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.
New England, ca. 1840 or earlier. Originally discovered in Maine. Pine with original paint. Most likely a representation, pre-photography, of a father or uncle, possibly even a self-portrait. Stands just under 6 inches tall. Interesting and unusual. Shown with multiple lighting conditions. Very strong provenance including: Pam Boynton, Stephen Score, Steve Powers, Peter Brams.
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.
New England, likely Massachusetts, perhaps Hingham, ca. mid 19th century. The two smaller maple and pine; the larger ash and pine. Individually scarce and exceptional, together rare. All with opposing fingers held by cut nails and tiny wooden pegs. Paint on all dry and without over-varnish. Diameters range from 2 inches to 2 3/4 to 3 1/8. Condition all structurally excellent save the smallest which has an early, perhaps at time of making, sliver loss. Total height of just 4 1/8 inches!
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..
Probably Pennsylvania, ca. 1840. Wallpaper on bentwood pine or poplar. One of the most colorful wallpaper boxes I have seen, with brilliant orange against a rich blue ground. The maker also placed the elements with a strong eye toward design, very effectively centering a front panel with a geometric flower. The interior is fully lined with period newsprint, always interesting to read, with one passage referring to “abolitionists”. Structurally excellent condition with period wear to the paper as pictured. This box demands attention, standing out even within a crowded space. About 6 ¾ inches long x 5 ¼ wide x 4 1/8 tall. .
Northeast America, 19th century. Attached label reads: 6 oz TACKS Made for Lloyd, Supple, and Walton, Philadelphia, PA, a hardware store active from 1867 to 1889. Given the early form of the wallpaper box (ca 1825-1850), it is likely that the label was almost certainly affixed to an earlier-made box as an available container. The wallpaper box is exceptional, with beautiful polychrome paint decoration against blue ground, with stitched joinery at the interfaces. Newspaper lining references 'Maine' and the 'British', and the bottom is inscribed in ink with a reference that I can not decipher. The underside of the lid labeled in pencil: “Israel B Shreiner”. Very good condition. Just 2 3/8 inches long x 1 7/8 wide x 1 1/2 tall. .