Empire Mahogany Marble-Top Table & Portrait Painting

Value (2011) | $10,800 Auction$16,200 Auction
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GUEST:
My husband inherited both of these pieces when his grandmother passed away. This was my husband's grandmother’s grandmother’s piece. She was from Camden, South Carolina, and her husband died in the Civil War. His last words were, "Forward, men." And so she took her four boys and went to Sewanee, Tennessee. They were living in Atlanta when the Great Fire of Atlanta happened in 1917. So they had to go back to their home place in Camden to get more furniture because all of the furniture had burned. So they got this and this.

APPRAISER:
As I look at this portrait, there is a real sadness in her eyes, and she's also all in black.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
So, I'm assuming that this could have been perhaps after her husband passed away in the Civil War.

GUEST:
I think so.

APPRAISER:
And I would date the portrait in the 1860s.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This is oil on canvas piece. So you're saying that this person owned this table.

GUEST:
That is what we believe.

APPRAISER:
Yes. Well, I would say that you've got an 1860 painting, but you have an 1820 table. So the table is much older than the picture itself.

GUEST:
Wow, really?

APPRAISER:
So the table-- let's talk about this table, because this is my favorite part of this combination here. Oh, my gosh, that's so cool. This is an American Empire occasional table. In 19th-century inventories, this table would have been referred to as having an Egyptian marble top. And the Egyptian marble refers to this black figured marble. And it's so dramatic. And the table really holds all of its drama as we go down and look at the base of this. You can see this wonderful acanthus leaf carving on the table, which is beautifully articulated, and then there's another little architectural element called an anthemion.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
What my concern is, where was it made in America?

GUEST:
I wanted to ask, yes.

APPRAISER:
I would say it's probably Philadelphia, made about 1820.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Any idea of its value?

GUEST:
When she died, everything in the house had to be appraised.

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
And it was appraised for $500.

APPRAISER:
What year was the table appraised?

GUEST:
2007.

APPRAISER:
Well, I would say that this table, if we were to see this at auction, we would probably estimate it in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. It's just a really spectacular example of this American Empire classical period. I love it.

GUEST:
Oh, my gosh! I really love it.

APPRAISER:
When it's a family portrait, it's priceless.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Correct. However, if this were to enter into the marketplace, I would say $800 to $1,200 on a painting like this.

GUEST:
Wonderful. This is such a great day. Thank you. Oh, good. Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2011)
$10,800 Auction$16,200 Auction
Event
Atlanta, GA (August 06, 2011)
Period
19th Century
Material
Mahogany, Marble, Wood

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