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 Dennis to Offer Prestigious Johnson / Allison 2000 Lot Lifetime Collection


Stewartsville, NJ - On a street in majestic Oldwick, New Jersey stands an 11 room Colonial farm house built in 1790.  It’s completely original right down to the gate latches but it is what’s in the house that boggles the imagination. For over 50 years, New York designers and partners James Johnson and James Allison avidly pursued their passion for fine and rare antiques which resulted in an accumulation of early American, English, and French antiques that would melt the heart of any discerning collector.  James Allison, a direct heir of Lewis of Lewis and Clark, also contributed many family heirlooms to the museum quality home. On Saturday, May 7th Dennis Auction Service will offer the first session of the 2000 lots that will be held in 4 sessions. Frank Dennis stated, “This is the most comprehensive sale that we have ever had in the history of our auction house.”   

Allison and Johnson became widely known in New York and New Jersey as “old guard” collectors who were published in Colonial Homes magazine. Their taste was impeccable and together they amassed an antiques collection that was staggering in both quality and quantity.  Upon entering the home one was caught by the sensation that time stood still for the gracious quarters. “George and Martha would be very much at home here” was a statement often made by Mr. Johnson.  And no doubt they would; moving through the rooms was like moving through time, century by century.  Each room was decorated in a different period from American Pilgrim Century, William and Mary, Queen Ann, Chippendale, Federal, and early to late Georgian.  Exceptional continental and oriental pieces were also present. The walls were hung with important 17th and 18th C American and European paintings; the floors were covered in early antique oriental and Aubusson rugs.  One of the most stunning rooms was a 17th to 18th C Venetian paint decorated bedroom suite.  The rooms were filled to capacity and what was not in clear view was stored in the Colonial timber frame barn and virtually everywhere else that would hold an item.  Every drawer, closet, cupboard, and cubby was filled to capacity with collection upon collection in which only the rare and the beautiful were selected.  There was virtually nothing that Jim Allison and Jim Johnson did not collect.  The list is endless, including an impressive collection of Revolutionary War stoneware, rare nutmeg grinders, yellowware, redware, pewter, treenware, early iron and hardware, fireplace rotisseries and other cooking items, candlesticks and prickets, early American baskets, hat boxes, bronzes, clocks, china, porcelains, snuff bottles, miniature paintings, oriental bronzes, and a vast reference library, to name only a few.   

Art work in this collection is exceptional and will be sold in approximately 70 lots. Fine paintings include a mid-16th C. oil on panel in the original frame, 35 3/16” x 27 5/8”, depicting a Madonna holding a sleeping Christ child.  This painting was attributed in 1976 by Frederick Bond of Bucks County, PA to the Flemish artist Cornelis van Cleve (1520-1567).  A painting depicting cows in a stream by Jacob van der Maaten is approximately 27” x 24”.   Revolutionary War hero William Ramsey and his family is the subject of a large portrait in its original frame by William Tylee Ranney; a sister portrait of Ramsey will also be sold.  A self portrait of John Constable, 1776-1837, is approximately 24 1/2” x 30”.  A fine 17th French school oil on canvas portrait of a child holding flowers is believed to be Louis XIV as a child - it is delicately painted in fine detail and in the original gold leaf frame.  A stately 19th C Scottish landscape in a gilt wood frame is 50 ” X 40 ”.  An oil on panel depicting a mother and her two children in a palace salon with servants is signed Amos Cassioli.  A Pennsylvania landscape oil on canvas by Bucks County artist William D. Fausett and a Harry Herman Roseland oil on canvas, entitled “Visit to the Doctor,” will also be offered.

 Among the many desirable pieces of furniture is an original classic form 1740 American William and Mary walnut three-drawer lowboy with trumpet form legs, ball feet, drop finials, and turned stretcher.  A Hudson Valley Kas from Rhineland, NY with the original hardware has a heavy cornice, bun feet, a hidden key slot, and a bottom drawer.  One of the highlights of the sale is an early sugar chest which is unlike most early sugar chests because it has the actual sugar bundles and sugar nippers still in the chest.  An unusual southern pine and birch two doors over three drawers cupboard features a brushing slide, a unique hand carved interior door latch and original H/L hinges with large hand forged nails and dove tail bracket feet.  An early 1800’s four panel Italian screen is exquisitely hand painted with an imaginative floral motif that includes uncommon details such as butterfly netting, an umbrella, a pagoda, a kite and other free-spirited elements painted in fine detail.  It is also painted on the back and is fixed to the tongue and groove frame with rose-head nails.  A rarely seen late 1700’s piano forte marked Clementin Co, London and an early harpsichord with an inlaid case are in excellent condition.  A set of Centennial Chippendale dining chairs has 6 side chairs and two arm chairs.  A select group of late 17th C to early 18th C Venetian bedroom pieces includes a lavishly painted single bed with an arched headboard and foot board and a crown ceiling drape, a Bombay shaped chest of drawers, and other complimentary items including an extraordinary chandelier.  

Lighting fixtures are highlighted by a stunning Venetian umbrella form silver and gilt wood chandelier hand painted with a riot of colorful spring flowers.  Six putti are situated on the inverted umbrella tips that support 12 candle arms in porcelain bases.   The piece is completed by a crown ceiling canopy and a grape cluster bottom drop finial. This is one of the most exceptional one of a kind pieces in the sale.  An English cut crystal and bronze chandelier has 20 arms, prism drops and rope crystal drapes.  Another crystal chandelier is amethyst and rock quartz.  An enormous stained glass combination electric and gas dome shaped chandelier is 4 feet in diameter.  Several early tole lamps are also available.  

