New England, ca. 1820-1840. Maple or sycamore and white pine with original rich polychrome paint decoration and thin over-varnish. Its precise swallow-tail fingers and overall fine quality construction make it comparable to examples made by the Shakers. If Shaker made, it would have been sold unpainted then decorated in the "outside world" by a non-Shaker. The painted decoration is superbly rendered by a highly accomplished ornamental painter with a mastery of both brush and design. The decoration is related to those seen on select paint decorated tinware and chair-rails of the period. Small boxes like these with elaborate decoration were likely "not purposeful", i.e., not for pantry use, rather gifted as an expression of affection. If used at all it was likely for jewelry or other small valuables. This rare and beautiful box survives in a remarkable state of preservation with an untouched surface. Amongst the finest paint decorated bentwood boxes known. Diameter about 4 3/8 inches x 2 tall. See American Fancy, Exuberance in the Arts, 1790-1840, Sumpter Priddy, for reference.
Probably Maryland. Signed and dated in pencil, upper right back of frame "William W. Kennedy/1854". Oil on artist board. Exhibiting unusually fluid brushwork, this important signed and dated portrait is a superior example of Kennedy's artistry, illustrating an especially attractive young woman. It rises above his more formulaic, symbolic likenesses and is painterly and spontaneous while portraying a quiet confidence. Note the background flowers, a feature associated with Kennedy. In a superb state of preservation; mint condition. The original frame was expertly re-veneered. Painting size about 17 inches x 13 3/4. Frame 20 3/4 x 17 3/4. Kennedy (1818-after 1870) was a native of New Hampshire and itinerant member of the Prior-Hamblin school of painters. He painted in New Bedford, MA in 1845; Ledyard, CT in 1846; and Berwick, ME in 1847. By 1850 he had moved to Baltimore, MD where he lived just a few doors away from William Matthew Prior. Provenance: "Important Americana" Sotheby's, February 1, 1986, lot 434. Collection of folk art historians and authors' "Mr. and Mrs Howard Fertig", Livingston, NJ. Exhibited: "The Fertig Collection of Folk Art" The Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ, 1991.
Originally found in a tavern in Epsom, New Hampshire (between Concord and Portsmouth). Ca. 18th century. Original patinated, very dry green paint on a shaped-pine backboard, with wrought-iron candlearm and cast iron candlecups. The removable candlecups pressure-fit within openings at the ends of the candlearm. Rare, possible unique form. Backboard about 12 inches tall; 10 inches between the outside edges of the candlecups.
Seeking special examples of 18th/19th century woodenware in original paint. Please email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 585-385-9002.
Probably Coastal New England, ca. early 19th century (possibly late 18th). Carved and engraved horn with pine plug. Profusely decorated with vignettes of places the sailor had seen (real or imagined) during his journeys. The horn is centered with the patriotic American eagle and shield, with E PLURIBUS UNUM trumpeted from the eagle's mouth within ribbon. Pictorial engravings include: grand three masted ship (likely the ship the carver sailed on for months or years), mariner's compass, NAPTUN, a trumpeter riding a half horse/fish, conjoined hearts, a magnificent estate with fish weathervane and musketed guards, table fitted with food and wine, a hunter, and more. Overall length about 12 inches. Excellent condition.
Likely Massachusetts, dated 1790, signed "Rhoderick Morley". Watercolor and ink on laid paper. Found years ago in an early desk with family papers in Massachusetts. Beautifully illustrated, likely school-boy created, with one well dressed gentleman firing a flintlock pistol, the other brandishing a sword, flanking multiple phrases possibly connected to healing political or social divisions still strong due to the Revolution and suggesting how one should live and act. One expression prominently at the top center "Let union and peace make discord cease" not only would seem to relate to the recently ended Revolutionary War, it is also an expression that was used by the Mayflower Society. Another phrase: "The wicked they must be dealt with in a more severe manner" might explain the sword and pistol. Paper size 14 3/8 x 11 3/4 inches. Frame size about 18 3/4 x 16 1/4. Condition strong with unobtrusive folds and minor losses..
Probably coastal New England, ca. 1870's. Oil on canvas. Attributed to Jurgan Frederick Huge (1809-1878). Huge was born in Hamburg yet by 1830 was a store owner in Bridgeport, CT. He was noted for ship paintings while incorporating vignettes of people and carriages, fanciful castles, and other fine details. This work boldly portrays a ship at risk on the rocks, watched closely by a couple standing precariously on the cliff, with more people/carriages/horses further within the scene. In sensational condition, housed in an early ripple gilded frame. The vertical format with frame dimensions of about 25 inches wide x 32 tall works well to decorate challenging narrow wall spaces. For reference: See Young America, A Folk Art History. Lipman/Warren/Bishop for good information about Huge including the cover painting. Provenance: Private collection; The Hill Gallery at the Philadelphia Antique Show, 2001.
Hingham, MA, ca 1820-1830. In original red paint with original thin over-varnish with pine top and bottom and maple side wall with opposing fingers. Beautifully, professionally inscribed in mustard paint (and possibly bronze powder) "Hannah Kelley", the receiver of this gift box. And near the bottom a delightful feature I have not seen painted on the outside of a box, the signature “WYTHB”, followed by “pinx” (Latin for "painted by"). Intaglio stamped under the base by the box maker “E. Burr”, for Elisha Burr (1776-1863). Burr was a cooper from the famous makers in Hingham, operating a small, handcraft shop on Leavitt Street as did his father. I don’t recall ever offering a painted box in which we know all of: where it was made; for whom it was painted; and who the box maker and artist were, making this piece not only a superb collection piece but also historically significant. With all of this information to start with research would likely reveal more about Hannah and the artist. . Joinery by cut nails. Condition is excellent. About 6 3/4 inches long x 5 wide x 2 5/8 tall. See Derin Bray: BUCKET TOWN, Woodenware and Wooden Toys of Hingham, Massachusetts for reference..
Northeast America, ca 1825-1850. Watercolor on woven paper. Brilliant, saturated colors. The artist rendered the scene in painstaking detail, filled with thousands of tiny little brush-strokes. The young child collects blue flowers along a stream in her gathering basket, likely to enliven the tiny house in the background, or perhaps for a larger home implied by the sturdy gate. A peaceful yet unusually bold colorful image. The gilt frame (with dusting wear at the bottom) may be original. Overall frame size about 20 inches x 16 5/8.
Probably New England, ca. early 19th century. Pine with cut nail joinery. Retains early slate-blue paint. Given its wear from frequent use, likely held everyday items such as candles or spills. Appealing design with pierced loop topping the backboard for hanging.. The front rail has unusual corner notches which may have functioned to hold back long items such as candles or clay pipes. May rest on a flat surface or hang. Dimensions about 11 ¼ inches wide x 9 tall.