It's hard to imagine a more apropos setting for one of the world’s most magnificent maritime art and antiques shops than a converted lighthouse on Cape Cod’s South Shore. This is exactly what you’ll find at Hyland Granby – a most unusual, 12,000sq ft store-cum-museum-cum-library sprawling across not only the whitewashed Hyannis Light, dating from 1849, but also a lighthouse keeper’s house and a magnificent barn filled with nautical artefacts from around the world.
Overlooking the Nantucket Sound, the home and workspace of collector-curator-scholars Janice Hyland and Alan Granby perfectly showcases their ever-changing display of rare objects. Gallery-like rooms feature a mix of the pair’s personal pieces – Wallace Nutting Windsor chairs, an astronomical telescope c1870 and James Parkes & Son beadwork tillers – with hundreds of artworks that are for sale.
One can spend hours meandering through the various spaces: simple white walls and Eagle Kazak rugs enhance the maritime collection that begins in the “drugstore room”, which features original cherrywood panelling from the Clough & Shackley Apothecary in Boston, and meanders into a nearby kitchen featuring a marble oyster bar salvaged from an old fish market. Such intriguing spaces house everything from Nantucket lightship baskets (set of eight nesting, $90,000) to vintage America’s Cup images ($300-$8,500), as well as early-20th-century photography by Beken of Cowes ($500-$7,500).
The highlights of nautical painting – racing scenes by James Buttersworth ($125,000-$750,000) and Continent by Liverpudlian artist Duncan McFarlane ($75,000) – hang next to works by China Trade artists, who were hired by sea captains to paint their vessels while abroad. Exquisite boxwood ship models, crafted by French prisoners of war for the British nobility, are coveted by billionaires and museums alike, while scrimshaw pieces, including a Susan’s Tooth (made by Nantucket whaler and master scrimshaw artist Frederick Myrick on board the whaling ship Susan), are nearly impossible to find elsewhere and serve as lasting examples of the fine art of whale bone carving.
Rounding out the exceptional offerings are a classical giltwood girandole mirror ($32,000), campaign furniture from China and India ($5,500-$15,000), ships’ figureheads, flags and sextants. A regulator clock by Edward Dent ($60,000) – “clockmaker to the Queen” and maker of Big Ben – as well as assorted ships’ clocks ($1,000-$50,000) are worthy investments. Of particular interest to Granby are marine watches with complex movements by Rolex, Patek Philippe and FP Journe ($5,000-$140,000), and the inventory here is constantly updated with unusual models.
“All the things we offer have a natural integrity,” explains Granby. “Not everything is signed or blue chip, but we do like to sell things that have a higher potential for investment.” No wonder then that the Hyannis Light is now a beacon for both maritime art collectors and scholars.