America, ca. 1790-1830. Cow horn, brass, wood, and polychrome inks. May have been used for ladling, or perhaps a presentation piece. Profusely engraved with symbols of the freemasons, including the beehive (industriousness), thistles, sun and moon (opposites), VIDE AVDI TACE (know dare, and vow of silence/keep the secret), key (abstain from slander and defamation), rooster (faith, hope, charity) and many more. Below the "all seeing eye" are American flags supported by the bee skep, suggesting that America works hard for the benefit of all. Engraved over the surface of a large segment of cow horn, then filled with inks to provide contrast. The "beaker" is capped by a beautiful 3/4 inch tall BRASS collar with carved-toothed lower edge, note the strong patina to the brass. The collar is fitted with a ferrule that holds a hardwood turned handle, terminating with a brass finial. Stands about 5 inches tall, and including the handle is about 10 inches in length. Condition is superb. Happy to send hi res images.
Active 1830-1831, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire. Confidently attributed to the "Puffy Sleeve Artist" whose works are recognized as a pinnacle of American folk art silhouette making. Hollow-cut watercolor on paper over black-fabric backing of an handsome young man holding a QUILL PEN. The inclusion of the quill pen is a most powerful and fascinating feature, as it represents the gentleman's pride of having writing skill in this period when many had little education, and also symbolizes the pen being mightier than the sword. The work is further distinguished by a brightly colored vest and HEART-SHAPED PIN, and the gray pants are an appealing departure from the typical black. Note the wispy hands, and other fine details including buttons at the cuff. Untouched excellent condition. The brass frame appears original, measuring about 5 1/2 inches tall x 4 3/4 wide. See "A Loving Likeness, American Folk Portraits of the Nineteenth Century", original and supplement, for an excellent resource for other examples by the Puffy Sleeve Artist.
New England, ca. 1800-1820. Love this! Mustard and black paint on pine. Only the third lettered sign of this form and early period that I have owned. Pit-sawn back with picture frame molding attached by cut nails. Note the 'long S' in Dress-maker that transitioned to the "S" as we know it after ca. 1800. The comma after the name, and the period at the end of dressmaker are also early conventions. Note how BEAUTIFULLY formed and flowing the lettering was rendered, indicating a very skilled sign painter. Exceptional paint condition with expected craquelure. Structurally sound with inconsequential losses at lower left of the molding resulting from the nailing on of the original cut nails. Small size has flexibilty to be put most anywhere: About 32 inches wide x 13 1/2 tall by 2 at the molding. My other two signs of this form were from NH, this may be as well. Simple. Elegant. Soul-full.
Northeast, ca. 3rd quarter, 19th century. Original paint on mixed woods. Rich red color with mustard and black pinstriping and a flower on the back splat. A most desirable dry paint with complex surface. Made for a small child and/or doll. Note the size: seat height of just 5 inches, height to top of bowback of 14 5/8 inches. Great condition. Nice!
Northeast America, ca. 1830-1840. Watercolor and graphite on paper surmounted by a stuffed-velvet cushion. A sweet and remarkable survival, at just TWO (2) inches on each side, this delicate utilitarian pin cushion is elevated to art by paintings on each side-panel probably representing things important to the artist's life. One panel has a young gentleman, perhaps the artist's husband (or self-representation if gifted), another with a basket of fruit similar to theorems of the period, a third panel intruguingly depicts a water snake (symbolism?) and the final panel a bird on its nest. Sensational and excellent condition. .
Northeast America, ca. 1865. This important historical "document" ironically in the form of a utilitarian potholder was likely crafted by a freed slave, or a Northern sympathizer, soon after President Lincoln signed a Joint Resolution submitting the 13th Amendment to the states in 1865. The imagery of the jubilant dancing couple symbolizes slaves coming together rather than being torn apart and sold. This imagery debuted in abolitionist antebellum times when the focus was on the potential of slave liberation rather than the harsh reality of slave's lives, and during the Civil War was employed by Union women on pot holders to sell and raise money for bandages, food and other supplies for Union troops. Pre-13th Amendment dancing-couple images were accompanied by the expression "Any holder but a slaveholder". We's Free reflects that key moment in history when the hope of being free was transformed into reality. What further elevates this little potholder to importance is that it was a personal, hand-made work, not a manufactured piece, and by the fabric wear, indicating that the pot holder was not just for celebration yet also lived with as a recurring spirit lifter. About 6 inches square. A double-sided framing would protect the fabric and enable viewing on both sides..
Dated 1805. Berks County, Pennsylvania. Watercolor on laid paper. Beautifully composed, colors remain bright and saturated. Information with the fraktur reads "These two married people, Mr. Joseph Moffly and his wife Elizabeth, ne'e Myer, is a son born named Samuel, in the year of our Lord Jesus 1789, the 8th of December at 8 o'clock in the evening in the sign of Virgo. This Samuel was born and baptised in America in the State of Pennsylvania, in Berks County in Retschland Township. Samuel was baptised the 4th of April, 1790 by Herrn Mack. The Witnesses were Johan Hofman and his wife AJnamargeta. Made by Samuel Moffly in 1805". Frame is not period. Frame size about 20 3/8 inches x 17 1/2. Sight size about 16 1/4 inches x 13 1/2. Condition very good with minor repairs. Crease lines unobtrusively visible from folding, yet it was likely being folded for generations that has enabled its colors to remain strong.
Lancaster County, PA, ca. 1800-1840. OF JUST THREE DOZEN DOME TOP BOXES ATTRIBUTED TO THE COMPASS ARTIST, THIS BOX IS THE SMALLEST AT UNDER FOUR INCHES. Poplar and perhaps pine. Dovetailed case. Tiny cut nails attach the base and hand-planed lid. Decorations laid out and scribed by compass before painting. Distinctive tinned sheet iron hinges, and punchwork-decorated escutcheon plate and fan-shaped hasp are characteristic of this maker and original. Painted with a Prussian blue ground, the scribe lines highlighted with white or red paint, inner petals filled with red, and outer lobes profusely stippled with red dots. About 3.75 inches high by 3.75 wide by 2.75 deep. Untouched condition. See The Compass Artist of Lancaster County Pennsylvania, Wendy Cooper et al., American Furniture, Beckerdite, 2009, pp 62-87 for an extensive discussion of Compass Boxes. Similar boxes are in Wintherthur and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and in some of the finest folk art collections.
New England, likely Massachusetts (Hingham area) or New Hampshire, ca. 1800-1825 (War of 1812 era). Appears to be pine top and bottom and perhaps ash as the band. Intaglio stamped JR, the maker, possibly for "John Ripley" a second generation cooper working in Hingham who used the stamp JR. Paint initialed "LP." which would likely represent the owner, or the town in which the militia was mustered. Original dry blue-green paint with beautifully contrasting red bursting star and border, and remarkably retains its carved red plug. The pride of being a member of the militia was so strong that these canteens were decoratively embellished to represent the militia in parades to accessorize their clothing and hats. Excellent, robust structural condition with the minor loss of two of the three leather sling loops, and a bit of wear on the highpoints of the hand-planing, on the signed side. About 7 1/8 inch diameter x 2 5/8 tall.