Appraisals & Curatorial Services
Authentication reports… Public speaking engagements… Research and book writing… Since 2002 James A. Craig has been performing these and other curatorial services for private art collectors, antiques dealers, and major public museums alike. These experiences have equipped him with the unique, holistic skill set that has made him the author of award-winning art history biographies and curator of blockbuster shows that have been covered by the New York Times. Whether you are a collector requiring the seasoned, unbiased eye of a true professional to identify the artist who crafted your painting or sculpture, a humble homeowner looking into the history of your home, or a world-class museum in need of a first-rate marine art historian, James A. Craig is available to administer to your needs at a fair, reasonable price.
Think you might own a Bellamy eagle?
Could that painting hanging over your fireplace really be a Fitz Henry Lane?
Want to be sure?
The Bellamy Eagle is one of the most desired and sought-after pieces of American folk art in the world today. Eagerly collected by museums and private individuals alike, Bellamy’s iconic carvings of America’s National Bird easily command top-dollar prices at auction.
The artwork of Fitz Henry Lane demands prices in excess of five million dollars at auction. As one of America’s all-time greatest marine artists, Lane’s paintings of harbors and sail-driven shifts are irreplaceable cultural artifacts documenting the American experience on the high seas.
Having spent over six years researching Bellamy’s artistic process and having studied hundreds of examples of his craftsmanship from every phase of his career, I find myself in the enviable position as the undisputed reigning authority on the work and life of John Haley Bellamy. And as the former Curator for Permanent Collections at the Cape Ann Museum––the world’s largest collection of paintings and sketches by Fitz Henry Lane––and the author on the new definitive biography on Mr. Lane, I am one of only a handful of individuals in the world today capable of providing truly knowledgeable in-depth analysis of Mr. Lane’s artwork.
Having worked with private collectors, auction houses, and several of America’s finest museums, I can draft anything from concise one-page letters of authentication to full reports evaluating and researching the provenance and fair market value of your piece, as well as authenticating whether or not it a carving or painting is indeed the handiwork of John Haley Bellamy or Fitz Henry Lane, respectively.
Modern-day copies, carvings crafted in Bellamy’s style by his contemporaries, and mass-produced wooden eagles abound in the antiques market today. Museums and collectors alike have unwittingly purchased Fitz Henry Lane forgeries in the past. Having a report authored by me increases the chances of your piece attaining a good price at auction, allowing potential buyers to purchase your piece with confidence.
Price: One page report $200.
(A simple, one page, non-illustrated notarized report attesting to whether or not the piece in question is indeed the work of John Haley Bellamy or Fitz Henry Lane, as attested to and signed by James A. Craig)
Full, in-depth report: $1,000.
(A complete, multiple-page, illustrated notarized report attesting to whether or not the piece in question is indeed the work of John Haley Bellamy or Fitz Henry Lane, complete with fair market value appraisal and a possible recounting of the objects provenance, as attested to and signed by James A. Craig.)
Verbal Report: Perfect for when you are looking to purchase a piece at auction and need to be certain as to its authenticity, I will visually inspect the object in question and inform you as to whether or not it is truly the handiwork of John Haley Bellamy or Fitz Henry Lane.
Price: $200. per object + .20¢ per mile after 30 miles, plus the cost of transportation and lodging if a visual inspection requires travel to a destination 100 miles beyond the Boston area.
House History Reports:
So just how long has your house been there, anyway? What historic personages once walked its halls and strode its grounds? Who built it? And did it always look the way it does today?
Whether you seek a simple report detailing the basic history of your house or a detailed, fully illustrated book that reveals the full past of your abode as far and as deep as the historic record allows, I am ready to plumb the depths of antiquity and tell you the tale of your home!
Cost: Inquire Within
Maybe you are a seasoned collector who is looking to dramatically increase the value of your collection. Perhaps you are a fine art gallery in need of popularizing an artist you represent. Or maybe you merely wish to have your finest pieces enshrined in a coffee table book for your personal enjoyment in the home.
Since 2005 I have been researching and authoring art-related books and essays for individual collectors and cultural institutions alike. From detailed biographies that explore an artist’s career in its entirety to richly illustrated “easy reads” that seek to acquaint the public with an artist’s body of work, my books can today be found in university and museum libraries around the world.
Yet when you hire me to pen a volume for you, you get more than just a manuscript. My services include actively seeking out a publisher for your book, developing a marketing plan that utilizes the PR and media contacts I have been fortunate to cultivate, and enlisting some of the finest art & architectural photographers in the business today to make your book idea become a reality. Whether intended for international distribution or merely as a holiday gift to a loved one, whether designed for a print run of 10,000 copies or as few as ten, no project is too big or small!
Cost: Inquire Within
Paul Revere silver... Paintings by Winslow Homer and Fitz Henry Lane... Sculpture by Walker Hancock and John Haley Bellamy... Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing desk…
As a curator I have had the good fortune to work with many an impressive artifact. Without a doubt, the single greatest joy I have is taking objects like these and telling their story; researching and displaying them in a way that was both edifying and aesthetically pleasing to the public. With a complete knowledge of the exhibition curating process (including the securing of loans, arranging for insurance valuations, object handling, lighting, artifact registration and condition reporting, gallery security, and label writing,) I am prepared to curate an exhibition for art dealer galleries and museums alike on a moment’s notice.
Cost: Inquire Within
Talks / Lectures:
You’ve made all the proper preparations. You found the perfect venue. You hired the perfect caterer. The RSVPs just keep coming in, and it looks like your event is going to be the smash hit of the season…
But did you remember to hire a guest speaker? Do you have someone ready at a moment’s notice to regale your audience with a fun yet informative presentation, one that is custom tailored to your cultural event and the audience’s interests?
From intimate tours to formal discussions on Americas most celebrated maritime artists, architectural history, marine archaeology, and my unique, award-winning methods for researching and writing art history, I am regularly called upon to discourse on a wide array of topics in an easy and engaging manner. My presentation venues include:
-Bus, Boat & Walking Tours
and Internet Appearances
Lectures and tours run for one-hour on average, and can come complete with digital slide presentations, and can involve book signings afterwards for no additional charge.*
Cost: $250. honorarium, + .20¢ per mile (venues within a 30 mile radius of Boston, MA exempt from mileage charge.)
*If a book signing is included in the event, the honorarium can be reduced by 50%, given certain circumstances. Inquire within.
A more intimate affair, book signings are designed specifically towards assisting book sellers actively vending any assortment of my titles. Book signings involve a twenty minute informal discussion and/or select readings from the book(s) being featured at the event, complete with Q & A session and signings of sold books.
Such events can include at no additional charge an on-the-spot verbal authentication of a (possible) Bellamy carving, or a Lane, Mellen, Smith, or Bradford painting with purchase of a book.
Cost: $50 honorarium, + .20¢ per mile (venues within a 30 mile radius of Boston, MA exempt from mileage charge.)
Representation at Auction / Curating of Collection:
Why entrust your collection to just anybody, when you can have a published authority on American maritime art working for you personally?
From researching and advising you in the pieces you may wish to acquire for your collection to actively representing you at auction, I am prepared to personally assist you in the building of your marine art collection “from stem to stern.” With over a decade of experience in the field I bring to the table both the methodology of a museum curator with the practical knowledge of a seasoned researcher, complete with personal connections to several of the leading antiques dealers and auction houses here in New England.
Cost: Inquire Within