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Nautical Sextant
Identified Maker & Owner

Ca. 3rd quarter, 19th century. 

 A sextant is used to determine latitude and longitude while at sea by measuring the angle between the horizon and a celestial body such as the sun, the moon, or a star.

The wooden case gives us much information. It bears inside the label of DUREN and COSTIGAN, New York City, the makers of the sextant. The case was painted for (or by) Walter Norton Avery (1821-1900) who was the owner of the ship (a schooner) and probably its captain as well. Avery, a resident of New Haven, CT, owned at least two ships: the “Ella H. Barnes” and the “Belle”. It is likely that one of these ships is that illustrated.

The sextant is in superb condition, yet what really elevates it is the folk art painted case. Very dry, patinated surface showing the ship and/or captain’s name above an illustration of his ship. Case max dimensions about 14 5/8 inches long x 13 wide. Wood loss just below and to the left of the ‘W’ in Walter, and the bottom edge of the lower front. A remarkable survivor given its shipboard use. Provenance includes Stephen-Douglas; private NH collection. 

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Little Red Painted Bowl Classic Form  

New England, ca. 1800.
Lathe-turned, original bone-dry red paint, with black paint highlighting the rim and the foot, on what appears to be chestnut. Classic form with turned foot and rim that stand proud. Well shrunken out of round, to an oval with pronounced “potato-chipping” without cracking. Tiny inconsequential hole added in period for hanging. Underneath tool marks showing clean up from lathe connection as expected for this form.
About 7 x 7 ¼ inch diameter x 2 tall. Nice for stand-alone or nesting.

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A Really Good Pictorially Paint Decorated
Folk Art Box pending

Likely New England, ca. 1820-1840.

Untouched patinated original paint on pine. The lid with a woman in flowing dress, suggesting wind-blown, paddling or poling a small, unusual boat, with even more unusual pole, on a river below falls and a grand house on a hill. Is she fleeing the house, or just out for a recreational punt?

The sides with mustard-yellow paint with scalloped border with a beautiful flowering rose bush on the back, berries on the ends, and a simple leaf on the front. Fitted interior of open compartments, perhaps for jewelry. Very appealing soft dry surface. Fine condition with expected dings, early loss of left edge corner. Also, this is subtle: having been 20 years in a very dry desert home, the lid has shrunk slightly such that it doesn’t fully close (with normal humidity it may). Nice and clean inside with original lock and hinges.

About 14 ½ inches wide x 8 ¼ deep x 6 3/8 tall. Provenance:

The Tom and Carolyn Porter Collection, Garths, 2004 (said to be one of Carolyn’s favorite pieces); private Western collection. 

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Carved Ash Burl Shallow Serving
Bowl or Dish

Probably New York State, ca. 1820-1840. Carved in the oval from one piece of ash burl.

Exceedingly rare form, if not a unique survivor.
Elaborate carved “gadrooned” rim that curls outward and downward. The dish is supported by a sturdy foot with carved edges that show smooth wear from frequent use. Although appearing lightweight it is actually very robust. Superb condition retaining the original richly-colored amber-shellac surface on the top; unvarnished and dry underneath.

About 9 inches long x 6 ¾ wide x 1 ¾ tall. See North American Burl Treen, Steve Powers, page 20 for a related carved bowl.

Provenance: label underneath of Alberta Aradine, Churchville, NY (a western Rochester suburb); Adrian Morris Antiques, East Aurora, NY.; private Southern collection.

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Choice Diminutive Antique Gameboard. Sublime Surface

Probably New England, ca. 1840.
I love this piece!
An early gameboard, not one of the many later examples. Original paint with remarkable surface on hand-planed pine. Warm, mellow, almost glowing squares of mustard and red, wrapped within a deep dark border. Initialed M. A. L. Picture frame molding held with cut (square) nails. Original hanging ring.

Tight, crisp, clean. The best gameboard I have handled in some time. Feels good in hand.

Sweet and unusually small size of just about 12 ¼ inches square x 1 1/8 thick. From a private midwestern collection. 

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Portrait Miniature Signed Justus DaLee.
dated 1841.

Likely the area around Rochester, NY. Watercolor and ink on card. The back inscribed: “Taken in 1841 by J. DaLee”.
The woman shown in ¾ length profile seated in a Hitchcock-style chair. Long ago the card lightly (spot) laid down on paper, likely to accommodate the larger frame size, which may be the first framing of the portrait.

Justus DaLee was a musician in the War of 1812, a father of ten children, and was a “Side Portrait” itinerant painter of portrait miniatures for over 20 years working in Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. Dated examples from Pittsford NY (a suburb of Rochester) are known from 1841/42. Frame size about 6 5/8 inches x 5 5/8.

Has not been on the market since acquired privately by a collector in the 1960’s.

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The ROGER BACON Hanging Wall Box 

New England, ca. 1800, with complex bone-dry deeply patinated original red paint on pine.

Pictured on the cover of the legendary dealer Roger Bacon’s auction catalogue, Skinner, 1982.

Roger Bacon (Brentwood, NH) a prominent dealer in primitive rural country objects, heralded untouched surfaces, enthusiastically echoing John Kirk’s “buy it ratty and leave it alone”. This humble wall box is a survivor, with a lifetime of blemishes, and an old nailed-on section of pine added to the lower back to cover an ancient, ragged hole. Bacon valued repairs as having aesthetic merit. A double-box, with nailed joinery, it cants markedly backward from the base to the top.

About 13 ½ inches tall x 7 deep at the base x 3 ¼ deep at the top x 11 ¼ wide. From a fine private Northeast collection.

A SIGNATURE PIECE for an early collection.


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Brilliant Folk Art
Hooked Rug
Probably Northeast,
Civil War period
ca. 1860-1870.

Wools and cottons.

Clearly the maker loved flowers. Fortunately for us she also had the vision and the skill to transform that love into art. Not formulaic like so many, but unique, from her own imagination. She used fragments of repurposed materials, likely scraps from worn-out clothing or discarded by weaving mills. The result is a folk art triumph with timeless elegance that also fits a simple modern aesthetic, making it a perfect fit for both historic or contemporary homes. I can’t adequately describe what she created better than your own eyes can see, so I will not try.

Professionally mounted and ready to hang. About 53 inches tall x 32 wide. This authentic antique folk art thriller will transform your room , as it did mine, with boldness, color, and a soft texture. .

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Life-Size Double Portrait by Joseph Goodhue Chandler

Inscribed on the back: "Painted for Victoria A. and Virginia R. Wilder aged 6 years/by J.G. Chandler February 1848"..... 

Important Provenance includes: Hirschl & Adler; Leigh Keno; pictured and discussed in the Highly Important Americana from the Stanley Paul Sax Collection, Sotheby's, January, 1998; prominent Midwest Collection.

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