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Originally made to serve as a pillow cover, it was never used.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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American School, 19th Century Watercolor Portrait

Charming naive watercolor portrait of a young red-haired girl dressed in blue.  She is holding a red-bound book in her right hand and bouquet of pink flowers in her left, and is depicted against roiling blue and rose clouds.  Her attire: a high-waisted cap-sleeved blue dress, delicate laced slippers and coral bead necklace date the piece as 1810-1815.  Her tiny, pink-shod feet are a very desirable element of naive folk art and much appreciated by collectors.  See American Folk Portraits, Paintings and Drawings from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center (Number 223) for related examples.   Period frame.  Size: (Interior) - 3 5/8" X 4 7/8";  With frame: 5 1/2" X 6 1/2"

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Portrait Miniature

Colorful miniature portrait of a young woman in blue dress, hairstyle and dress suggest circa 1830-1850.  Housed in an oval gilt/verdigris rope design pendant frame.   3" long.  See Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures for related examples.

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Watercolor On Ivory Portrait Miniature

Delicate image of young woman (watercolor on ivory). The bust-length oval portrait depicts the young woman in 3/4 pose facing left.  The painting is housed in an oval gilt pendant frame with chased bezel.  The painting itself is excellent and very sensitively done by an artist of some merit.  The condition is excellent with no chips, cracks or restoration.   Back is glazed and displays braided hair work and gold initials behind glass. Dress and hair style suggest circa 1805-1814.   3" long.  See Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures for related examples.  

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19th Century Floral Theorem

Vibrant, meticulously stenciled watercolor of flowers in a blue goblet, c. 1840. Label on back reads “W.C. Heitmann.” 16″H x 12″W

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Charming Amateur Watercolor, Signed and Dated 1841

This engaging and imaginative watercolor is signed “Sara Shelly, 1841”. The Shellys were a prominent family in Hereford Township, Berks County, PA during the late 18th and 19th centuries. During the 19th century they were noted for producing a considerable body of folk artwork. This piece by Sara was very likely inspired by a very popular book, Anne of Geierstein, or The Maiden of the Mist (first published in 1829). This romantic historical novel by Sir Walter Scott features a hero and heroine from the Lancaster and the York families of England. The adventure story revived popular interest in The Wars of the Roses, a series of dynastic wars for the throne of England. The name Wars of the Roses refers to the heraldic badges associated with the two royal houses, the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster. Size (excluding authentic period frame): 7 ½” X 9 ½”

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Signed Ellinger Strawberry Basket Theorem

David Y. Ellinger [American/Pennsylvania, 1913-2003] watercolor on velvet theorem depicts a basket filled with bright red strawberries. Signed on the front. The portrait of a basket of strawberries is an unusual theme for Ellinger, whose work most often features birds and floral motifs. 10 ¾ W X 10 ½H

Quincy Watercolor-on-Velvet Memorial

Memorial watercolor on velvet, dated 1824 and inscribed to the memory of Mrs. Lucy Jillson.

This folk painting is executed in watercolor over a graphite drawing. Primarily in umber, blue and green, with the cream of the velvet, touched with blue, serving as clouds. This was a typical color palette among theorem paintings from this time. Text of inscription included below.

It was common in both memorial paintings and needlepoint memorials to have the printer/engraver’s notice attached or traced directly onto the work. By contrast, this sentimental tribute features a free-hand rendering of the obituary information.

A genealogical search of “Lucy Jillson” reveals: Lucy Saville(109) was born on 15 Sep 1797. She died on 15 Jul 1824 in Norwich, Connecticut.  Parents: Samuel Saville. She was married to Seth Jillson on 28 Oct 1822. Children were: Seth Sherman Jillson. 25″H x 23″W

to the
Mrs. Lucy Jillson
"Consort of Mr. Seth Jillson
daughter of Dr. Josiah Savil of
Quincy who died July 1824
In the 27 year of her Age
"Farewell mild saint child of love farewell
Ill can this stone thy fin'st virtues tell
Go live for Heavens of eternal year is thine
Go and exalt the mortal to divine
Where joy divine and unembittered flow
Where love, and endless pleasures flow"

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