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More rugs! Never enough!

By August 3, 2017 Antique rugs 3 Comments

There are many more hooked rugs coming up for sale during this summertime auction season, and this may be the only time we get to look at them. First, let’s travel down to Texas, where Bright Star Antiques will be selling the floral rug, above, at their Aug. 26 auction in Sulphur Springs (9am, CST). The only description of it is: Lot 112: Early Floral Hooked Rug 26 1/2″ x 52″. No estimated price given.

What a happy rug! I’m not even sure why “happy” is my first impression of it, but that’s the way it is. Certainly, the bright colors help, and there is something about the way the little rosebuds are peeping up toward the center. And there is just enough oddity in the varied greens (from lime to mid-range to dark gray-green) around the outside border to add interest. Whenever I see “patchy” sections like this, I can’t help but wonder if this is by design, or if the hooker ran out of other greens, and just used what she had. I think the lovely effect this patchiness creates gives us (with our almost instant access to so many wools) reason to loosen up and let the wool go where it will.

Here is another sweet rug in the same Bright Star auction:

This one is Lot 111: Pa. Cottage Hooked Rug 28″ x 52″. No estimated price given. Somehow it got from Pennsylvania to Texas. No real shading, just a bit more of that patchiness on the roof and a bit in the trees, bushes and border. It could have been an early pattern – seems like I have seen a similar cottage rug before, but I’m not sure. It reminds me a lot of Grenfell Mission rugs from Labrador and Newfoundland, maybe because of the simplicity of the design, the outline around each of the design elements, and the lack of any real shading.

This dazzling primitive is going to be sold on Aug. 17 at the James D. Julia auction in Fairfield, Maine:

Another cottage, but so different than the other one! It is Lot 2347: FOLK ART HOOKED RUG OF A HOUSE. Description: First quarter 20th century, American. A folky hooked rug depicting a homestead under a starry moonlit sky in bright colors including reds, blues, greens and more. Also with earthy whites and beige’s. SIZE: 40″ h x 48″ w. CONDITION: Good. Estimated price is $3,000-$4,000.

It looks like it was hooked with yarn, just judging from the fine texture. There is something almost modern/cubist about this design, with the blocks in the background and the moon and stars block above the house. Wouldn’t you love to be able to talk with the person who made this?

And here is one rug that was sold on Aug. 1st, at the D. L. Straight auction in Sturbridge, Mass:

The pre-sale estimated price was $200-$400, but this sweet spaniel, sitting on his own hit or miss rug, was sold for $100.

And one more. This rug will be sold off today at Eldred’s Auction’s sale in East Dennis Mass, sometime soon after 10 am today:

Lot 915: PICTORIAL HOOKED RUG 29″ x 39″ Depicts a winter landscape with horse-drawn sled and rider, a cottage and distant mountains.
The estimate is $150-$250. It’s hard to know what the colors on this rug were originally – it has the look of wools that have faded quite a lot. If I were looking at it in person, I sure would want to turn it over and check the back side, the less faded side, to get a better idea.

As always, there are many design ideas to be found from the antiques on these sites – from stained glass windows, painted dressers, carved birds, weathervanes, pottery. And of course, from paintings, like this amazing one of our beloved U.S. Frigate “Constitution” that sold for about $13,000 at Eldred’s July 20th auction:

© Robert C. Eldred Co., Inc.

Painted by DEREK GEORGE MONTAGUE GARDNER English, 1914-2007. “U.S. Frigate ‘Constitution’ with the sloop ‘Hornet’ at sea 28 October 1812”. Signed lower right “Derek G.M. Gardner”.

All photos are courtesy of the auction houses, and many thanks to them for making their catalogs accessible to be copied and show here. Bright Star Antiques is online at brightstarantiques.com, James D. Julia is at jamesdjulia.com, D. L. Straight is online at www.dlstraightauctioneers.com, and Eldred’s is at eldreds.com.

I confess I have never been to a live auction, but what a treasure trove of lovely things – held in private possession, brought into the public for sale, and then likely disappearing again into a private collection.


  • jeni says:

    Auctions are fun if you don’t mind sitting for hours on end. I mind. Most important thing about auctions is to preview, preview, preview anything you might be interested it. For some mysterious reasons, when the auctioner holds up something you haven’t seen before (where was THAT hiding?) it always looks better than when you are holding it in your lap. HA! Still, there are treasures out there for a bargain price if you are willing to stick around until the end of the sale when most of the people have left.

    • mjanep says:

      So Jeni, how do you feel about these online auctions, particularly rugs? Do you feel you can reasonably tell enough by the photo to get a good idea of the state of the rug? I should add that a lot of times, the auction houses have additional photos – a close-up, and sometimes a photo of the back of the rug, which I do not include in the blog… but they are on the catalog site. Usually I think I can see which ones are pretty frayed, or look quite faded, but you really know about these things… do you ever buy things online without an in-person preview?

  • Mary Miller says:

    I particularly like the first rug in this grouping! Just my style. And I agree with your description of “happy”. That word just fits.
    I do nor understand the price variations of these rugs. Someone put their heart and soul into that puppy rug that sold for $100.00. Kind of sad but at least it was not sold as at a yard sale!

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