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.
Pennsylvania, ca. 1830. From a prominent Pennsylvania collection, acquired 25 years ago from the Jessie Boyer collection auction. Bittersweet and mauve foliate wallpaper on pressed board with hand-stitched seams. Tiny size of about 3 1/4 inches long x 1 7/8 wide x 1 1/2 tall, likely used to hold small jewelry or other precious objects. At this size perfect for the top of a oval wallpaper stack. Condition is good for a 185 year old wallpaper box with minor separations at the seams.
Northeast America, ca. 1830-1850. Watercolor on paper. Highly detailed freehand folk art rendering of a reticulated basket of flowers resting on a stone on a mound of earth with tufted grass. Hard to capture photographically yet note the very fine and delicate detail in the close-up image. Good condition with colors that remain strong; typical toning and a minor paper tear. Housed in a 1830's period ripple gilded frame. Provenance: Ex Collection of Mr. and Mrs. James L. Britton, Christies, NY, 1999; private collection. Overall frame size of 20 5/8 inches wide x 18 5/8 tall.
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. 1820 to mid-19th century. An assembled stack of round pantry boxes all in first blue paint and with similar construction techniques. All structurally good condition, the top two showing more period wear than the bottom two. The second largest intaglio stamped on lid E. MURDOCK JR. BOSTON. Diameters are: 6 3/4; 8 5/8; 9 7/8; and 10 1/8 inches. The color and character of each box synergistically creates an impactful grouping.