Enamel portrait of George Washington, $123,000, topping strong Skinner sale

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BOSTON — A signed miniature enamel portrait of George Washington by William Russell Birch (1755–1834) dated 1797 led Skinner’s Americana and Folk Art sale on November 3. Birch was born and educated in England and came to the United States in 1794, settling in Philadelphia. He quickly launched into the production of works in enamel, the first to do so in the country. He made over sixty miniatures of Washington from a painting by Gilbert Stuart. Estimated at $25,000, it sold for $123,000. The sale began with a separately cataloged selection of 116 lots of mostly state-of-the-art outdoor folk art from the Marvill Collection assembled by Mickey and Jill Baten, some of which fetched prices well above estimates.

The sale included powerful American formal furniture, including a Philadelphia lowboy, a circa 1800 dwarf clock by Joshua Wilder, and a good Pennsylvania spice box. Other folk art included other selections from the Sybil and Arthur Kern collection, some of which fetched top prizes at Skinner’s August sale; several weather vanes; tobacconist figurines; Paul Revere Jr silver; numerous White Mountain paintings; and much more.

A full report will follow.

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