By Lynn Byrne. By my sights, this is the perfect post to follow Boscobel. A couple of years ago, I attended an auction of a fine collection of American Furniture and Folk Art at my old alma mater, Sotheby’s. I have been treasuring the catalog ever since, and not just because the auction items were top notch (though they were), but mainly because the catalog contains wonderful photos of the collector’s home, as decorated by Albert Hadley.
I find the interiors so comfortable. Yet, the family lived with a museum quality collection. The subtitle to this post should surely be ” Mr. Hadley Teaches Us How To Live With Antiques.”
Take the family room for example. Doesn’t that striped rug remind you of the rug in the entry way at Boscobel? Check out the vibrant colors. Nothing dull and boring there. The black flat top highboy in the back had a hammer price* at the auction of $45,000.
* Note, I jotted down the hammer prices in my catalog as the auction proceeded. This price does not include the buyer’s premium which is added on top of the hammer price. At this sale, the buyer’s premium was 20% of the hammer price up to $200,000 and 12% of the hammer price thereafter. So yes Virginia, the buyer actually paid quite a bit more than the hammer price.
I think part of the reason the house is not bogged down with weight of the collection is the floor coverings. There is not an oriental rug to be seen. One so often sees American antiques paired with orientals but of course Mr. Hadley shakes it up, and in doing so keeps things light.
The entry way sets the tone. The settee is a reproduction (keeping it real; someplace to set down bags and packages after all). The mirror is described in the catalog as Chippendale and probably English, circa 1780. It had a hammer price of $15,000 but it is the elegant, spare sconces that catch my eye in this photo , as well as the simple flat weave rug.
Of course, the mirror is stunning.
In the living room Mr. Hadley chose a cream rug with a bold geometric pattern. I love the striped walls, chinese coffee table and red ottoman with the pillow askew. The room has a freshness, yet it includes many thousands of dollars worth of furniture and art. The blue chair in the second photo had a hammer price of $20,000 and the open secretary in the last photo knocked down at $350,000.
In this bedroom, everyone else at the auction was likely focused on the Queen Anne flat top high chest of drawers (hammer price of $190,000). Meanwhile, I still am coveting the custom pattern Parish-Hadley wallpaper and drapes (love the blue band on the drapery bottom hem–it is those little touches that add so much). I also like the textured carpeting. I know I have seen it at Stark Carpet.
Honestly, I wasn’t the only Hadley fan in the sale room. I hoped to snag a bit of funky Parish-Hadley memorabilia. These patinated metal tree trunk lamps struck my fancy for the boys’ game room and with an estimate of $150-250, I thought I stood a chance. Their hammer price was $4, 250 and no, I did not go home with them.
A final disclaimer. The hammer prices quoted here are based on the notes I took during the auction itself. If I made any mistakes, I apologize.