Let’s look at a few antique rugs that are now in public view, because they are coming up for sale at various summer auctions.
First, above, is a lovely old rug (described as just “Hooked Rug”, Lot 357-156) at today’s auction at the W. A. Smith Auction sale in Plainfield, NH. We don’t know when, where, or by whom this was made, so we just can look, and imagine who loved these two dogs enough to create this rug. I especially like the twisted rope border.
Here is another dog rug coming up for sale, this one is Lot 130 at the Aug. 1st sale at D. L. Straight Auctioneers, in Sturbridge, Mass:
The dog is sweet, and I’d bet the hooker worked to get her own dog’s markings just right. But the red vine elements are a little too unbalanced or maybe un-flowing to my eye. Still, much care was put into making it, and someone loved this dog, and probably this rug, too. Description: 19TH C HOOKED RUG OF A DOG, GOOD COLORS, 26 X 49. Estimated Price is $200-$300.
James D. Julia Auctions, up in Fairfield, Maine will be auctioning off this rug, Puppies at Play, on August 17th (10 am):
Here is the description: Lot 2490, “Last quarter 19th century, American. Based on the Currier and Ives print “Puppies at Play.” Depicting puppies playing upon a hilltop with trees and a house in the background in natural earth tones of greens and browns. SIZE: 25-1/2″ h x 50″ w. CONDITION: Good, rug is professionally mounted.” The estimated price for this one is $2,500 – $3,500.
I searched for the original Currier and Ives print of the same name, and while I can’t be sure this is the only one, the figures of the two pups are pretty similar, though reversed.
If this is the same print the rugmaker used, (and the more I look the more sure I am that it is) then the rest of the design of the rug was the maker’s own. I especially love the closely figured grassy hill the pups are playing on. And my guess is that she set the two puppies in her own yard, and that the house on the far right is the hooker’s own. A wonderful example of a rughooker adapting artwork she liked and then making a rug her own. I think copyrights were not an issue back then!
And here is another lovely rug from the same Aug. 17 James D. Julia auction – just to give the cat world a little equal time:
The description of this one, Lot 2366, is: FINE AMERICAN HOOKED RUG OF LIONESS AND HER CUB, Last quarter 19th century, Probably Edward Sands Frost, Biddeford, Maine. Believed to be a first pattern example of a lioness and her cub in a tropical setting with palm trees in the background within a red and black striped border. SIZE: 32″ h x 62″ l. CONDITION: Area of losses above haunch of lioness and additional holes in area of right foreleg and in lower right foreground facing. Colors remain vibrant. Otherwise structurally good. Estimated price is $400-$600.
Finally, again from the same Aug. 17 auction, is Lot 2484, which includes TWO AMERICAN HOOKED RUGS:
Description: 1st quarter 20th century. 1) Depicting a spaniel resting on a small checkerboard mat within an oval polychrome border and ground, framed by four black, brown, beige floral spandrels. 2) Depicting a pair of songbirds beneath floral boughs, each perched on a branch within an oval border of earth tones. SIZE: 1) 27″ h x 44-1/2″ l. 2) 21″ h x 33-1/2″ l. CONDITION: 1) Deterioration around edges and with light even soiling throughout. 2) Good pile, light soiling. Some bleeding to red dyes. Otherwise good. Estimated price is $250-$350.
You can look at (and bid on) all these rugs online, and photos are courtesy of the auction houses. W. A. Smith is online at www.wsmithauction.com, D. L. Straight is at www.dlstraightauctioneers.com, and James T. Julia is online at jamesdjulia.com.
So which rug do you like the best? Once you decide spontaneously, think about exactly why you like it. For me, as much as I adore both dogs and cats, I would pick the bird rug, the last one shown. Why? I like the birds, the design with the oval inside the square, and the little checkerboard figures at each top edge of the oval, and I like the darker lines outlining some parts of the birds, leaves and branches, and of course, (no surprise to anyone), I like the hit or miss outer border!