Pennsylvania. ca. late 18th/early 19th century. Watercolor on laid paper. Confidentally attributed to Daniel Otto (1770-1820) the most talented of the four sons of Johann Henrich Otto (1733-1800), one of the Pennsylvania Germans' seminal fraktur artists, who took up his father's art along with his brothers. Born in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, Daniel's work surpassed his brothers' with the intensity of his colors and the striking nature of his designs. This fraktur vividly portrays a stylized, exotic parrot set among flowers. Note the cool treatment of the claws. Colors remain bright and saturated. Set within a 19th century carved walnut frame, not original to the fraktur, yet a terrific presentation. The frame about 8 inches x 6. The fraktur itself about 4 inches x 3.
American, ca. 1870-1880. Oil on canvas. Probably New York State or Pennsylvania (given "Climax" on the windmill). Upliftingly rendered as a bright, sunny day with wispy clouds and stylized trees framing a large home, the path from which leading to a mustard-painted barn. A white painted fence separates the home from the fields in the background, helping to define this property as "our space" and the horse as a family member as he is inside the fencing. The artist pulls us in with large spaces of solid primary colors, and the "companionship" amongst the dog, horse, and bird. No in-painting save for a small (1 inch square) area in clouds. Never lined. Unframed. About 28 1/2 inches x 16 1/2. Provenance: Private collection; bought years ago from Don Walters. Something to consider: undoubtedly thousands of trained-artist paintings from this period have been lost, this folk picture survives. I think it is because of the friendly story it tells, and the bold aesthetic of its colors.
HANNAH BROWN. Dated 1780. Primarily wool and silk. Of a small, delicate size for a pocket, this exceptional embroidered flame-stitch-variant pocket is rarer than similarly crafted pocketbooks. Representative of the best American needlework. Beautiful, labor-intensive textiles for personal adornment were amongst the most valuable possessions in the 18th century and a symbol of status. Probably made by Hannah for her own use, imagine her wearing this pocket at the finest gatherings. And like samplers, needlework accomplishments were often part of a young woman's dowry. Handsomely mounted for presentation yet also easily removed from the mount if desired. The pocket is about 7 inches wide x 10 1/4 to the top of the silk hanger. Mounting is about 12 3/4 inches x 9 3/4. Excellent condition with minor losses. Reference: "Worldly Goods, the Arts of Early Pennsylvania", Philadelphia Museum of Art, and "What Clothes Reveal", Baumgarten, Colonial Williamsburg. A beautiful object that would be unique in a modern or classical decor with the character of almost 250 years of history.
Carved at Grand Bank, Nova Scotia, ca. 1764. Birchwood with naturally oxidized patina. A SENSATIONAL VIEW INTO PERIOD LETTERING, as it is inscribed on the reverse: "July Ye 17, 1764, A Busk, Made At Ye Grand Bank". Note the use of the early 24-letter alphabet that uses I for J, and V for U. The front skillfully carved including a stylized heart. Likely sailor-made as a gift to a back-home sweetheart as only a handful of residents made Grand Bank their home in 1764 (famous explorer Captain James Cook mapped the area in 1765). And given the proximity to New England, very likely that sailor was from a colonial American port. Superb condition. About 13 inches long x 3 wide....................Provenance: NINA FLETCHER LITTLE collection, sold at the Little auction January 29, 1994, lot 151, and in a private collection until recently. Published/PICTURED in Nina Fletcher Little, "Country Arts in Early American Homes," p. 56, fig. 53.
Northeast America, ca. 18th/early 19th century. Staved construction with beautifully done button-hole hooped joinery. Very dry original soft blue paint oxidized to green with blue highlights. Skillful black-paint labeled: THE 2nd CO. IN THE 16th REGIMENT. Later family label on the back "Canteen carried by Harvey H. Sargent in the Civil War 1861-1865". The form, the paint, and especially the style of the lettering strongly support a 18th to early 19th century making. Consensus is that this canteen was made and labeled in the 18th/early 19th century, then carried in the Civil War by Sargent as a keepsake or good luck piece, perhaps as a gift from an ancestor. Superb solid, uncompromised condition missing only the leather strap. About 6 3/8 inches diameter x 3 3/8 tall. This canteen is one of the finest to be found owing to its great form, condition, blue-green paint, and remarkable lettering.
