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Featured Property: The Bruce McCashin Collection

Bruce E. McCashin was born in Green’s Farms, Connecticut - the oldest neighborhood in Westport - to prominent equestrians Arthur J. McCashin (1952 Olympic bronze medalist) and his wife Helen Wolcott née Bedford (ex-Master of Foxhounds of the Fairfield County Hounds). His early years were spent along the Gold Coast, and later Far Hills, New Jersey, enjoying the fruits of high society.

The Bedford family emigrated from London to Brooklyn in 1848, and shortly thereafter, Frederick Thomas Bedford, Sr. (1823-1904) invested in farmland in Westport to grow onions. During the 1850s, onions were in great demand in New York City and also became an important crop in the 1860s at the onset of the Civil War as they were used to treat wounds.

Edward Thomas “E. T.” Bedford (1849-1931), Bruce McCashin’s great-grandfather, was born in 1849 in Green’s Farms and attended Brooklyn Academy, where he met Robert Cheesebrough. Bedford assisted Cheesebrough to develop and sell a petroleum byproduct known today as Vaseline. Bedford also met John D. Rockefeller while living in Brooklyn, and after working as a salesman offering oil-related products, he became a Partner and Director at Standard Oil. After leaving the oil business, Bedford formed Corn Products Company from the New York Glucose Trust he had acquired. Their products included Karo, Mazola, Skippy and Hellmann's.

McCashin attended The Lawrenceville School, then colleges in the United States and France before attending Yale University in his early 30s. He acquired his first antique at age eleven, but the catalyst to his serious pursuit of collecting was his education at Yale and time spent at the Yale Center for British Art under Duncan Robinson. McCashin also studied under some of the most renowned scholars and art historians, including Vincent Scully, one of the most influential and respected architectural historians, and William Kelly Simpson, professor of Egyptology and Curator of Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Following his time at Yale, McCashin set out on multiple modern “Grand Tours”, traveling twice to Egypt in as many years and throughout Europe, acquiring pieces along the way. London, where he had a residence, was also a frequent destination, and he became a regular client at the most venerable shops and galleries. While in England, Bruce tracked down pieces once owned by the Bedfords.

Each piece of furniture acquired by McCashin was evaluated and meticulously restored by William J. Cook & Sons in England, whose clients include the Royal Family, museums and leading collectors. The Cooks also advised McCashin while he searched for each piece.  

McCashin’s collection demonstrates his eye for the exceptional and unique while focusing on 18th- through early 20th-century English antiques and fine art. As he grew up amongst a family dedicated to country pursuits and sports, many paintings in the collection feature sporting scenes, animals and rolling landscapes. His collecting sensibilities grew out of his parents’ interests and a tradition of American families of strong English heritage acquiring English antiques. The influence of the great collectors and patrons of the arts that he grew up surrounded by is evident in his impressive collection.

New Orleans Auction Galleries is honored to offer fine art, antiques, silver and more from the Collection of Bruce McCashin.

Browse the October 12-13 Estates Auction catalogue HERE

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