From the late 18th to the mid-19th centuries, the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing or the Shakers, as they were better known, attracted as many as 20,000 to their monastic, celibate way of life. These days, they’re more likely to be known for the stern simplicity and beauty of the furniture they created. Next month in Marshfield, Massachusetts, Willis Henry Auctions will offer a particularly distinguished collection of their work, assembled over some 50 years by the McCue family. The sale’s star is likely to be a trestle table, dating from 1820-1840, that’s expected to sell for $70,000-$90,000.
Much of the McCue collection, which will be sold on September 8, has been exhibited at The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Smithsonian Institution, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Among the items of unusual interest are a rare desk produced in 1861 by Alfred Merrick Collier (est. $20,000-$30,000), a birch and pine work table, circa 1830-1840 (est. $15,000-$20,000), and a sister’s sewing desk of maple, birch and pine, created circa 1840-1850 in Sabbathday Lake, Maine (est. $30,000-$40,000).