Art

Double Watercolor Portraits

Charming pair of ladies' portraits (mother and daughter? sisters?), matched in size and clearly by the same artist's hand.  One woman wears an intricately detailed lace cap and holds a small leather-bound book.  The other holds a letter bearing a red seal. Both are clad in blue and are wearing white shawls, rendered with remarkable detail (e.g., fringe).Although the artist was clearly not academically trained, the facial features are sensitively rendered, no doubt affording pleasing likenesses as well as testament to each lady's' comeliness. Apparel and accessories date the portraits to around 1840.  Housed in matching period molded gilt wood frames  5 1/2" X 4 1/4" overall.

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Pier Mirror With Verre Eglomise Panel

This is a delightful American, 19th C. pier glass with robust, intricately carved wood frame  and a lovely vere eglomise panel to the upper frieze.  Beautifully carved wood frame has tenon and mortise construction, block corners, decorative relief carving and is grain painted.  The contrasting ochre-colored grain painted bands are comb painted.  The mirror also retains its original reverse painting of a charming country house and landscape scene, the fence in front of the house features pin-prick detailing.  It retains its original glass and chamfered back, in super order. A really fine, original and appealing example.

Measures 23" X 13"

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Mirror With Early 19th C Polychrome Painted Frame

Original black-painted frame stenciled in salmon and green decoration.  Chrome yellow pinstripe.  15" X 18".  Provenance: frame possibly by Arson Clark.

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Trumeau Mirror with Verre Eglomise Panel

Trumeau or pier mirror with beautifully executed verre églomisé (Hinterglasmalerei) panel.

This classical, split baluster mirror is in untouched mint condition, retaining its original reverse painting of a charming country house and landscape scene. The frame is carved throughout including the block corners with a medallion design. The gold leaf and mirror are original. Reverse painting often fails over time, but this example is perfect, and the painting is very fine. Note: The original, chamfered backboard is in untouched condition. It is rare to find a mirror that practically looks like it was made yesterday, this one, though, is real and of the period.

The mirror measures 24” X 11 ½”.

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Decorative Pier Mirror with Vibrant Verre Eglomise

A charming Federal mirror with églomisé panel, American, circa 1810. Features a carved wood frame with exuberant reverse-glass painting of basket with pumpkins on frieze panel above the original mirror.  20" X 10 1/2"

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Portrait of Anna H. Crampton Bulla - Attributed to Rufus Porter (American, 1792-1884)

Portrait of Anna H. Crampton Bulla. Unsigned. The sitter is identified in an inscription on the reverse reading "Anna H. Crampton Bulla painted at the age of seventeen-1845 in Richmond, In [signed] A. H. C. Bulla November 15, 1904."

A genealogical search reveals that Anna H. Crampton was born in March, 1828, married John Hoover Bulla, a farmer and had eleven children. (https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/KC5B-GD8)

Watercolor on paper, 1845, depicting seated profile portrait of the young Anna Bulla wearing a black dress trimmed with deep lace and blue ribbon at collar and with flat white embroidered sleeve cuffs. She rests her hands, gloved in netted fingerless mitts, in her lap, with her right hand appearing to hold a white lace handkerchief. Her dark hair is center parted and pulled back into a period chignon with a curl visible behind her right ear.

The portrait bears several key hallmarks of Rufus Porter's technique, including:

  • Ear: Gray interior of ear that forms a ‘C’; heart shape form of the lower interior back of the ear. 
  • Eyes: Eyelashes are straight out from lid and mid tone in color; eyeball on profile is football shaped and the pupil is a straight slash down not a dot.
  • Lips:Brown red line delineating lip separation. 

Sight sizes 7” x 9”, in period frame. Condition: Visible edge (from earlier framing?) some foxing, minor toning. 

