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Press Release – Case’s July 13 Auction Sparkles with Diamonds, Art


CONTACT: Sarah Campbell Drury
(615) 812-6096

Case’s July 13 Auction Sparkles with Diamonds, Art

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.— A Southern socialite’s jewelry, a collection of French paintings, and two sculptures by important outsider artist William Edmondson make for appointment bidding at Case’s July 13 auction.The 773-lot auction, to be held at the company’s headquarters in Knoxville, also stars American and Southern paintings; silver; collections of Southern pottery and early Chinese export porcelain; Arts & Crafts lighting, Asian and military mementos from a globe-trotting author, and decorative arts from the widow of a U.S. ambassador.

The dazzling array of jewelry features a GIA-certified 7.32 carat oval brilliant cut diamond with desirable color and clarity (G-VS1), flanked in a gold setting by two Fancy Intense Yellow diamonds, each over 1 carat. The ring comes from the estate of a prominent Southern lady whose collection also included a pair of 8.34 carat diamond studs, two South Sea Pearl necklaces, and a Buccellati 18K collar necklace containing 52 diamonds. Other designer jewelry includes brooches, bracelets and earrings by Tiffany, Gabriel Ofiesh, Craig Drake, Jose Hess and Ilias Lalouis, and antique jewelry lovers will appreciate an Art Deco sapphire and diamond ring with three diamonds, each over a carat, and an Art Deco sapphire and diamond platinum bracelet. Vintage wristwatches by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard, and Hermes are also expected to draw bidders.

Headlining the sculpture category are a carved limestone rabbit and a carved limestone female figure, both by William Edmondson, the Tennessee sculptor who in 1937 became the first African American to have a solo exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. In January, Case sold a William Edmondson female figure titled “Miss Lucy” for $324,000; now, they are offering “Miss Amy,” a similar Edmondson sculpture from the same estate, but with a more extensive exhibition history. “Miss Amy” depicts a woman from Edmondson’s Nashville church who had been, in his words, “uplifted” to heaven. As part of a national Edmondson retrospective in 2000, it was exhibited at four museums, including the Museum of American Folk Art, and the High Museum in Atlanta. “What makes ‘Miss Amy’ especially desirable is the preservation of Edmondson’s chisel marks and the original patina,” noted company president John Case. “She was always used indoors as a doorstop, rather than a garden sculpture, which is what happened to many Edmondson figures before his work became so highly collectible.”

Other sculpture in the auction includes a Jean Leon Gerome bronze figural group of two jockeys on horseback jumping a hedge; a bronze depiction of “Apollo” by Mathurin Moreau; a bronze grouping of “The Daughters of Odessa” by Frederick Hart; a polychrome Erte bronze, “Sirens,” and five wood and ceramic works by award-winning Tennessee sculptor Olen Bryant.

A vivid Impressionist oil on canvas of fishing ships clustered a French cove, by Henry Moret, leads a single owner collection of French paintings in the sale. It was recently added to the Moret catalog raisonne. Also offered, and listed in their respective artists’ catalogs raisonne, are a Henri Lebasque Fauvist-influenced portrait of a girl sewing, and two works by Leon Lhermitte: an oil of haymakers in a field and a pastel of two washerwomen. Other European painters represented in the sale include Francisco Miralles y Galup, Vittorio Corcos, Bernhard Pothast, Johann Klengel, Alfred de Breanski Jr., Elise Maclet, Jacques Martin Ferrieres, Antoine Blanchard, George Vincent, and Charles Jacque.

Leading the American art offerings is “The Pea Shellers” by Tennessee Impressionist painter Catherine Wiley, recently exhibited at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Although Wiley’s career came to a tragic early end in 1925 and her work rarely comes on the market, this auction also includes one of her landscapes, a vertically oriented oil painting of a sun dappled path through a forest. A portrait by Wiley’s teacher Lloyd Branson, depicting his young niece, is also expected to draw interest, along with a farm scene dotted with black angus cattle by Tennessee painter Carroll Cloar, and an oil painting by Adelia Armstrong Lutz after William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s charming child portrait “Little Knitter.” Southern landscapes by John Spelman, Rudolph Ingerle, Thomas Campbell and Edward Kellogg are also up for bid.

