Painting by Richard Clague Jr., Portrait of Zachary Taylor will Headline at Stevens Auction May 11th

Stevens Auction Company’s annual Spring Multi-Estate Auction was originally planned for April 27th, but auctioneer and auction house owner Dwight Stevens was so busy getting elected mayor of Aberdeen (and in the process unseating a longtime incumbent), the sale date had to be pushed ahead to Saturday, May 11th, starting promptly at 11 am Central time.

It will be well worth the wait, as just over 400 lots comprising the contents of several prominent estates from across the South will come up for bid, led by a vibrant figural landscape painting by renowned New Orleans artist Richard Clague, Jr. (1821-1873) and what is believed to be the last portrait painting President Zachary Taylor sat for prior to his death in office from cancer in 1850.

The auction will be held live in Stevens Auction Company’s new gallery facility in downtown Aberdeen, at 129 East Commerce Street, as well as online via Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. An open house preview will be held at the gallery on Friday, May 10th, from 10 am-6 pm Central time. Doors will open to the public on auction day at 10 am.

The painting signed by Richard Clague, Jr. is an 1862 oil on cradled wood panel titled Hunter and Fisherman, Louisiana Countryside. It measures 18 inches by 22 inches (sight) and is nicely housed in a 28 ½ inch by 33 inch period gilt frame. Clague studied with Earnest Herbert and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. The painting carries a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-$100,000.

Clague’s obituary in the New Orleans Bee stated: “Mr. Clague has stood at the head of his profession in this state and his works have always been highly regarded by connoisseurs in New York as well as here.” Clague’s paintings are avidly collected by private individuals and museums, the latter of which house many important examples of his portraits and landscapes.

The 19th century oil on canvas portrait of Zachary Taylor is after the 1847 Battle of Buena Vista lithograph titled Gen. Z. Taylor Rough and Ready, according to the Smithsonian Institute. The painting was given to William Dudley Talley from Taylor himself, to solve a debt. It has remained in the Talley family all these years and has an estimate of $4,000-$8,000.

Zachary Taylor died in 1850, just ten months after assuming the Presidency after a bout with stomach cancer. He appears gaunt and thin in the portrait, not stout and robust as in previous portraits, a fact that gave rise to the belief that he was close to death during the sitting. The portrait is oval in the frame, with a square canvas size of 30 inches by 25 inches (minus frame).

Many of the other items in the auction are from a well-known estate in the Historic District of Decatur, Alabama. There are also many large and impressive items from a magnificent estate just south of Baton Rouge, La.; as well as select pieces from other from prominent estates in Aberdeen, Miss; Memphis, Tenn.; Columbus, Miss.; Lexington, Ky. and the Mississippi Delta.

Each of these estates contain beautiful antiques and pieces of Southern finery that include handmade Persian rugs, premier artworks from the 19th century to the present day, antique lighting, porcelain, cast iron garden items, primitives, bronze statues, antique mirrors, china, half and full tester beds, clocks, statuary and hundreds of other items too numerous to list.

Period furniture will be highlighted by a magnificent, heavily carved R. J. Horner dining table with carved band and figural angels for support and three 20-inch leaves (est. $7,000-$10,000); companion to that a heavily carved set of 12 dining chairs, two of them arm chairs, in excellent condition with paisley upholstery (est. $4,000-$8,000); and a pierce carved Meeks side chair in the Henry Ford pattern with laminated black and yellow velvet upholstery (est. $400-$800).

There are three very old oil on canvas religious pre-Crucifixion scenes of Jesus, all measuring 86 inches by 59 inches and each expected to sell for $5,000-$10,000. One depicts Jesus being judged before being placed on the cross; another is a scene of Jesus being carried into temple by Roman soldiers to be judged by a priest; and the third depicts Jesus being nailed to the cross by three peasants and two Roman soldiers. All three works are in antique gold gilded frames.

Wonderful decorative accessories are plentiful, to include a pair of early wood blackamoors, electrified and restored, with beautiful gold gilt paint, each one 81 ½ inches tall (est. $5,000-$10,000); a gorgeous, heavily carved rococo wall mirror in a gold gilded frame, 70 inches tall by 49 inches wide (est. $2,000-$4,000); and a colorful handmade Persian rug, signed in multiple places and measuring a palace-sized 9 feet 7 inches by 12 feet 10 inches (est. $1,500-$2,500).

A four-piece solid mahogany bedroom suite consisting of a full-size high-back bed with carved headboard, a dresser, washstand and chest is expected to bring $3,500-$4,500; while a mahogany plantation full tester bed with a carved headboard and pierce carved gallery around the top, 103 inches tall by 71 ½ inches long by 63 inches wide, carries a pre-sale estimate of $4,000-$8,000.

Lamps and lighting will feature a magnificent 35-light bronze chandelier with gold gilt and crystal prisms, 39 inches tall by 44 inches wide (est. $2,500-$5,000); a large, bronze 35-light chandelier with cut crystal prisms, 42 inches tall by 54 inches wide (est. $2,000-$4,000); a bronze porch light with etched glass globes, much like the ones seen in the White House in Washington, D.C., 39 inches tall (est. $1,500-$3,000); and a lovely Gone With the Wind lamp with maroon shades and hand-painted white and pink flowers, 28 inches tall (est. $400-$800).

New pictures are continually being added to the Stevens website (, so interested parties are encouraged to check back often for new additions and further information.

Terms of payment are all major credit cards or pre-approved business or personal checks (with proper ID), or wire transfer. A 15 percent buyer’s premium will be applied to all purchases, with an extra 3 percent processing fee for credit cards. A sales tax will be charged as well, except for those bidders with a valid state resale number. Light refreshments will be served on auction day.