Chief among a group of fine clocks including five tall case clocks is an early 1800’s mahogany inlaid tall case with a painted face by John Scudder of Elizabethtown, NJ, an English mahogany musical long case clock with bell flower inlay, and a late 1700’s moon dial cherry wood tall case by Jacob Stein, North Hampton, PA, approximately 67” tall; this clock is illustrated in Clocks of New Jersey by Wm. Drost.   Other clocks of importance include a dome top spring driven shelf clock with a hand painted tin face, alarm bell, and rare side escapement, and an exceptional banjo clock, c. 1830, marked Hull, having an eglomise depiction of a Revolutionary War naval battle showing  British and American fighting ships with a 13 star flag and cannons.  A hand painted porcelain clock and mantel garnitures done in champleve enamel and bronze is signed Tiffany & Co. Several wag on the wall clocks will also be auctioned. 

 A vast selection of porcelains and china includes Rose Medallion, Canton, French Faience, Limoges, Historical Blue, Sevres, Belleck, Meissen, Staffordshire, Royal Dalton for Tiffany, Royal Dalton for Ovington’s, green mark Lenox and more.   There are many sets of 12 plates, as well as large and rare serving pieces in various unusual shapes.  Items of special interest are a 19” Clews Staffordshire Historical Blue platter depicting the landing of General Lafayette, 1818-1834, a 1790 French Faience compote, and an early set of six 1793 French Faience plates. Many porcelain figures will also be offered.  Approximately 200 pieces of redware and yellowware in many forms include a fine set of spouted decorated mixing yellowware bowls in graduating sizes from small to extra large.  Another set contains 11 pieces.  The redware selection has a large dough riser with the original lid and unusual forms of manganese decorated redware.  There is also a rarely seen greenware Turk’s head mold in excellent condition and several other pieces of green glazed Southern redware, probably North Carolina.  

An extensive selection of fireplace and kitchen accessories offers a highly sought after fire back depicting war hero General Wolfe who died during the French and Indian war, intricate clockwork rotisseries in solid brass, and spit hook andirons mounted with bowls. Over 100 lots of American  and Continental pewter include early tankards dated as early as 1745, chargers, tea and coffee pots, a large hour glass, wind-up candle holders with string candles, whale oil lamps, funnels, ladles, porringers and more.

Collectors of treenware will find much to appreciate in the vast selection of covered jars, pantry boxes and Shaker boxes from very tiny to extremely large.  Pieces of special interest are an exceptional round tooled box, a small and articulate burl wood tankard with handle that is all made from one piece, a large wooden tea kettle shaped water vessel also made in one piece, a round cherry funnel, and a small syrup pitcher with twig binder and saw tooth base that is unusual.  Nutmeg grinders are popular in today’s market and there are 35 lots of rarely seen and one of a kind pieces in this collection from as early as 1800. One from 1877 is cast iron and spring loaded.   

Items of special note include a floor to ceiling white porcelain and bronze stove that is complete and in excellent condition.  A signed reverse painted glass chess board has a dramatic floral decorated border on a black background.  A large and elaborate sterling silver epergne with intricate lattice work pierced through and through has six side arms with round bowls; a center oval bowl and a rare and 21” cranberry cut glass epergne is decorated with cut glass floral motif and has cranberry glass prisms. Federal mahogany knife boxes have approximately 65 knife slots. A late 19th C neoclassical ormolu and bronze oval table mirror by Francois Barbedienne that has figural side supports of cherubs playing tennis is just one among an immense selection of period mirrors.  Samplers of note include one made by Mary Renton in 1787 that has a religious verse, one made in 1809 by Ann Mayer, and an early pair made by two sisters.  Fifty lots of outstanding antique rugs include 2 Aubussons, an 1820 Serape, a Mughal, an Usak, a silk Tabriz prayer rug and many fine oriental room size pieces.  Highlighting a selection of jewelry is a 15.44c emerald cut yellow ring diamond ring in a platinum setting. 

On Thursday evening May 5th Dennis with host a silver auction of American, English and Continental silver that is represented by Tiffany, Gorham, Black Starr and Frost, and many others.  Fine Hollowware and flatware will be sold in 300 lots.   

Schedule:  Auction:  Saturday, May 7th at 10:00 AM
Previews:  Friday, 5/6 at 12:00 to 8:00 PM
                  Saturday, 5/7 at 7:00 AM until auction
                  Or view the auction at www.dennisauction.com
                  E-mail of photos is available upon request.

Silver Auction:  Thursday, May 5th at 6:00 PM
Previews:  Thursday, May 5th Noon to Auction

For more information contact Dennis Auction Service, 723 Rt. 57, Stewartsville, NJ

908-859-3424, Fax 908-859-1531, E-mail dennisauction@nac.net

Absentee and phone bids accepted.  A 15% buyer’s premium applies.



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Dennis Auction Service, Inc.
P.O. Box 5
Stewartsville, NJ 08886
Phone: 908-859-3424 / Fax: 908-859-1531
Email: info@dennisauction.com