Also offered is a large, verdant landscape by “the dean of California painters,” William Wendt. It was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1905 and was recently discovered in a Tennessee estate. Other American art includes a large Howard Chandler Christy watercolor illustration of “Eve” from the book “Seven Darlings,” and a large oil of mallards taking flight, from acclaimed wildlife artist Lee Leblanc. There are also landscapes by Edgar Nye, Antonio Cirino, Arthur Parton, Olive Black, William Emerson and Charles Maccord, and folk/outsider art works by Thornton Dial, Clementine Hunter, Helen Lafrance, and Lonnie Holley.

Contemporary art includes two Perle Fine abstract collages and two Victor Schreckengost watercolors, along with oil paintings by Hector Julio Carybe and Kurt Larisch. Works on paper include lithographs by Alexander Calder, Thomas Hart Benton, Salvador Dali, Ursula Fookes, Toulouse Lautrec, and Charley Harper, along with a Reynolds Beal circus watercolor, an Alfred Hutty drypoint, “Discussion Group in Carolina,” and five Whistler etchings.

The Whistler etchings were formerly in the estate of Thomas Wheelock, a New York native and co-author of the book Land of the Flying Masks: Art & Culture in Burkina Faso. Wheelock was living in Tennessee when he died, leaving behind a sizeable collection of Asian, British and military history related antiques inherited from his wealthy Manhattanite and Scottish grandparents. More than 60 lots in the sale were once owned by Wheelock and/or his family, including Georgian and Edwardian furniture from the Wheelock manor home “Bunker Hill” in Scotland; a blown glass compote with engraved decoration commemorating Lord Nelson’s Victory at Trafalger; a Minton porcelain bowl commemorating the 1918 World War One surrender of the German High Seas Fleet; an 18th century English regimental drum, and a Napoleonic bronze flag finial, along with a large amount of silver and porcelain.

The sale also features decorative arts from the estate of Jane Dudley of Nashville, widow of former Ambassador to Denmark, Guilford Dudley, including Flora Danica porcelain, armorial porcelain, French and Italian clocks, bronze candelabra, paintings and sculpture, and a 19th century double action pedal harp made by the J.F. Browne Company.

The auction encompasses more than 75 lots of silver from important makers, including Tiffany sterling flatware sets in the Audubon, Flemish, and Faneuil patterns and flatware sets by Puiforcat, Buccellati, Kirk and Gorham. Antique hollowware includes a rare American Aesthetic Movement tureen by John Vansant (a similar one is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art); a Dominick & Haff pitcher and with twelve matching repousse goblets; a Victorian sterling tray with presentation inscription to English Colonel (later General) Montagu Gerard; a Matthew Boulton Old Sheffield Plate hot water urn, and two American coin silver tea sets along with several Southern coin silver julep cups. Other hollowware highlights include a five piece sterling Reed and Barton Francis I pattern tea service and tea sets by Poole (Lancaster Rose) and Gorham (Plymouth and Puritan patterns).

A Tiffany Studios table lamp with leaded “Lemon Leaf” Shade and “Mock Turtle” bronze base leads a selection of Arts & Crafts period lighting that includes a Handel floor lamp with “Cattail” shade, a Handel boudoir lamp, and 4 Handel table lamps with leaded and reverse painted glass shades. Also appealing for Arts and Crafts collectors is a Roycroft mahogany triple door bookcase and 2 Roycroft rockers; a Tiffany watercolor plan for a mosaic floor for a Pennsylvania church; a pair of Tiffany bronze and glass “Puddle” candlesticks; and 4 Tiffany art glass vases. Other art glass in the auction includes a pair of Lalique swans with mirror; Lalique “Ceylan” and “Tanega” vases; seven Durand “feather” goblets; and vases by Galle, Muller Freres, Devez, Baccarat, Webb, and Val St. Lambert.

The ceramics category features a scarce Historical Staffordshire Liverpool pitcher with polychrome decoration of the American masted ship, The General Mercer; a War of 1812 lustreware jug with black and white decoration depicting battles between the USS Constitution, HMS Cyane and HMS Levant, and the USS Wasp and the HMS Reindeer; a sugar bowl with scene of Boston Harbor, and blue and white platters with Hudson River views. Collectors will also find several lots of Hermes dishes in the Toucans pattern; majolica including George Jones; a collection of oyster plates, and decorative pieces by Royal Vienna and Meissen.

There are several lots of Chinese Export Famille Rose porcelain from a single owner, whose grandfather collected it while living in The Hague in the early 1900s. Many of the pieces date from the Yongzheng period and incorporate applied leaf and floral decorations. Jade standouts include a marriage bowl from the Wheelock collection, a lotus form bowl, a melon carved covered box, and 2 libation cups and various small jade plaques and figures. Rounding out the Asian category are a Qing porcelain plaque attributed to Yu Huanwen, a group of early Indian Mughal paintings, and several Shin Hanga woodblocks.

