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Bradley, Edson

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 Bradley, Edson

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Edson Bradley (1852-1935) of New York, became a liquor millionaire, second vice-president of W.A. Gaines & Co., distillers of bourbon whiskeys including the famous brand ‘Old Crow’. The company’s New York branch was based at 60 Broadway.

Bradley was a regular client of Duveen, who bought, sold and stored items for him, including tapestries, Chinese ceramics and Tanagra figurines. Duveen’s records indicate Bradley’s interest in his collection, for example his search in February 1911 for two famille verte vases to complete a garniture of five, and his comment that he would look for these in May of that year in Duveen’s London house. In 1917 Duveen arranged a loan of four tapestries and a 16th century painted wood figure of St George and the Dragon in Bradley’s collection to the Metropolitan Museum, displayed in the Morgan Room until 1919.

Bradley had houses in Washington D.C. (1328 Connecticut Avenue in 1911), New York (998 Fifth Avenue in 1924, 154 East 70th Street in 1926), and Alexandria Bay (burnt down in 1922). He built a vast house called Seaview Terrace on Dupont Circle, Washington D.C.; in 1923 he had the castle dismantled and shipped to an oceanfront property on Ruggles Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island. The castle, later renamed Burnham-by-the-Sea, was lavishly furnished with tapestries, fine art and stained glass. His collection of Chinese ceramics comprised pottery and porcelain of the Ming dynasty and late 17th & 18th century, including fahua, famille verte, famille noire, famille rose, monochrome glazes, and porcelain decorated in underglaze blue and enamelled. There were numerous sales in New York and London between 1917-1952.

Sir William Burrell purchased two tapestries from Edson Bradley’s collection, 46_82, bought at Christie’s sale, 31 May 1934, lot 115: ‘Important panel of Gothic tapestry’, and 46_61, bought in 1936.

Manuscript sources
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Duveen Client Summary Books 1910-1959 (copy at the Getty Research Institute) and Duveen Bros. Records series IIE, Papers 1910-1965 [correspondence 1911-1926] (Getty Research Institute).

Published sources
Sales of Bradley’s Chinese porcelains include the following:
American Art Association, New York, 15-20 January 1917, ‘Antique Chinese porcelains’.
American Art Association, New York, 11-12 November 1927, ‘The private collection of a connoisseur’.
Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 14 December 1933, ‘First portion of the highly important collection of fine Chinese porcelain’.
Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 6 March 1934, ‘Collection of Italian textiles and the remaining Chinese porcelain’.
Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 6 December 1934, ‘Chinese, English and continental porcelain, English and French furniture, fine needlework and tapestry, Edson Bradley & others’.
Sotheby Parke Bernet Inc., New York, 24-25 October 1952, ‘Georgian and Chippendale furniture, Colonial maple and mahogany furniture, Chinese ceramics etc., assembled by the late Edson Bradley’. Removed from ‘Lynrose’, Roslyn, L.I. and sold by order of his daughter, Mrs John C. Fremont.

Collector, Edson Bradley

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