FULL
SCREEN
     

Lot 134    

Rare New York Folk Art Family Record
4/12/2014 - Americana: Live Salesroom Auction
American (possibly New York), 2nd quarter of the 19th century. A family record on paper featuring watercolor and pastel illustrations of the twelve stages of human life with accompanying text, often Biblical verse, surrounding a red pillared archway enclosing the names and significant dates concerning the Thorp and Beebe family, with details of a drawn red curtain in the upper corners and flowering rose above the record chart; 17.5 x 13.25 in. (sight), 21.25 x 17.25 in. (frame).

In addition to being a wonderful piece of folk art, the detailed images of period dress and interiors, charming text and personal sentiment featured in this family record make it a fascinating historical document. Along the bottom of the record is written The Twelve Different Stages/ Of Human Life:/From the Cradle to the Grave. Beginning in the lower left and moving up and around the archway are twelve captioned illustrations of each stage. First is a mother and two young children in an interior, with the caption: Man is born to trouble as/the sparks fly upward (Job 5:7). The next image shows an adolescent boy and girl dancing, with the text A day added to this life is a/day taken from it. This is followed by an image of a young man in romantic pursuit of a young woman in blue, labeled along the bottom, This is the time when folly reigns and top, Beauty is a dangerous snare. In the next image, the man and woman are shown walking arm and arm with text along the top Here Love is steadily sincere, followed by a scene of the couple with a small child, This offspring needs our care. 
At the top of the arch, the man and woman, now in middle age, are seated together under the verse O may I feel another's woe,/And hide the fault I see./That mercy I to others show,/That mercy shew to me (Stanza 10 of Alexander Pope's The Universal Prayer of 1738).
The first four images on the right side show the couple growing increasingly older together, accompanied by the verses As down Life's rugged path we tread/Let's look and see the past/The sacred records here behold/This points us to our last/We are now ready to be offered/up and the time of our depar/ture is at hand (2 Timothy 4:6). The illustration in the lower right shows the couple lying in bed with an angel arriving, over the text Man goeth to his long home;/The mourners go about the street ?(Ecclesiastes 12:5).
Along the bottom of the archway is a larger illustration of the mourning procession carrying the coffins to the cemetery, along with the words Here the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at Rest. (Job 3:17). This image contains details of an owl, symbol of death and wisdom, and a gravestone reading There is/rest in/Heaven.
Contained within the archway is the text So teach us to number our Days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Psalm 90:12) and a three-columned chart, labeled Births, Marriages, Deaths. It lists the names and dates of twelve family members (including two listed outside of the arch) with the surnames Beebe and Thorp.

This piece was featured in a 2002 episode of the Antiques Roadshow filmed in Kansas City, Missouri, with the appraisal by Nancy Druckman. Druckman attributed the record to Ruby Devol Finch (American, Westport, Massachusetts, 1804-1866). Finch was active from 1831-1843. She is known for vivid, intimate portraits and family records, produced for members of her community. Most of her known subjects and the recipients of her work lived within ten miles of her. While Finch certainly created work in a similar style, the family listed here, headed by Isaac Beebe (1798-1875), has been traced from New York to Illinois, placing them outside of Finch's known sphere and making it unlikely that she was the artist behind this piece. The fact that it is unsigned adds to this doubt.  Based on an 1850 census, the Beebe family was in Lisbon, Illinois by at least 1846, at the birth of Elihu Burritt. There are several distinct handwritings and inks present on the record, suggesting that it was added to over a period of time. It is likely that the record was created in New York and traveled with the family.

The artist of the this record succeeds in capturing the spirit of the time. The illustrations and text present a nineteenth century perspective on the trajectory of life with all of its challenges, triumphs and inevitable ending, imbued all the way through with religious devotion. The story of the man and woman in the illustrations is told with warmth and humor, assisted by perfectly chosen verses to accompany each stage. The personal trajectories of each family member are centrally listed, relating each one of their life journeys to the arc of life as presented in the images. The sophisticated rendering of the arch of classical columns and blooming rose lends structure and elegance to the composition, while the drawn curtains cleverly present the piece as a drama for the viewer.

This record functions simultaneously as a wonderful piece of American folk art and a memento of a historical period, with personal touches from the hand of both the artist and owner(s), the charming imperfections of misspellings, text running into margins and the addition of names in available space as a family grew.


Condition:  
Water damage across paper. Rubbing of pastel in top left and right corners.
Sold: $9,600.00
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
      Ask a Question

