PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF MARY, VISCOUNTESS ECCLES (LOTS 1016-1050)
Mary, Viscountess Eccles (1912-2003) was a world-renowned bibliophile, described in the Daily Telegraph as 'one of the great American collectors of the last century, combining wealth, scholarship, and sensibility in a way that became rare to the point of extinction in her lifetime'.
Mary Morley Crapo was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1912. The Crapo family came from New Bedford, Massachusetts, descended from the legendary Peter or Pierre, the only survivor of a ship from Bordeaux, wrecked on Cape Cod in 1680. Most of the family went in for whaling, the great New Bedford industry, but Mary's great-grandfather Henry Howland Crapo moved to Michigan in the 1850's, and did well, eventually becoming governor. His son Stanford Tappan Crapo grew up in Michigan and prospered too. He married Emma Caroline Morley, and Mary was their last child. She grew up on the family farm, and her father taught her to read Shakespeare, sitting on a haystack. From these beginnings she went on to Vassar College from which she graduated in 1934. She continued to study as a graduate student , and it is this that led her passion for the Elizabethan Dramatists.
Over a fruitful and dedicated sixty years of collecting, Lady Eccles assembled at Four Oaks Farm in Somerville, New Jersey, an exceptional and rarified private library. While this is justly celebrated and was undoubtedly her principal focus of interest, Lady Eccles also collected eighteenth-century British pictures and a wide variety of furniture and decorative arts. The following lots are from Lady Eccles' Sutton Place residence in New York City.