Michael Howard Theater Collection to auction in Boston


The Theater Collection of US actor and theatre director Michael Howard is coming up for auction next month.

The October 6 sale in Boston will feature a vast array of theatrical material collected by Howard over the course of 60 years.

Michael Howard Theater Collection
This c.1690 French needlework sampler of the Commedia dell’Arte could make $6,000

Highlights will include a c.1690 French needlework sampler of the Italian form of masked theatre known as the Commedia dell'Arte, valued at $6,000, while a late 19th century Thomas Hicks painting of Edwin Booth playing his famous role of Iago from Shakespeare's Othello is valued similarly.

A portrait of David Garrick, produced by Joseph Blackburn in the 18th century, is expected to achieve up to $2,500, and a 1798 needlework sampler featuring Shakespearean verse has a $1,500 high estimate.

There are also opportunities at the lower end of the market, with a Victorian Staffordshire, UK pottery figure of Shakespeare from the mid-19th century expected to sell for between $200 and $250.

"I think collecting is somewhere in my DNA," says Howard, a driving force behind the off-Broadway movement of the 1950s.

"Throughout my adult life, my collection focused on actors, acting, and the history of both.

"Like many other collectors, I recognise profoundly that I have been a caretaker of these objects large and small; my private pleasure is in restoring, repairing and museum matting as many as I can - no matter their significance. I hope another will find as much joy in them as I have."

Theatre memorabilia, with notable exceptions such as Shakespeare's folios, is generally more attractively priced than leading items from the big screen, where Oscars can sell for in excess of $1m.

As such, there are more opportunities for collectors of all budgets to become involved.

Today we are delighted to offer an autographed photograph of Laurence Olivier, a man who reigned in both mediums.

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