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Watercolor Portrait Attributed to J. A. Davis

Watercolor and pencil on paper, c. 1835, depicting a seated young woman wearing a black dress with lace trimmed collar and cuffs and wearing a coral cameo on black ribbon. Unsigned, but very likely by Jane Anthony Davis (1821-1855).  The sitter is exceptionally pretty and is delicately rendered.  Like most of Davis' subjects she is costumed in black with only spare use of color to highlight the penciled facial features, such as the bluish coloring of the eyelids and pink lips; as well as other objects in the composition, such as her necklace, the chair visible behind her, and the small table with tall blue flower beside her. Also typical of Davis’ portraits is the exaggerated negative space between arms and body. Almost all of Davis’ subjects were residents of the Norwich or Providence-Warwick areas, so the origin of this small portrait is likely Rhode Island.

Sight-size: 5” by 7”. (6" x 8" including period frame).

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Jane Anthony Davis: Portrait of Roxanne Wilcox

Pencil and watercolor on paper portrait of Roxanne Wilcox by Jane A. Davis (1821-1855).  Unsigned. 

Conservation mounted in grain painted period frame. 7 ¼” X 8 ½”

Condition: Excellent with very minor spotting

Documentation: Two notes found with the painting (pictured), indicate that Roxanne Wilcox was born October 11, 1821 in South Kingstown, RI, married Benjamin Northrop Rose, died on April 11, 1871 and is buried in Roses Cemetery on Roses Hill between Peacedale and Norrisfield.  A genealogical search reveals that Roxanne (Roxanna) Wilcox Rose died on March 28, 1855.  An image of her gravestone is attached.

Biographical note on artist
: Jane Anthony Davis was born in Rhode Island in 1821, married Edward Nelson Davis of Connecticut in 1841 and died in Rhode Island in 1855. Until 1981, based on research by Arthur and Sybil Kern, it was thought that J.A. Davis was a man and a different person than Jane Anthony Davis. Prior to that time there was very little information that had been found about Davis.

Davis' work is quite uncommon, highly sought after by collectors of naïve American art, and is in the collections of many folk art museums.

Related Literature: Arthur and Sybil Kern, "J.A. Davis: Identity Reviewed," The Clarion, Summer 1991, p. 46. 


PA Watercolor with Robin

Vivid Pennsylvania watercolor features thistle blossoms and robin.

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19th Century Pennsylvania Scherenschnitte

Masterpiece quality Pennsylvania  Scherenschnitte*.   Intricately cut, pin pricked and painted paper valentine depicts a blindfolded, winged cherub being led by two doves trailing red ribbons to a red and white gazebo, all surrounded by flowers inside an elaborately cut and pricked circle.  Beneath this is a white, yellow and red parrot on a vine of thistle flowers. A truly exceptional work.  12" X 14" (framed).

*Art tradition of cutting continuous paper, founded in Switzerland and Germany in the 16th century and brought to colonial America in the 1700s by immigrants who settled primarily in Pennsylvania.
 

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PA Tree of Life Embroidery

This fantastic tree of life embroidery with bird and vine border throughout is an exceptional piece of silk on silk embroidery, in remarkable condition.  It is from a private collection (of the late Joyce M. Leiby of Lancaster, PA).

Originally made to serve as a pillow cover, it was never used. The colors are still very sharp and vivid against the black silk background. There is absolutely no wear or damage.  Conservation mounted.  Tru-Vue glass.

Embroidery: 17” X 17”

Frame overall: 23 ½” X 23 ½”

This is a great find and a wonderful addition to any folk art collection. 

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Pastel Portrait of Young Girl

Pastel and graphite on paper, this charming portrait depicts a young girl in a salmon dress. Retains original frame and pine backboard, as well as original glass. Sized with frame: 17 ½” X 13 ½”. Characteristic of work by Ruth Henshaw Bascom (American,1772-1848). Like other 18th and early 19th century primitive female folk artists who had little or no professional training, Ruth Henshaw Bascom was an affluent amateur hobbyist who was both prolific and talented. Most of her pastel portraits were executed during the 1830s. The full- or nearly-full-sized profiles of children and adults were described by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein in American Women Artists: From Early Indian Times to the Present (1982) as having “calm strength of characterization combined with a sensitive feeling for shape, color and texture.” In keeping with the tradition of most such artists of the period, Bascom rarely signed her work.

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