A single owner collection of Carolina and Tennessee pottery anchors the offerings of Southern Decorative Arts. One of the most interesting pieces is also one of the smallest: a 4 ¾ inch high Edgefield, South Carolina face jug, made at the Thomas Davies Factory (1861-1864) by an unknown African American maker. There are also two full sized Edgefield pots: one with two incised cross marks suggesting possible attribution to Dave Drake and the Lewis Miles Pottery, the other a 5-gallon jar with slip flower design. Collectors can choose between five jugs in a variety of price ranges, all marked for Catawba Valley, North Carolina potter Daniel Seagle (1805-1867) including a monumental ten-gallon alkaline glaze pot. Tennessee pottery standouts include an East Tennessee manganese glazed redware jar, one of the most pristine and largest found to date at 15”H, and a redware cream pot by Christopher Haun of Greene County, TN (1821-1861). There are two scarce Tennessee samplers: an 1830 family register sampler by Elizabeth M. Henley of Knoxville, and an unusual 1838 pictorial sampler by Mary Saunders Martin (later Hickerson) of Wilson County. A crazy quilt made by Mrs. Hickerson later in her life, and a crazy quilt attributed to her daughter, are also included in the sale.

Southern furniture includes a Middle Tennessee “Jackson Press” with distinctive veneered frieze and glazed doors, and a rare Southwest Virginia pie safe sideboard press with glazed triple door top and exuberant flowering urn-punched tins. A Tennessee or Virginia pie safe with unusual urn and pitcher tins is offered, along with 4 sugar chests from Tennessee and Kentucky, and a “Lazy Susan” table from a historic Middle Tennessee farm. More formal furniture includes a diminutive classical sideboard attributed to Anthony Quervelle of Philadelphia; a George III chinoiserie style clock by Thomas Wagstaffe with japanned surface and pagoda style top, and an Irish game table with profusely inlaid top depicting scenes of Killearney, Ireland.

Books, documents and historical items are increasingly popular at Case. On board this time is an archive of ship’s log, letters, and Navy correspondence related to The Red White and Blue, which in 1866 became famous as the smallest ship ever to cross the Atlantic. The lot also includes the ship’s silver horn. There is a Civil War military appointment commission document signed by Abraham Lincoln and secretary of war Edwin Stanton for Captain James H. Remington of Rhode Island (later a state representative); the Civil War diary of Rhode Island soldier William Budlong; several Civil War generals’ signatures; a gilded copper Confederate medallion seal with letter from Colonel John Pickett presenting it to Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis; and a rare photographic print of one of the final images of General Robert E. Lee, from the 1868 original by Michael Miley. Also included is a President James K. Polk signed certificate of Merit for Private Jacob Fritshe during the Mexican War’s Battle of Cerro Gordo; a collection of clipped presidential and vice-presidential autographs being sold as one lot; a Sam Houston signed land grant; and autographs of Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and Orville Wright. From the Wheelock collection, an intriguing archive of letters exchanged between Peter Pan author James Barrie and the actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell is up for bid, along with a profusely illustrated book by Captain Thomas Williamson, Oriental Field Sports of the East, containing 40 hand colored aquatint plates, and an archive of early 1900s ephemera from the families of Wall Street tycoons George/William Wheelock and George Briggs Buchanan (including a Franklin Roosevelt signed letter). Several maps are for sale, including a scarce William Faden 1796 map of North America showing East Tennessee as the short-lived state of Franklin, or “Franklinia”.

Other notable lots include advertising signs for Stanocola, Blatz Beer and Winchester; a Steinway & Sons Model M grand piano and a Scottish pianoforte; a $20 Saint Gaudens gold coin; a boxed set of 1996 Olympic gold coins; a collection of Stadden and Wilson model soldiers; and a variety of vintage handbags by Chanel and other designers. 

The complete auction catalog is available here or from our Website home page at

Case’s gallery is located at 4310 Papermill Drive in Knoxville. The auction begins Saturday, July 13th at 9:00 AM EST. Online, absentee and phone bids will also be accepted. Persons wishing to preview the auction may do so on Friday, July 12 from noon to 6PM EST or by appointment. For more information or to consign objects for a future auction, call the gallery in Knoxville at (865) 558-3033 or the company’s Nashville office at (615) 812-096 or email