Probably New England, ca. 1800-1850. Pine. In high-relief, this primitive carving retains an untouched rich dry natural patina. In 1782 the eagle was first introduced into American design as a symbol of strength and independence. From that time onward renderings of the eagle flowed into decorative arts, signs, furniture, etc. This early carving was meant to hang, not stand, is sizable enough to have had use as a sign, yet its specific use is uncertain. It would highlight a collection of early furniture and accessories with the commonality of strong surface. About 20 1/2 inches across x 20 tall x 2 deep.
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 America, ca. 18th/early 19th century. All ash burl except one side in pine. Rare in ash burl, if not unique. Untouched original condition with dry over-varnish, rich color, and terrific condition. Slow lathe tool marks visible on the surface, with deep incised lines of decoration. Made by an accomplished turner. The pine side is engraved with the initials "EL", likely the owner. About 4 3/8 x 4 1/2 diameter; about 2 3/8 tall. May have held liquor or gun powder. Not "strapped" so carried either in a pocket or knapsack. See The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution for reference. For the collector seeking especially fine and rare Americana or treen.
Northeast America, likely New England, dated 1816. Softwood, appears to be pine or poplar with original dark red paint. Carved from one piece of wood, not "joined". Sliding lid. The box is profusely carved with decorative elements, including stylized trees and chip borders. Box may rest on its back or stand. Excellent condition. About 7 1/2 inches long x 2 1/8 tall x 2 3/4 wide. .
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.
Northeast America, ca. mid to 3rd quarter, 19th century. Oil on canvas. Possible attribution to Joseph Goodhue Chandler. A most pleasing, bold, impactful rendering with rich color. The drummer boy clutches firmly the staff of an American flag, a strong patriotic expression. A rope-tensioned field drum and wooden sticks lie beside him. The "drummer boy" has always been an iconic figure in American history. He goes into battle with no weapon, only a drum with which to rally and encourage the troops around him. The drums were an important part of the battlefield communications with drum rolls used to signal commands from officers to troops. The life of a drummer boy appeared glamorous and as a result, boys would sometimes run away from home to enlist. The image of boy drummers were depicted in paintings, sculpture and poetry..... The stretcher retains remnants of an old label reading in part "...rear entra(nce) / NEW YORK/ ...YORK/ ANTIQUES EXPOSITION... ." The label is said to have referred to Albany at one time, indicating an exhibition in that city, possibly celebrating the Centennial of 1876. Frame size about 46 inches x 31. Excellent condition with very minor touch-up; contemporary frame. Provenance: Alice Braunfeld, Los Angeles, early 1980s; private collection. .