American, late 19th century. Oil on canvas. Folk art townscapes, and house/farm portraits in the 19th century were painted to reflect pride in home, town, and accomplishments. This is a fine example, rendered in a quiet, soft color palette with horse and rider prancing down the path, with their dog in hot pursuit, while in the foreground a mother pig watches as her piglets drink. Several buildings, including a privy set into the trees, surround the elegant, green shuttered white-painted house with picket fence surrounding to keep out farm animals, and scattered flowers. The composition portrays an appealing simpler time. Excellent condition with minor area of toning. Appears to be original, and very pleasing, molded frame with dry, crackled surface. Overall frame size of about 33 inches x 23 inches. A note on the back indicates this painting was found on a long trip years ago.
New England, ca 1861-1865. Watercolor and pen and ink on paper. Signed W.M.C. Philbrick. The wooden, 207 foot long USS Ossipee, named after the Ossipee River of New Hampshire and Maine, was launched from the Portsmouth Navy Yard in 1861 as a sloop-of-war in the Union Navy during the Civil War. Among many actions the Ossipee served in the blockage of Newport News, Virginia in 1863 and in Admiral Farragut's naval battle in Mobile Bay, Alabama in 1864, forcing the ironclad CSS Tennessee to surrender. This precisely rendered ship portrait shows fittings for battle, including 6 cannons and gun ports enclosing more. The portrait retains strong color, highlighted by the bold American flag. Research reveals that WMC Philbrick is William M.C. Philbrick, a Naval Architect and carpenter's mate of the USS Portsmouth, based on a sketch by him depicting the USS Albatross off Mobile, AL., in 1863, and from The Private Papers of William M.C. Philbrick, US Naval Historical Center, Mystic Seaport, CT. Philbrick also sketched the iron-clad ship Essex in 1862 and likely other ships as well. Excellent condition with minor creases and several small edge tears repaired on the back. Presented in a period gilt frame measuring about 29 inches long x 21 tall. This portrait blends real history with a bright, folk art presence. Please ask for higher res photos to see detail.
New Hampshire, ca. 1750-1765. Pine, with very dry original oxblood red paint. Descended in the "French" family of Portsmouth, NH. Oral family history has this box making the move to Portsmouth from what was then Rumford, NH (renamed Concord in 1765). The double-lollipop hangers, unique in my experience, are tall and stately, with notched necks flowing into incurved shoulders. Lollipops are carved, not sawn. Scholarship suggests the double-lollipops symbolize man and woman or husband and wife, yet perhaps they simply function to prevent the box from swinging. The box saw frequent use as evidenced by patterns of wear to paint and inner box. It survives as a stately, important view into pre-revolution rural colonial America. Joinery of the thick walls by rosehead nails with several nails having lost their heads or replaced by somewhat later nails. Condition is very good with expected irregularities at the locations of the nails. May hang or rest on a flat surface. About 14 1/4 inches tall x 12 wide x 6 deep.
Northeast America, ca. 1820-1850. Appears to be poplar. Slow-lathe turned and footed. Period 19th century very dry, soft mustard/yellow paint over what may be an earlier thin paint or primer. Inside does not have knife marks and is light in color, indicating that this bowl was likely used for dough or dairy, not for chopping or other food preparation. Large size at about 20 5/8 inches diameter with 5/8 inches of shrinkage across the grain. Quite deep at 6 11/2 inches. Excellent condition with no cracks. Outdoor photos shot in 6 degree windchill! (I wanted to show yellow in natural light).
Baltimore, Maryland, ca. 1825. Tall, stately, boldly tapering flask with flattened sides, decorated on both faces with a large brushed cobalt-blue flower with fan-shaped blossom and cobalt-highlighted spout. Approximately 20 examples from Baltimore are known, some being attributed to maker David Parr. Excellent structural condition with no cracks. Stands about 9 1/2 inches tall, broad shoulders of about 5 inches wide tapering down to a base of 2 1/4 inches; about 2 3/8 thick. From a long time private collection. A beautiful gem!