I do not operate an open shop but prefer instead to treat my interest in Americana in a more relaxed manner. Indeed, my primary preoccupation is teaching at the California Institute of Technology, which affords me the luxury of pursuing a tertiary interest in American history. This feeds my interest in Americana and gives me the flexibility to pursue offering a selection of American country and formal antiques that represent the best of what we might otherwise associate with Back East tastes and design. In fact, after 40+ years of collecting Americana, with the last two and a half decades spent scouring the estate sales and flea markets of Southern California, the time has come to begin letting go. What you’ll find here, then, are things from my personal collection with the occasional addition of some treasure I found in my ongoing compulsive hunting. Needless to say, there’s a full “L.L.Bean-type” no questions asked guarantee on anything I sell. I do make mistakes, but I try not to pass them on to anyone. Tel #s: 818-952-8106; 818-618-7984 (cell). Email address is email@example.com. Want to add that I've just finished a book on experiences, lessons learned, etc, so check out my website at www.ordeshookantiques.com. I warn though that the text is constantly under revision as new lessons and experiences arise.
When I first saw this from a distance I assumed it was a weather vane .. but no, the horse has always been attached to the tin base. And since that base has the fragment of a hinge underneath, I assume it covered something on a roof. Be that as it may, its a great piece of 19th century folk art. The base measures approximately 29" x 12" whereas the sheet tin horse measures 23" x 19" and retains remnants of its original paint.
Offered here is this superb ca 1900 (or earlier) Around The World all hand quilted quilt that measures 81" x 67". In excellent condition, made of squares 1" on a side that works out to there being more than 5400 individual squares here ... a truly delicate example of this pattern. Interestingly, the border is a combination of treadle sewing and some of the tiniest most delicate hand stitching you will find on a quilt (see my last picture).
Offered here is this classic of American Folk Art .. a signed (Jesse W. Erisman, age 9) and dated (1855) oil on wood painting, with the notation that it was done by Jesse in Niantic Illinois. Measuring 20 3/4" x 14 1/2", the painting depicts, among other things, a man standing in the doorway of a broken windmill, a man fishing, several people boarding a small boat, two people carrying a bag of some sort, a log cabin, an assortment of other small buildings and animals .. and ... well, its just fantastic! An American original, and 100% untouched. If you are a serious collector of American Folk Art, this is a piece you should have.
Offered here is this ca 1870 miniature walnut 2-part stepback cupboard with upper glazed doors and dovetailed drawers. With measurements taken at the base, she measures 27 1/8" high x 17" wide x 10 3/4" deep. Can't say if the glass is original but it has enough wave to it to suggest that it is. Aside from the knob to one drawer being a replacement, there are three apologies ... the patch to an upper door at a hinge, a patch to a lower door at a hinge, and a repair done by me to the leading edge of the top of the base section .
Though generally acknowledged to be the richest industrial power of the 19th century, the United Kingdom was within that century overtaken on nearly all dimensions of wealth and productivity by the United States. Our interest here is not offering an explanation for how that was accomplished, but instead in identifying the processes of economic development that were either qualitatively or quantitatively unique to America and which left footprints reflected in the things we today classify as 18th and 19th century American antiques. What, for example, does the fact of hand stitched quilts as a quintessential American folk art form tell us about how or why America developed as it did in comparison to Europe and the UK? What do we learn about the unique elements of America’s economic growth from its manufacture of apple peelers and cast iron stoves? Give me your email and I will send you a free PDF copy of this 28 page essay.
Here is a rarity ... an all wood (except for the iron axial of the wheel) firehouse / fireman's 19th century hose winder. And the paint is 100% original. She measures 29" high x 20 1/4" deep, with a wheel diameter of 28". There are no broken or replacement parts ... incredible condition for something that most likely dates to the 1860s or 70s. A heads up, though: It doesn't disassemble so shipping FedEx ground would run in the vicinity of $200.
Here is a wonderful American School (19th century) oil on canvas hunting landscape with Daniel Boone like trailblazing figure with musket and powder horn, with his four hunting dogs at the side of a dead stag, signed to the lower right J. MEADE (from Maine, United States). The canvas in its original silver gilded frame, fastened by the original hand cut wrought iron square nails (it has never been out). Dimensions 14 x 20in; framed 24 1/4 x 18 1/4in. The painting is in excellent condition, no major issues, craquelure throughout as expected. The original silver gilt frame too in great shape is a bonus to the folky deer hunt subject. My only apology is a scuff to the upper center of the canvas, but nothing major, measuring approximately 1 1/2".
