Americana by Lore Moore
Lore Moore has been collecting and dealing early Americana for sixty-five years. One of the two founders of the West Coast Americana show, "California Country," Lore gained a well-earned reputation for unusual, beautiful, bona fide collectibles. ~ ~ ~ With her special emphasis in painted furniture and furnishings, Lore's offerings will carry you back to a time when every cherished possession was an individual work of art, carefully made and lovingly decorated. These bits of flotsam washed up from the past tell us of our roots in a people who managed hardship and challenge with craft, skill and joyful whimsy. ~ ~ ~ Lore hopes you will enjoy her catalogue of American treasures.
This 18" densely-stuffed dolly is so ugly she's beautiful. All in hand sewn garments, she wears an embroidered gown (slightly discolored on the seat) appropriately covered by an apron, a lace-trimmed petticoat, lace trimmed pantaloons and a lacy mobcap. Her best possession -- her cunning red leather shoes (one is partially reconstructed and both are tied with a modern ribbon.) Mouth and nose are embroidered, but her eyes are astonishing beads-on-buttons. She is looking for that certain someone who will treasure just how special she is.
This 16" boy doll has an amazing pair of embroidered eyes -- brown with a tiny "gleam" of white thread in both. His textured black plaid overalls appear to be machine stitched; his worn shirt is all finished with tiny but slightly irregular hand-stitching. His features are shaped from the heavy wool fabric of his body bunched with tight dark gray stitches into the curves of nose and brow and fingers. His hair is made of several hundred french knots. He has two small holes and a half-inch wound on his legs. A solemn fellow and righteously so, he wears the sorrows of the past with dignity.
This domed wallpapered trunk (18 1/4" long by 10" deep by 8 1/4" tall at its highest point) has sustained such losses as one might expect nearly two centuries to inflict on mere paper, yet it still testifies to the ingeniousness of its creator. The wallpaper was set perfectly to display its pattern to greatest effect, and how glorious it still is. Simple leather hinges hold the lid to the base; the primitive hand-made metal catch is a thing of beauty. The interior is lined with newspaper—Freehold, New Jersey's "Monmouth Journal," dated September 11, 1827—advertising a clock maker and reprinting a poem from Byron, then dead just three years. You have heard of catching time in a bottle—this is time caught in a trunk.
This beautiful baby still smiles with pink cheeks and intelligent eyes—all captured by a talented itinerant artist more than two centuries ago. Every gather in her soft linen gown, every bead in the coral necklace her careful parents draped on her neck to ward off evil vapors, the worn leather of her shoes, the arabesque slotting in her silver rattle—masterfully memorialized in oil on canvas. What a good and patient girl she was to allow the artist to render her in this much tender detail. As typical in itinerant works, her background was clearly pre-painted, prepared for an older model; thus, the window is positioned too near the carpeted floor on which our dimpled sweetheart sits. Likely the canvas grew worn and gave way at the edges, because this little girl has been re-stretched over new bars; the painting is now 21" x 25.5". Who was this charming girl? What beauty did she become as she grew with our new nation? Whose ancestress did she turn out to be? Perhaps yours.
An unusual white-painted Bride's Box, this sweet gal is the essence of primitive simplicity. The abstract sprig of flowers on the top is echoed in two bands of homely flowers running in opposite directions on the sides. Circa 1820 from Pennsylvania, her stitches all still in place, she measures 15" long by 9" wide.
A vibrant green carefully edged with a darker contrasting color, this box has a Spring-time bouquet of flowers on its face, while two bands of fanciful tulips run in opposite directions on its side. Dating from about 1820, from Pennsylvania, the box is 15" long and 9" wide. It is missing some of its bentwood stitching, as shown in the pictures.
A rich brown background was filled with sweetly simple florals, the leaves feathered with highlighting, the flowers a mix of stylized roses and posies. The artist took care to wrap the ring of flowers on the side of the lid clockwise and the ring of flowers on the side of the base contrariwise. Circa 1840 from Pennsylvania, its stitches solidly intact, the box is 16" long and 10" wide.
This early (circa1800 to 1820) bride's box bears a raised-letter message on its top that begins, "Only Lillie . . . " Not gifted with the proper archaic Germanic tongue, we are unable to translate further, but can only imagine Lillie's many graces. The flowers wrapping the sides are as feathery and light as the delicate script singing Lillie's praises. The box is in very nice condition, with most of its bentwood stitches intact. It is 18" long and 11 1/2" wide.
The early American symbol of hospitality was carved into this large butter press for a woman who clearly needed a hearty supply of butter for her well-filled house. Circa 1800, this wonderful example of American folk art is 5 1/2" in diameter and 6" to the top of the handle.
This 19th century sea lass must have removed more than a few boots from the legs of Naval officers (including my late husband's). 10" long from tail tip to nail tips, and 3 1/2" wide, this heavy iron maiden is still sturdy enough to help you slip out of your riding gear. Although the maid was cheaply copied in recent decades, the curve of her tail, her missing navel, the wider rocks and waves beside her distinguish her from the lightweight reproductions.
A basket filled with tin cookie molds might be just the thing for Mother's Day. These molds make up the better part of a farm yard -- horse, rooster, chick, sheep, rocking pig, and farmer, with an escaped lion added to the mix. The basket also has five tiny cutters shaped in the symbols of playing card suits. The whole kit and caboodle dates from about 1890. The basket is 8" in diameter and 5" tall not counting the handle. Two of the molds, horse and rooster, need a pinch of solder. Animal cookies the way we ate them before Nabisco packed them in circus train boxes.
An item from Lore's personal collection, this drum survived the Civil War and its excellent condition suggests the lad who carried it did as well. Set on legs in the early 1900s, the drum has served a second life as an end table, its tight skin head covered and protected with black glass. The drum is standard issue: 14" tall and 18" in diameter. It stands atop 8 1/2" legs.
Delicately hand-painted -- a folk art vining flower set off perfectly on a persimmon background -- this wee pantry box is 8 1/2" in diameter and 3 1/2" tall. Dated 1858 in beautiful script on the lid's side, it also bears the initials "I.D.H" -- the owner and, mayhap, the artist. Some wear on the bentwood juncture, as seen in the photo.
This sturdy carryall dating from about 1830 in Pennsylvania has its original green paint garnished with sprigs of hand-painted flowers. The lid twists to a notched opening, giving access to the goodies kept safe inside. At 10 1/2" in diameter and 5" tall, a working man's full hearty meal could have been tucked in by his helpful wife.
A frozen moment of intensity, this 19th Century horse and rider are clearly going for the gold. Man and steed are hand carved wood, dark stained, 8" high and 12" long. Caught in that split second when every hoof is airborne, the shoeless African American rider low over the horse's neck, the animal's teeth bare over its bit, the man exact to his short sleeves and the hair on the back of his neck. A little bit of whimsical physical poetry. . . .
This sweet hanging candle box, carved with a simple hex sign, still has its original soft blue-green paint. Dating from the 1700s, it is 7 1/2" wide and 11 1/2" tall to the top of its arching back, which displays some nice alligatored finish. (Better photos to come.) Three centuries of women have kept special things in this special box.
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