work is a little tighter. This has much of the loose brushstroke that people really respond to. Now, in the Victorian era, he's a specialist in painting dogs. So this painting's a little different from him. We do have dogs, but we also have other elements here. We have a stable boy here, who had just finished milking a cow. And you see the bucket here. And what's happening is it's a little story being told here. It's an anecdotal painting, or a narrative painting. And what it is is these little beagles are here waiting for the milk, you know, from the cow. So the cow is turning around, a little surprised. And this is where he really revels in painting. He's known as one of the finest painters. Part of it is brushstroke. And you see this beautiful brushstroke in the hair of these dogs, and how it follows the ears and the snouts. Really one of England's finest painters of dogs. Now, do you recall what your aunt might have paid for it at all?

GUEST:
Well, she's pretty shrewd. I would say, probably in the late '30s it would have been $1,000 or under.

APPRAISER:
Yeah. The '30s, $1,000, a fair amount.

GUEST:
I think that's probably a good price then.

APPRAISER:
That was expensive, yeah. Did you have it appraised, or have you ever...

GUEST:
No, I went to the library, my grandson and I, and we looked up in an English artists book, and they said that his paintings were going from, at that time, $2,000 to $5,000.

APPRAISER:
Well, this one is a good work. It's a good size. One thing you might want to do is you might want to consider a new frame. This frame is really inexpensive, and...

GUEST:
It's really tacky. I didn't know if this was the original frame or what. So I was afraid to touch it.

APPRAISER:
What you see all around the sides is some restoration of the frame rubbing. And that's where the original frame rubbed against the canvas.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And when they put the new frame on, that was exposed. And then they did the restoration on that.

GUEST:
Yeah, this is really ugly.

APPRAISER:
I think an auction estimate would be about $15,000 to $25,000.

GUEST:
Okay. If I want to insure it, I go for what?

APPRAISER:
You might go for more like the upper end of that range, maybe about $30,000.

GUEST:
All righty, good. Well, that's amazing. I really didn't think it was worth that.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bonhams, NY
New York, New York
Value Update (2012)
$15,000 Auction$30,000 Insurance
Appraised value (2008)
$15,000 Auction$30,000 Insurance
Event
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Form
Painting
Material
Oil
November 12, 2012: We contacted appraiser Alan Fausel for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $15,000 - $30,000 (Unchanged)

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