Probably New England, ca. 1830-1870. Thick-walled pine, swing-handle likely of ash. Staved construction including copper cut-nail joinery. "Copperas." free-hand painted (not stenciled) by an experienced hand within a decorative cartouche. The period at the end is significant, being a convention seen on trade signs, gameboards, fire buckets, and other paint-labeled pieces, generally prior to the mid-19th century. Terrific condition. Superb dry paint with complex surface. About 8 1/2 inches tall not including handle. Copperas was used as an iron supplement, and also a key ingredient in "iron gall" ink, the type of ink seen on many early documents.
New England, ca. early 19th century. Appears to be pine, and likely ash handle. I have had very small examples of this form, but never this large. Made by a cooper with a keen eye for design, the shaped swing handle is joined to elongated side-stiles with large wooden pegs that are pinned on the interior. Bands to secure the staves are joined with cut (square) and wrought nails. Smooth burnishing is evident on the under-edge of the base, tops of the tall staves, and edges of the handle. Paint is early and original, and oscillates between sage green and a bit gray depending upon lighting. Condition is terrific, with only a small crack that doesn't go through on the handle. About 9 1/2 inches tall to the top of the side staves; 15 3/4 when the handle is fully verticle..
Fitchburg, MA, ca. 1807. Watercolor on paper. From a small group of "Heart and Tree" family records from northern Middlesex County, MA, and nearby southern New Hampshire. This watercolor represents the family record of Asa Farwell of Harvard and Vashti Carter of Fitchburg, married in 1796. The composition has paired hearts supporting a landscape that is graphically augmented by the family tree with family members placed within apples, plus a grand Federal home welcoming guests via a red front door, two chimneys, and fencing. Ribbons bind the two hearts and identify the marriage partners. Stylized trees punctuate the hilly landscape. Frame size about 9 3/4 x 10 3/4. THIS WATERCOLOR IS PICTURED IN THE ART OF THE FAMILY, Geneological Artifacts in New England, Simons and Benes, 2002, figure 26. From the longtime collection of Pam Boynton. Recently reaquired; one of my favorite pieces!
Connecticut, 18th century. A fabulous little flute (or piccolo) engraved in bone, signed JOSIAH SMITH. Note the use of the letter 'I' for 'J', typically used pre-1800. The fingering holes of the flute are most attractively accented with sunbursts. Accompanying the letter is a revealing document, ca. 1782, on laid paper, which appears to indicate that Josiah Smith was paid by Connecticut the sum of more than 11 Pounds Sterling for service in the Continental Army, which was one-fourth the balance due, the remainder paid out as interest from 1783 to 1789, at which time I believe that the large hole was die-cut from the document to indicate the debt had been paid. The document is signed by J[ohn] Lawrence, who was treasurer in Connecticut from 1769 to 1789. Note the use of the letter F ("long" S) throught the document, another convention that waned after 1800. Interesting that at this time the state continues to pay in Pounds Sterling, rather than dollars. The flute is about 6 inches long, the note about 7 1/2. An exciting pair. Wouldn't it be even more exciting if research can show that Josiah played his flute during a battle of the Revolutionary War? An intriguing research project for the next owner.
Pennsylvania, ca. 1824. Oil on wooden panel. Wonderful deep, rich, warm colors, executed in a manner similar to ship captain portraits. The sitter is Daniel Yanior, one of the five member "Butcher's Guild of Philadelphia", hence the cattle in the background. The Guild hired Herring in 1824 to paint portraits of each of its members. Confident attribution to James Herring (1794-1867) based on a very similar example, nearly identical for pose and background, signed by Herring and selling at Sotheby's, October 1991, lot 93. Herring is perhaps best known for creating the periodical "The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans" and "The Apollo Art Gallery". His painting style favored crisp lines and a bold color palette. Paintings by Herring are displayed in a number of museums, including the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, NY State Historical Society, National Portrait Gallery, etc. Research on Herring was published in the Magazine Antiques, January, 1978. Condition: A thin restored crack runs vertically from top to bottom of the board; barely discernable. The frame is contemporary. Frame size 27 inches wide x 32 3/4 tall; sight size 20 3/8 x 26 1/8..... .
Probably New England. ca. 1800. Pine. At just 3.25 inches long, this tiny Queen Anne looking glass is the smallest I have seen, most likely having been used when traveling. Joined by cut nails, and retaining early, well worn, pale-blue paint. The thin glass is largely desilvered except for a quarter size portion in the middle. Silver about the edges has deteriorated away owing to air and mosture infiltration under the glass edges. The back is unpainted, exhibiting a deep patina.
Northeast America, probably New England, ca. early to mid-19th century. Pine, sturdy, with "breadboard" ends joined by large-headed cut nails. Although difficult to represent well photographically, the front retains an early and beautiful dry green paint with a complex, soul-full crackled and grungy surface. Pierced hole for hanging. Note how the width of the board has shrunk to be shorter than the ends, as wood shrinks much more across its grain than with its length. This board is for collectors who love exceptional early surfaces and strong color (check out the photo of the surface up close). About 17 1/4 inches wide by 31 3/4 long by 3/4 thick.
Likely New England, ca. late 19th century. A true folk art rug original created from the experiences and inspirations of the artist, not from a template or print source. Central to the work is MAMMA, an uncommon variant of "mother", perhaps worked as a gift or as a personal remembrance. The abstract figures and lettering emulate impressionist paintings, including a number of softly colored non-linear shapes surrounding the central field, enclosed within an olive-green border. Some vignettes come into focus, such as a running horse to the left, a central heart, and a preening heart, others are more interpretive. Wonderful condition, mounted for hanging, and versatile diminutive size at about 36 inches long x 16 1/2 tall.