Americana from Wild Geese Farm
Lore Moore has been a collector and dealer of Early American antiques, folk art, furniture and housewares for 60 years. She and husband Lundi were the founders of California Country, the West Coast's premier American antique show, held biannually for twenty years under the oaks at the History House in Los Altos, California. ~~~ Lore has always been particularly attracted to the homely arts of the "distaff side" -- the woman's world of hearth and heart. Each treasure in Lore's collection connects across the centuries to a man or woman creating by hand their best expression of the comforts of home. ~~~ Unless otherwise noted, all paint was applied by the original folk artist. To see more of Lore's collection, visit https://www.wildgeesefarm.com
Was it just the impossibility of it that prompted this New England fellow to carve out — from a single block of wood — a seamless box for his lady? Because for a lady it must have been made when it was decorated so cheerily with birds and flowers on a background of burnt red. ~~ The tightly-fitting lid has carefully tapered edges that slide into the grooves carved to hold it. A single notch dips down in the front face of the box — a pour spout for whatever was meant to be held so securely in this bowl of a box. What precious ingredient did it contain? No trace remains. ~~ This wee treasure chest measures 5 1/2” long by 3” wide and 3 1/2” tall.
This beautiful, delicate box glows with the golden hues and swirling patterns of curly maple. The top has the gentlest curve on its leading edge so that a thumb brushed upwards can easily catch it to open it up. ~~ Embedded into a carefully carved depression is an equally carefully carved sperm whale fashioned from whale ivory — a miniature precursor to Melville’s behemoth from a half century later. ~~ The box is 4 1/2“ by 3” by 1 3/4” — a tiny gem. It has a small fault on its bottom, as shown in the pictures.
Consider the wagon seat. In its function, it must be sturdy enough to take the jostling of pitted roads and primitive axels. It must have sides to prevent spills. Beyond that, everything is in the art of the maker. ~~ This little beauty was made (as wagon seats often were) to be removable so that the wagon could be used for larger loads, as witnessed by the rub marks on the sides. The maker used the entire width of his support board slotted into his sides to provide strength, and yet took the time to curve it softly. The side pieces are rounded at the tops to prevent hard-corner injuries, and those arcs are cunningly echoed in their feet. ~~ Then the whole was painted with such quiet finesse — a soft gray-green that paint-makers call “raindrop” or “reflecting pool,” trimmed with a daffodil yellow and defining black. Just think of the beauty of the wagon of which this was a part. Add a feather-stuffed pillow and it is the very essence of country elegance.
A hinged-lid mustard tole box, this little tin fellow was painted with noteworthy beauty. A spray of red roses graces its top while the front and sides are defined with meticulous black painted details — a swag with tassels across the face, and fine lines and arches on the sides. ~~ The clasp is hinged and its partner bellied enough to hold a lock. But what thing locked-away inside could be more valuable than the box itself?
Imported from Mother England 250 years ago, these two sturdy candlesticks have a delightful almost-Puritanical severity to them. They get the job done. Yes, ma’am! ~~ They do not tip. They do not spill wax. They adjust in height. And they do not sport any fripperies or gee-gaws aside from the requisite BHA — Brass Height Adjuster. They are black, erect, and fully functional. ~~ That is all. ~~ Base diameter — 6”; wax catcher diameter — 4”; height — 9 1/2”. Shaft of one has two small dings as shown. (Candles not included.)
Once upon a time, Craftsmen made tool boxes, and they none of them, not one, looked alike. They weren't made of cheap metal; they weren't full of lilght-weight drawers that pulled off their tracks. They were handmade—one by one—by the same fellows who filled them with oiled tools and wooden pegs and square-headed nails that were made—one by one. ~~ Like this one. Simple yet effective. Made with a cut-out handle softened and rounded by rasp and file and then years of sturdy hands grasping it. Fitted with a little dove-tailed drawer to hold all the small things, secured with a hasp. ~~ And painted, of course -- this one in a dignified red, black and white in a fool-the-eye pattern that imitates panelling. ~~ 26" long by 12" wide by 4 3/8" tall (6" to the top of the handle). Drawer: 10 1/2" x 6" by 2".
Found in a New Jersey antique shop in the middle of the last century, this Civil War bentwood drum fought for the North. ~~ It has its original drumhead and its original brass fittings, although it was restrung with new rope in the late 1940s. Fitted with a black glass tabletop and four tapered legs, it now does duty as a side table, quiescent after its history of fire and fury. ~~ It stands 23 1/4" tall and is 18" in diameter. The glass top bears the small scratches of 75 years of service.
Just about the time the Founding Fathers were putting together the Constitution, some young lady was painting the last heart and flower on this hope chest — because Hope deserves a chest as beautiful as this. At 20" long by 13 5/8" wide and 10 1/2" tall at the top of the curve, this charming chest was ample enough to hold the linens and coverlet that would keep our whimsical young artist and her lucky husband warm and cosy in their new home.
This beautiful baby still smiles with pink cheeks and intelligent eyes—all captured by a talented itinerant artist more than two centures ago. Every gather in her soft linen gown, every bead in the coral necklace her careful parents draped around 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 backgound 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" by 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.
The raised decorative node on the shaft of these candlesticks gives them their charming "wedding ring" descriptive. Their macabre resemblance to a tool used in the butchering of hogs gives them their less cheery "hogscraper" descriptive. Somebody back then had an infectious black sense of humor -- maybe an early Addams? ~~ The taller of this mismatched pair is 8", its base 4 3/8" in diameter, and is priced at $78. The smaller of the pair is 7 1/2" tall, with a 3 3/4" diameter, and is priced at $95. $166 for both together. (Candles not included.)
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