1890 Frank Henry Shapleigh Oil

Value (2013) | $50,000 Auction$70,000 Auction
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GUEST:
My mother bought it because of the frame. She thought it had a lovely frame. She bought it from a gallery in Knoxville, Tennessee. And that's all I know.

APPRAISER:
Do you know about when she might have purchased it?

GUEST:
Oh, probably 60 or 70 years ago.

APPRAISER:
And how long have you had it?

GUEST:
Oh, 30 years at least.

APPRAISER:
And where has it been in the house?

GUEST:
On a wall in the hall. (laughs)

APPRAISER:
It's by an artist named Frank Henry Shapleigh. It's signed and executed in oil on canvas. Where had you surmised it was?

GUEST:
My mother told me it was Charleston Harbor. And having visited Charleston, I didn't think Charleston Harbor quite looked like that, but...

APPRAISER:
Well, in actual fact, it's a place called Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida.

GUEST:
Oh. Hmm...

APPRAISER:
That fort actually was built by the Spanish. It started in 1672. It's one of the oldest buildings in America. And Shapleigh, interestingly enough, started in Boston. He took training there and he fought in the Civil War for the Union. And then he was off to France, did some more training, then back to New Hampshire, where he's mostly known for White Mountain scenes. Mount Washington.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
That sort of thing. But the important thing about this picture is that from 1877 to 1894 he was in St. Augustine doing paintings there. So you said your mother liked it because of the frame.

GUEST:
The frame, that was the reason she bought the picture.

APPRAISER:
I'm afraid your mother was dead wrong on that one.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
So this is what we would call a molded composition frame. It's not actually carved. It's made out of compo, and it's not actually gold, it's metal leaf. So these things have a tendency to disintegrate over time. This one's starting to experience some of those troubles. And the frame has absolutely zero impact on the value of the work.

GUEST:
Well... (chuckling) I'm surprised. Because she really liked the frame. That was the reason she bought it.

APPRAISER:
Do you happen to recall how much your mother paid for the painting?

GUEST:
I have absolutely no idea.

APPRAISER:
At auction right now, I think an appropriate value would be $50,000 to $70,000.

GUEST:
Really? I'm surprised. Shocked. (chuckles) I may take it off the wall in the hall and put it a little out where I can see it more.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bonhams, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2013)
$50,000 Auction$70,000 Auction
Event
Richmond, VA (August 17, 2013)
Period
19th Century
Material
Oil

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