Northeast America, ca. 18th century. Iron, with wooden handle that appears to be oak or chestnut. A flintlock tinder lighter, or tinder pistol, typically made by gunsmiths, was a device that saw use in wealthy households from the 18th century until the invention of reliable matches. It somewhat resembled a small flintlock pistol, but without a barrel and with a candle holder and with legs so it could be stood upright. When the trigger was pulled, the sparks from the frizzen lit dry tinder in the pan, from which the candle would be quickly lit. The device provided a quick and reliable source of light, and flame for the lighting of fires. Acanthus-leaf engraving to the top. Side storage door intaglio stamped with the maker's name "WOOD(s)". The database of American gun makers shows Wood and Woods that worked in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania in the period of this tinder lighter's making. Excellent untouched condition. About 6 5/8 inches long. The candle cup retains an early tallow candle. Provenance: Private collection; Hollis Brodrick.
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.
New England, ca. 1835-1845. Oil on pressed board. Attributed to William Mathew Prior (1806-1873). Prior rendered a fun and outgoing likeness of a most confident, pleasant and fashionable blue-eyed teen/young man with straight hair ending in curls, his black coat and cravat revealing a fine yellow-patterned vest. The painting is bright and clear and appears to be in all original condition retaining its first over-varnish. No appearance of in-painting. Unobtrusive typical minor waviness to the board. Overall frame size about 19 inches tall x 14 1/2 wide; site size about 13 1/2 x 9 1/2. The period frame with cornerblocks is special and presents the painting exceptionally well. The frame bears the label of Montfort Coolidge (1888-1954) of Ogunquit, Maine, a famous artist and antiques dealer. See Artist and Visionary, William Mathew Prior Revealed, Fennimore Art Museum, for reference. A sensational example of Prior's work.
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.
New England, 18th century, 1740-1780. Mixed woods which appear to be maple, cherry, and mahogany with original rich, deep surface and color. Threaded post with adjustable chip-carved rail fitted with original iron candle holders above a scarce medial "table", perhaps to hold extra candles, wick trimmers, etc. All supported by a plinth with tripod raking legs. The carved screw mechanism allowed candles, and medial table, to be raised and lowered to just the right height to optimize precious candle light. In a very high state of originality. The screw mechanism continues to work smoothly. The underside of the medial table is beautifully tooled (see close up photo of its underside). About 32 inches total height. Ex-WADSWORTH ATHENEUM, Hartford (accession number painted on 26.522). PICTURED IN WALLACE NUTTING,1928, plate 1359. Provenance: Private New England collection; Hollis Broderick.
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.
Probably Connecticut, ca. 1870-1880. Oil on canvas. The proud owners/workers standing before the Shea and McCarthy Blacksmithing and Jobbing Shop joined with the C.S. Gamwell Carriage Shop. As with most folk art paintings of PRIDE in town or business, the artist has depicted an idealistic view, with no disrepair or debris, and has effectively used rich primary colors of blue in the sky with puffy white clouds contrasted against the reds of the clothing and carriages. The scene shows workers with tools; the blacksmith with leather apron. Of note is the ramp alongside the carriage shop which would allow carriages or wagons to be pulled to the second level for repair, perhaps providing access to the undersides. Excellent condition, cleaned with minor retouch. Original stretcher and likely original frame. Unlined except for tack-edges. Sight size about 30 inches x 22. Overall frame size about 34 x 27.