All Images

Early Candlestand
Lot # 842 - Early Candlestand
An early painted candlestand, with a one-board shaped top in pine over a baluster stem, resting on a round platform with three wedge doweled and splayed legs; ht. 30, wd. 19.75, dp. 12.75 in. > Item Details
Ohio Sewer Tile End Of Day Planter
Lot # 286 - Ohio Sewer Tile End Of Day Planter
American (Ohio), 19th century. A two handled sewer tile end of day planter with a circling floral decoration relief, and incised geometric patterns. Includes flower frog; ht. 11 in. > Item Details
Amethyst Glass Store Canister
Lot # 24 - Amethyst Glass Store Canister
American, late 19th-early 20th century. A blown amethyst glass store canister of cylindrical form, having a flared rim and a pontil scar on the underside; ht. 8.75 in. > Item Details
Hepplewhite Chest of Drawers
Lot # 782 - Hepplewhite Chest of Drawers
American, 19th century. A Hepplewhite chest of drawers in mahogany, having a rectangular top with reeded edge, over four graduated and dovetailed drawers, on French feet; ht. 40, wd. 42.25, dp. 22 in. > Item Details
Midwestern Stoneware Jar
Lot # 300 - Midwestern Stoneware Jar
American, 19th century. A small stoneware jar, possibly from Indiana; ht. 6.25 in. > Item Details
Group of Redware
Lot # 240 - Group of Redware
American, 19th century. A group of three glazed redware jars of various sizes and shapes; tallest 5.5 in. > Item Details
Union Village Shaker One-Drawer Work Table
Lot # 146 - Union Village Shaker One-Drawer Work Table
American (Ohio), 19th century. A fine  Shaker one-drawer work table in walnut, having a two-board top, over one long drawer, on block and turned tapered legs; ht. 29, wd. 36, dp. 23 in. > Item Details
Midwestern Glass Pitchers and Creamer
Lot # 724 - Midwestern Glass Pitchers and Creamer
American (Midwestern), 19th century. An assembled group consisting of a green blown glass pitcher, an aqua blown glass creamer, and a clear glass mold-blown pitcher; largest ht. 7 in. > Item Details
Baltimore Stenciled Cane-seated Bench
Lot # 379 - Baltimore Stenciled Cane-seated Bench
American (Baltimore, Maryland), 19th century. A late Classical Baltimore cane-seated bench with gilt stenciling and paint on the crest rail, seat rail and on the heavily turned legs; lg. 82, seat ht. 18 in.  > Item Details
Staffordshire <i>Texian Campaigne</i> Plate and Bowl, Plus
Lot # 94 - Staffordshire Texian Campaigne Plate and Bowl, Plus
English, 19th century. A historic green and purple transfer-decorated Staffordshire plate and bowl depicting two officers on horseback fighting within a smoke filled battle scene, the undersides marked Texian Campaigne within a cartouche and having the initials JB, the plate also marked with a 3 in ... > Item Details
 Union Village Shaker Curly Maple Chest of Drawers
Lot # 179 - Union Village Shaker Curly Maple Chest of Drawers
American (Ohio), 19th century.  A figured maple and pine secondary chest of six graduated drawers all with scratch beading, wooden knobs, rising on arched bracket feet; ht. 55, wd. 47.5,  dp.  25  in. A penultimate example of Union Village craftsmanship.  For a rela... > Item Details
Unusual Stoneware Vessels
Lot # 307 - Unusual Stoneware Vessels
American, 19th century. An assembled group of five unusual stoneware vessels, including a ring flask, a chicken waterer stamped Dalton Pottery, a jar incised Last Cargo Clay / July 6, 1860, a glue pot, and a flower frog, all having glazed surfaces; largest ht. 8.25, ring flask dia. 8 in. (not includ... > Item Details
Miniature Sheraton Grain-Painted Five Drawer Chest
Lot # 74 - Miniature Sheraton Grain-Painted Five Drawer Chest
American, 19th century. A miniature Sheraton grain-painted chest in pine having two drawers over three graduated drawers, all drawers dovetailed, paneled sides, and turned feet; ht. 24.5, lg. 24.75, dp. 13.75 in. > Item Details
Pair of Miniature Egg Baskets
Lot # 336 - Pair of Miniature Egg Baskets
American. A pair of small split oak or hickory baskets, one in robin's egg blue; largest ht. 6.5 in. > Item Details
Paint Decorated Trinket Box
Lot # 210 - Paint Decorated Trinket Box
American (probably New York), 19th century. A trinket box in wood with faux tortoise-shell patina with a small handle, having a removable with a painted decoration of a flower and leaves, and interior covered with red paper, marked on underside of lid with illegible handwriting; ht. 1.9, w... > Item Details
<i>L. Norton & Son</i> Stoneware Jar
Lot # 189 - L. Norton & Son Stoneware Jar
American, 19th century. A stoneware jar by L. Norton & Son of Bennington, Vermont, decorated with an ochre tulip design and having applied handles, stamped L. Norton & Son; ht. 9 in. > Item Details
Group of Gaudy Ironstone
Lot # 400 - Group of Gaudy Ironstone
English, 19th century. A group of four gaudy ironstone plates with floral patterns. Two marked Davenport, one marked Stone China No. 6, and one marked New Stone; largest dia. 10.25 in. > Item Details
Architectural Dragon Scupper
Lot # 321 - Architectural Dragon Scupper
American, 20th century. A metal scupper in the form of a dragon's head with waterspout at the mouth and wooden base piece for attachment; lg. 14 in. > Item Details
Historical Staffordshire Mugs of American Interest
Lot # 100 - Historical Staffordshire Mugs of American Interest
English, 19th century. An assembled group of three pieces of transferware pottery, including a black transferware jar with historic military scenes titled The March, Whom Are You For, and Royal Standard, a Civil War mug depicting a soldier, and a mug with the lyrics of the song A Sailor's LIfe&#... > Item Details
Paint-Decorated Dome-Top Box
Lot # 114 - Paint-Decorated Dome-Top Box
American, 19th century. A dome-top box in pine, painted in a lattice design with red and yellow pigments, having wire hinges; ht. 13.75, wd. 23.5, dp. 15.5 in. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: