This is one of my current favorites. I love, love, love the perspective of the rather large woman driving her buggy, with it’s single seat and four small wheels, drawn by two very small horses. The lady’s clothing says 1820s with her dresses puffed and stuffed gigot sleeves and the belt at her natural waist. Her “poke” bonnet has a very long brim that shades her face from the sun and it is adorned with green ribbons. She wears gloves, gold bracelets and a gold buckle. She holds the reins in her left hand and a buggy whip in the other. Her little grey dog (Chihuahua or a small Terrier) stands excitedly with his front feet on the buggy’s foot board. I can hear him barking the horses on—can’t you? Both dog and horses have red and white floral wreaths around their necks and vivid blue bows at the root of their tails. The detail in this painting is well-thought and well-drawn.
It is a happy painting. But the thing that makes me the happiest is the funny perspective of tiny horses. These do not look like ponies, but tiny horses. There is a very remote possibility that they are Miniature Horses, but minis were not introduced to America until late 19th century and there were very few minis in America until the 1960s. In my mind, the size of these horses is pure folk art! Housed in a wonderful period stamped brass over wood frame that measures 8” x 6”. The corners of the frame are wrapped with a strip of stamped brass. I’ve not noticed this kind of construction on brass frames before. The painting has expected, minor toning and a small, light water stain at the bottom edge that starts right behind the front wheels and runs towards the lower right corner. It is not noticeable. Tucked in behind the painting is a page out of a Pennsylvania newspaper dated March 16, 1792, and mentioning Philadelphia and two towns in Lancaster County. The newspaper is obviously earlier than the painting but I tucked it back into the frame after adding conservation materials. I don’t know why the paper was stuffed into the frame but the painting is likely from Pennsylvania. American School, circa 1820. This is one of those gems that you seldom find these days. Don’t miss adding it to your collection!
Ex-Collection of Carolyn and Tom Porter