Offered here is an excellent American Theorem painting on velvet, first half 19th century, probably of Maine or Northeast origin. In stunning condition, minimal wear overall. The back with possibly the original signature and greeting inscribed in pencil, "Miss Nancy Dulton Ellsworth ME" (Maine), this is now cut out and re-attached to the back of the new framing. Height 18in (45cm); width 22in (55cm); framed 25 3/4 x 28 3/4in. Condition is great, and better than most other examples you often see. Some light brownish toning to areas of velvet as seen in the photographs. No apparent damages, in-painting or repairs. Professionally framed, matted and glazed.
a single sided wood framed on tin trade sign advertising Peter's Press (whoever that might have been), she's 100% original without touchups to the paint, etc. Measuring 33 1/4" x 19 3/4" x 1 1/8", if I had to date her I'd say 1920s or 30s based on the lettering style.
This is simply one spectacular and monumental example of early 20th C Tramp Art ... a 5-drawer jewelry or trinket box (and calling it a box does it no justice) that stands appx 22" high (x 16" wide x 10 1/2" deep). With 7 levels to the drawer faces and 8 to the sides, she's in overall superb condition with the one exception of the missing side handle to the left side of the top tier. Notice in particular now the somewhat unusual quality of the chip carving ... more than the common triangular chips, they're actually slanted ovals interspersed with small cuts. Made with better quality wood that usual for tramp art, the only identifying mark I can find on the piece is the bottom of the top drawer that leads me to conjecture an American origin.
Here is an oil on canvass painting of a Midwest homestead signed N.M Thomas and dated 1886. A sod roof outbuilding (see my second picture) offers a symbolic narrative of the pioneering spirit of the early American pioneers. One suspects that the sod building was the original homestead used before the farm house shown in my 3rd picture. The painting is in very good condition though glued down to a sheet of Masonite, and measures 24” by 14”.
Yes, it's lost some height ... I'd guess between 1 to 2" (current seat height is 15 1/2"). BUT, just look at that crest rail ... if it isn't one-of-a-kind, its only because its maker made more than one. All cherry except for the ash or chestnut turned stretchers, so odds are it was never painted. Almost surely New England in origin, but I can't pin it down more than that (although if forced to make a guess, I'd say Connecticut). Seat most likely isn't original, but it's real rush so probably 19th century. As for dimensions, she's 21 1/4" across the front, 15" deep, 44 1/4" high.
Offered here is this Massachusetts (North Shore or Boston) tilt top mahogany candlestand with a serpentine top. She stands 26 3/4" high, with a top that measures 23" diagonal corner to corner (appx 16 3/4" square) with an appx toe-to-toe spread of 16 3/4" to the feet. Beautifully formed with no repairs whatsoever, she bears an early and possibly original surface and is thus in original untouched condition.
Not sure, of course, whether this is schoolboy or schoolgirl folk art, but it is unique. A 19th C watercolor that's animated by the pulling of strings. Pull one string in back and the two men will move together or back to their respective houses. Pull another string and the shade to the upper right window rises or falls. And pull a third string and the chimney sweep rises from or drops into the chimney. All obviously hand crafted, drawn and colored. Framed in a ca 1840 mahogany veneered frame it measures 13 1/2" x 12 1/2" with sight dimensions beneath the new matting of 6 1/2" x 5".
Offered here is this late 18th or early 19th century two-candle "table model" adjustable tin table model candle stand. Overall height is 29 1/2", diameter of the weighted cone base is 6 1/2" and spread on the arms of the candle holder is appx 10". Both candle sockets are pushups. The candle holder arms are actually made in 3 pieces ... two arms and a center leather ring that connects to the two arms. It was that leather ring that originally provided the friction that held the arms in place together at whatever height was chosen. Over time, though, that ability, due to wear, was lost, so I inserted an additional felt washer that is invisible but provides the necessary friction so that the candle holder operates as intended. There appears to be some spot soldering repairs, but nothing obtrusive and the candle holder is otherwise wholly original.
Herbert Mills (b. 1878, d. 1948) is buried in the military cemetery in San Antonio Texas and served as a 1st Lt in WWI. These five folk art carvings are all, with the exception of the WWI doughboy, signed "Herbert Mills San Antonio Texas ca 1928". One can presume that the doughboy (9 1/4" h) is Mills himself whereas the largest carving (10 7/8") is Punch from Punch & Judy. The man (10" h) reminds me of those cartoon-like drawings hanging on the walls of various restaurants corresponding to the celebrities who frequented that establishment from time to time. In any event, offered as a set ...
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