Gouache on paper, ca. 1860s. Attributed to port painter Luigi P. Renault of Leghorn (b. 1845). The JOHN SPEAR was built in Thomaston, Maine in 1849, sailed out of Rockland, Maine in the 1850's, and was home-ported out of New Orleans in 1861 when it sailed to Italy as the subject of this painting. Caption reads, in script: Ship "John Spear" from New Orleans, entering the port of Naples, March 9th 1861, J.S. Ingraham, Commander..... Bold and colorful and striking, this painting reflects the pride of American maritime commerce in the 19th century. The American flag, and the ship banner, stand out beautifully. Notable on the right is a ship bearing a mix of paddle/sail propulsion, as the transition occurred from wind to steam in the mid-19th century. Also note the crew members and passengers on the deck. Provenance: Sold in 1972 by Samuel L. Lowe, Jr, Boston, MA. This painting has been in a Rochester, NY collection since then. Pictured in the Magazine Antiques, page 339, February, 1972. Accompanied by a portfolio of background papers, and the Magazine Antiques from which it was originally pictured. Frame size about 36 inches x 28 inches. This painting has a stunning decorative and historical presence. Ask for high res photos to appreciate it.
Probably New England, ca. 18th to early 19th century. Retaining its first berry-colored dry paint, this very thin treen plate is from a hardwood, probably maple, shrunken dramatically out of round. The color is most appealing, a berry-color, perhaps made from berries as the pigment. Slow-lathe tool marks are evident. A real plus is a naturally-loose small knot that is whimsically moveable. As good of a period woodenware dish as one can find. Measures about 5 3/16 inches across the grain and 5 7/16 with the grain. About 5/8 inch thick. .
Probably New England, 19th century. Paint on pine. Although difficult to portray photographically given the long length and narrow width, this trade sign is sensational. Gold against a black ground, this trade sign is unusual in its verticle format (likley positioned along a door frame), and desirable content. The soft palette is very pleasing, enhanced beautifully by weathering. The left edge is rounded; the right squared. Originally was attached via several screw holes through the front. Loss at the very bottom, yet below the last letter and not significant when viewed from the front. About 88 inches tall (7 feet, 4 inches) x 4 7/8 wide x 7/8 thick. Easily hung as it is very lightweight and has a hanging hook attached to the back. A perfect location would be on a narrow wall segment, or paralleling a door frame.
New England, ca. 1830. Watercolor on velvet, with saturated colors on bountiful fruits, including a two-tone blue watermelon, set upon a handled "Leeds" platter, . A nearly identical example, complete with a watermelon on a platter, is illustrated in Jean Lippman's American Primitive Painting from the Holger Cahill Collection. Superb condition. Set in a terrific period molded gilt frame. Overall frame size of 27 1/4 x 24 1/4 .
Likely New England, ca. 1830-1840. Paint on velvet. Exceptional visual appeal, retaining bright colors and crisp, clean composition, the flowers bursting from the bulging, stylized basket with delightfully exaggerated in-curved sides, the basket resting on graduated steps. Fancy theorems were painted in this period as gifts for friends or to brighten one's home, the still life often chosen as the subject as a symbol of abundance, and velvet for its soft appearance. These theorem paintings were as painstakingly rendered as fine needlework samplers. The artist, typically a lady, often ground and mixed her own paints, designed and carefully cut her own stencils, and employed practice sheets, study notes, and color samples. Some young women of well to do families attended seminaries where they could learn drawing and painting. This exceptional example has frame dimensions of about 22 3/4 inches wide x 21 tall. Outstanding condition with light toning.
New England, ca. early 19th century. Appears to be pine, and likely ash handle. I have had very small examples of this exceptional sculptural form, but not 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 minor split 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. A superlative of the intersection of early and color; and exceptional design and craftsmanship.
Northeast America, with paint-precedents in Pennsylvania and New England. Ca. early to mid-19th century. Pine. Crisply made with a fine-Federal dovetailed case. Vivid, dry, paint decoration of blue-green serpentine swaths on a barn-red ground with whimsical trailing salmon-colored dots. The sliding lid with thumbnail molded sides above sliding dados. The top of the lid has always been fitted with a leather strip, presumably used to sharpen blades. An exceptionally well made box with unusually delightful folk art paint decoration. About 11 1/2 inches long x 3 wide x 2 7/8 tall. Excellent condition
Probably New Jersey, ca. 1875 to 1890. Oil on canvas. First celebrated for her sensational folk art portraits in New York State in the 1840's, Susan Waters later moved to New Jersey where she gained even more notariety for her renderings of animals, particularly of sheep. This barn scene with a family of sheep is an exemplary example of her work, with calmness and serenity evoked by the softness of the sheep woolen coats, and their snuggling for warmth. Barn contents, including a painted bucket, basket, barrel, pitchfork, ladder and hay, frame the sheep family and add considerable interest and insight into a barn of that period. Broken wall boards open to nearby woodlands and hills. The warm color of the sheep forms a strong color-contrast with the unlighted darker barn interior. Outstanding condition with no in-painting; lightly cleaned. Presented in a terrific gilt frame. Frame size about 29 1/4 inches wide x 24 tall. Susan Waters' "sheep" paintings are held by several museums, including that of the Newark Museum, NJ, and the New Jersey State Museum, Trenton.