The Antonio and Liliane Mariani Collection of Continental & English Furniture & Decorative Arts at Auction at Bonhams & Butterfields in November

  • SAN FRANCISCO, California
  • /
  • October 28, 2009

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The November 2 sale, Part II of the Mariani Collection, brings many rare and impressive pieces to auction.
Bonhams & Butterfields

More than 400 lots of superb English, French and Italian furniture and decorative arts from the collections of the late Antonio Mariani and his wife Liliane Mariani, owners of the well-respected firm Antonio's Antiques, come to auction in Bonhams & Butterfields' San Francisco salesrooms on November 2, 2009. The auction and pre-sale viewing (on Oct. 30-Nov. 2) will coincide with the popular San Francisco Fall Antiques Show and strong international collector interest is expected.

Antonio's Antiques was established in San Francisco by the Marianis more than four decades ago and boasts a "Who's Who" of clients. Collectors, designers, connoisseurs, museum curators and novices alike flocked to Antonio's Antiques from around the world. The November sale, Part II of the Mariani Collection, brings many rare and impressive pieces to auction and follows the successful March 2009 sale of Part I. [see the press release: The Antonio and Liliane Mariani Collection Draws Spirited International Bidding at].

According to Bonhams & Butterfields Vice President and Furniture Dept. Director Jeffrey Smith, "Antonio's Antiques maintained one of the largest and most desirable inventories of European antiques in the world. It was no small fete to manage a lifetime of collecting and Bonhams is delighted to assist the firm. We were impressed with the outpouring of warmth from family friends, collectors and other dealers, expressed when Part I of the collection was sold in March. This Fall auction, featuring property never-before publically offered, should bring bids from all over the world."

A fine pair of late 18th century Louis XVI polychrome decorated doors and door surrounds from Provence could bring $12/18,000. The doors and overdoor panel stand more than 11-feet high and nearly eight-feet wide. Jeffrey Smith described the doors as similar to a pair within the collection of the Musee Massena in Nice, once the residence of one of Napoleon's marshals.

A fine 18th century Louis XVI giltwood barometer beautifully carved with rams' heads and standing nearly three-feet high could bring $4,000-6,000. A pair of 19th century Louis XVI style marble and gilt bronze six-light candelabra, after François Boucher, are estimated at $7/9,000.

English highlights include a very unusual circa 1770 George III mahogany and walnut collectors' cabinet. Standing just over seven-feet high, the cabinet is expected to bring $6,000-8,000. A superb Queen Anne burl walnut bureau bookcase, early 18th century, is in remarkable condition (est. $10/15,000) and a rare pair of Victorian brass-mounted mahogany campaign chests, designed in the mid 19th century to accompany an English officer while stationed in the colonies, is included (est. $8/12,000). A large and important German blue painted and parcel gilt pier mirror, second quarter 18th century, could bring $15/20,000.

Antonio's was known for its remarkable collection of important and rare Italian furniture – said to be Antonio's "passion." This sale will offer collectors the opportunity to own some of these important pieces, such as: a monumental Italian Baroque lacquered and arte povera tall case clock built in Genoa early in the 18th century, decorated with depictions of coastal scenes of Venice, Calabria and Naples (est. $8/12,000); a massive pair of important 18th century Venetian parcel gilt and cut glass torcheres (est. $10/15,000); a set of twelve Italian Baroque walnut chairs formerly in use at Patrizia Veneziana (est. $15/25,000); as well as a rare Roman Neoclassical parquetry and gilt bronze mounted cylinder desk (est. $18/25,000).

A fine early 19th century Russian Neoclassical gilt bronze and cobalt blue glass lantern (est. $8/12,000), a Russian Neoclassical inlaid figured birch desk (est. $3/5,000) and a pair of Russian Neoclassical style brass inlaid mahogany and leather upholstered armchairs should interest bidders.

Among the many examples of fine 17th and 18th century tea caddies, caskets and traveling boxes, clients will find an unusual example of an 18th century traveling box mounted with tortoiseshell and made in Guadalajara.

The auction will also include Asian works of art, including a pair of Meji Period Japanese cloisonné enamel dishes with bird and maple leaf designs, Chinese Imari bowls with ormolu mounts, and a pair of late Qing/Republic Period Chinese polychrome and black lacquered door cabinets estimated at $4,000 to $6,000.

Fine art includes multiple Flemish, English and Dutch School paintings with harbor scenes, landscapes and portraits, estimates ranging from several hundred to several thousands of dollars.

The auction's illustrated catalog will be available for review and purchase online, please visit: Public previews of the offered lots open on October 30th, continuing daily until sale day.

Press Contact: Levi Morgan,, 415-53-3348


Antonio Mariani / Antonio's Antiques
Antonio Mariani first arrived in San Francisco from Italy in the late 1950s. He was 20-years old and had, since the age of five, been trained in restoring antiques by his father, a cabinetmaker who ran a shop in the small Southern Italian town of Taranto. Mr. Mariani, who passed away in 2007, first worked as a restorer at the de Young Museum and soon established his own restoration business in San Francisco. Early in his career, the daughter of winemaker Julio Gallo commissioned him to refurnish the Gallo estate with period antiques.

Within a short time Antonio began a meteoritic rise to become one of the most respected antique dealers and restorers in the world and an irreplaceable part of San Francisco's creative community. Liliane and Antonio traveled extensively throughout the world personally finding wonderful examples of period furnishings and were seen together bidding at the major international auction houses as well as the regional auction houses in Europe and the United States. Italian furniture and decorative arts were always their true passion but they were equally excited by other European decorative arts and the Italian examples stood side by side with great French, English and Continental pieces in their collection. By the late 1960s they were employing some of the most talented restorers, glass blowers, gilders, master carvers, textile restorers and conservators.

By the mid-1980s, Antonio's Antiques maintained a multi-million dollar inventory and a stellar client list, with multiple locations in the city. The San Francisco Chronicle's "Social Scene" column on February 2, 1985 was dedicated to reporting on the launch party for Antonio's new three-story Bryant Street warehouse. Reporter Pat Steger made special notes on the attendance of Clint Eastwood and Sandra Locke -- they arrived in San Francisco via private jet and were one of the last couples to leave the stylish event.

About Bonhams

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America and in August 2003, Goodmans, a leading Australian fine art and antiques auctioneer with salerooms in Sydney, joined the Bonhams Group of Companies. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further seven throughout the UK. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Boston in the USA; and Switzerland, France, Monaco, Australia, Hong Kong and Dubai. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 57 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, go to (01-08) For other press releases, go to

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