Reagan inauguration Reverend's collection offers rare art, antiques and books

An auction in Dedham, Massachussetts, is offering a single owner collection comprising fine art, antiques and rare books on March 24-25. The collection was amassed by the Reverend Peter J Gomes. 

Born in Boston, Gomes (1942-2011) is regarded by many as being one of the most distinguished Christian preachers in the history of the English-speaking pulpit. He was Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister of the Memorial Church at Harvard University.

Collecting was just one of many strings to Reverend Peter J Gomes's bow. He was also a pastor, professor, humanitarian, scholar, biblical interpreter and writer. Gomes also participated in the inaugurations of US presidents Ronald Reagan and George H Bush, and wrote a number of bestselling books.

Fine art highlights from the Reverend's collection include 19th century French artist Emile Munier's Girl with Kitten (pictured). The oil on canvas dates to circa 1878 and measures 24 x 20 inches. It is estimated at $20,000-40,000.

Emile Munier Girl with Kitten410.jpg
Emile Munier's Girl with Kitten, which dates to circa 1878

Meanwhile, the Reverend Peter J Gomes's extensive selection of American and European silver will offer a 19th century French Silver Coffee Service. The service was crafted by Alexandre-Auguste Turquet, and could bring $10,000-15,000.

Also for sale are a number of textiles and rugs. Most notable among these is a Second Phase Native American Chief's Blanket. The historic blanket originates to a Navajo tribe, circa 1870. It boasts great provenance, having once been in the collection of Irene Jewett Lunt, former restorer of Navajo Rugs for the Denver Art Museum. 

Measuring 4 x 5 feet, the blanket could sell for $6,000-9,000.

It is one of many rare collectibles which perfectly sum-up the Reverend's collecting ethos. As he once said:  "My theology is such, that I do believe that God is the author of beauty … This [collecting] is not the worship of the material.  This is using the gifts of God for the people of God."

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