New England, possibly New Hampshire, ca. 1820-1837. White pine. DOVETAILED case with base and dome attached via early cut nails. Sensational paint decoration combining bright bittersweet, mustard, forest green, and olive swirls on a tiny dometop box. There is an early ink inscription underneath (that is hard to interpret) yet it appears that a paper note attached under the lid translates that inscription as referring to who owned the box in 1837. There is also a later inscription inside that describes who made the box (a relative of the 1837 owners), and that he died in a Civil War prison. Very good condition with minor loss at the lower right of the back as shown, and early in-use butt hinges that updated the first simple wires. Retains original lock. The box demands to be picked up, and has the feel of having been held often with soft corners and edges. A sensational little box having not been on the market in many years. Just 6 3/4 inches wide x 3 7/8 deep x 3 3/4 tall.
Probably Massachusetts or Maine, ca. 1830-1840. Oil on canvas. Attributed to George Hartwell who was closely associated with William Matthew Prior and Sturtevant Hamblin. Pleasant seated young lady in stylized scroll-back chair in soft colors holding book with rose and landscape embellishments. Painted in the desirable flat style without shade or shadow. Consistent with Hartwell in overall look and feel, and in the three-quarter length view, two-toned lips, and smooth areas in varying shades on the cheeks, noses, and under the brows to suggest modeling. Frame size 31 5/8 inches tall x 26 5/8 wide. Sight size 26 3/4 inches x 21 3/4. This compares to typical Prior-Hamblin portraits that are about half this size. Condition is strong with just minor in-painting; relined. A bit of paint loss to the right of the lady's face and scattered specks and craquelure.
Likely Native American, ca. late 19th century. Ash or hickory. Strong nut-brown patina. Burnishing to the peak of the "high-kick" in interior indicates this basket saw use. Condition is terrific with minor imperfections. About 15 1/2 inches diameter x 5 tall (not including handles).
Northeast America, ca. mid-19th century or earlier. Fully functional yet tiny size at just 2 1/2 inches tall to the top of the staves not including swing handle (the handle adds another 2 inches). Appears to be pine staves with ash handle and split-sapling straps. Original paint history of an early dry black over a light blue and gray with craquelure and wear to the paint as shown. Sensational sculptural form. Structurally excellent condition. By far the smallest of this form that I have owned.
Likely Hudson River Valley, ca. 18th century. Pine. Slightly canted case in original red paint, this box has an unusual double demi-lune hanger and a rarely seen reeded front board and iron-strap blacksmith-made exposed hinges. The reeding is formed by hand planning. Chisel marks are readily apparent on the chamfered hanger edges. The interior has a thin vertical divider on the left, perhaps used to hold candles on the longer side, tinder and lighting material on the shorter. The strap hinges are attached to the top of the lid via wrought nails which are clenched to the under-side. The rear of the hinges are joined by heavy wrought iron staples which penetrate the backboard, then clenched over from behind. Condition is very good, with normal wear as expected. Clearly heavily used given the encrustation visible on the lid and two ancient splits that are held by early cut nails. A museum accession number (292) is labeled on the back. This special wall box is for the collector who wants early, color, rarity, and great character. About 16 inches long x 9 tall x 5 1/2 deep. .
New England, ca. 1820. Graphite on woven paper in painted molded frame with black silk liner. Crisply executed in painstaking detail, the young girl/woman in the high-wasted dress contemplates at the urn under a willow tree. Note the birds in the water. Intriguing that the girl has her hair down as it is very uncommon to see hair rendered this way. Excellent condition (the border of the paper is not rough, the non-uniform shape is due to the black silk overlap). Frame is just 4 1/4 inches diameter and retains its original hanging hook. Provenance: Ex Thayer Collection.
New England, ca. mid-19th century. Pastel on paper. Colorful and bright, like a living postcard, this peaceful painting shows a tight protective cluster of large Federal homes, several of the homes with brick fronts and clapboard painted sides, as was a common New England practice. The village has risen alongside a sizable stream-fed pond and waterfall, the waterfall perhaps providing power and terrific fishing location, and with the continous splash of flowing water. As with many folk art townscapes, this idealized rendering shows no clutter or disrepair, rather captures the pride of the owner's in what their village has become. The artist chose black windows, which are particularly effective in providing color-contrast against the soft pastels. The white painted rail-fence on the left, that likely contains livestock and horses, provides a boundary against the dangers of the countryside, while providing a leading line into the village where a white-picket fence implies sophistication and comfort. One can darken the room, light just this painting, and easily travel back into the sights and sounds of a 19th century New England village. Excellent condition with minor restoration. Housed in a custom frame added 25 years ago. Overall frame size about 33 1/2 inches wide x 23 1/2 inches tall. Large enough to carry a significant wall, yet small enough to be versatile.
New England, ca. 1800 to 1830 (yet could be earlier). Literally found in a barn in Dartmouth, MA, this is an inherited box, i.e., never "collected". Maple walled with white pine top and bottom, joined by pewter nails (an usual feature and early, yet consistent with several other large oval boxes that have histories of coming out of Plymouth County or least coastal Massachusetts). Original paint history. Structurally excellent with minor warping at one end of the top due to the loss of a nail...About 11 1/2 inches long x 3 1/2 high. Historically important. For the collection that is built upon early painted American history.