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A GREAT RARITY IN EARLY AMERICAN LIGHTING
New England, ca. 1800. ONE-OF-A-KIND. SOULFUL. OF REMARKABLE FORM AND ORIGINALITY HAVING NOT BEEN ON THE MARKET IN AT LEAST 40 YEARS. Ash and pine. Wooden-peg and cut-nail joinery. Vent holes form the initials 'L' and 'M', likely for whom the lantern was made. The design has a compelling folk art presence with a whimsical sideward bias: two side walls vertical, the others angled toward them. Unified by a dry red-painted surface resulting from more than two centuries of handling and exposure. The character is augmented by thin, wavy glass with expected pronounced distortions, held in place by un-headed cut nails. A small leather-hinged door provides access to the interior, its diminutive opening limiting a smaller hand to pass through, perhaps that of the lady 'LM'. The leather hinges are remarkable in their own-right, well worn yet undisturbed, and encrusted with paint and grunge. The carved turnbuckle is also original. The door opens to the first wrought iron candle socket, which pierces the lantern bottom and is held in place by a wooden wedge. It is significant that the original socket remains, as many lanterns had it replaced due to deterioration from heat and from candles being pushed in and stubs pried out. It also suggests, combined with the presence of the first leather-hinges, that this lantern had limited use in period, probably not an everyday object but rather withheld for special times. Eye-catching verticality and presence as it stands about 15 1/2 inches tall not including the wire hanger; base dimensions about 6 inches x 6 1/2.....Comparable painted treen lanterns are exceedingly rare. See lot 264, Weld Collection, Skinner Auction, August 13, 2000 for comparison. For the advanced collector pursuing the best. .
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