Dorothy Carleton Smyth Paintings, ca. 1905

Value (2011) | $15,000 Auction$18,000 Auction
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GUEST:
My grandmother gave them to me. All that I recall is that she had purchased a set of nine panels from an antique flea market.

APPRAISER:
Do you own all nine of them?

GUEST:
I do. I only brought three today.

APPRAISER:
Right. They are done by a Scottish artist named Dorothy Carleton Smyth. She was born in 1880 in Glasgow, and she went to school there at the Glasgow School of Art. She began her career as a portrait artist and she got very interested in the theater, so she did mostly theatrical portraits. And then after that she began to do costume design and eventually set design. And she seemed to be especially interested in Shakespeare, which is reflected in all these that we see here. These are all Shakespearean scenes. In 1906, she actually designed a group of costumes for the Shakespearean Festivals that were held in Stratford-on-Avon. Each one of them is signed and dated, and they're dated 1905. I believe this last one is dated 1906, but it's all in that period. Have you ever done any research on this artist?

GUEST:
I did bring them to an appraiser just to find out about them, and we didn't really get into much more except that they needed to be cleaned because they were very dirty.

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
He did share that she was known as one of the Glasgow Girls, and also that she was deemed to be headmistress, but prior to her taking that position at the Glasgow School, she died.

APPRAISER:
Right. She died in 1933 before she could ever take that position. These are wonderful little mixed-media paintings. There's a number of things in them. There's oil, and she's incorporated some mother-of-pearl and little glass beads. They're done on wood, and this one has actually got a few age cracks, which is just typical of what you would have happen with wood. One of the most charming things about these is that she did the frames, too, and she's done them in a lovely Arts and Crafts style. The frames add a lot to the value of these. There's been a great deal of interest in her recently.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
So you have never had them appraised, is that correct?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
When you talked to the appraiser you didn't go into values.

GUEST:
No, he didn't go into values, he just said clean them.

APPRAISER:
Well, with the interest that there is in her work right now, and with the excellent quality of what you brought in, we would expect them at auction to probably go, each one, somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
So, if you have a set of nine and they're all this quality, you certainly have a lot to thank your grandmother for.

GUEST:
Yes, I'm very shocked.

APPRAISER:
For insurance value, I would probably go on the high end of that. You'd probably go six, maybe even slightly more.

GUEST:
Okay.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Szescila Appraisal Service
Houston, TX
Appraised value (2011)
$15,000 Auction$18,000 Auction
Event
Eugene, OR (June 04, 2011)
Form
Painting
Material
Beads, Oil, Wood
March 12, 2012: In this segment appraiser Beth Szescila says that Dorothy Carleton Smyth worked as a set designer as well as designing costumes. After reviewing her transcript of the taping, Szecila reported to us that she could not find any evidence substantiating that Smyth designed sets, and that that detail should be removed; however, we failed to make the correction to the final edited version of her appraisal for the Eugene Hour 2 show. We regret the error.

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