Powder horns are fascinating historic artifacts with a wide range of attributes. Some were carved by hunters and soldiers while in camp and provide insight into the lives and thoughts of men from the past, and others like this one were carved by professional horners, gunsmiths, and other tradesmen and provide insight into artisans of the era and in this case the key settlements and water ways of an important region. This elaborate horn has renditions of Albany and New York City complete with ships in the harbor towards the bottom, the Hudson River Valley along with lakes and various settlements mapped out along the length, the St. Laurence near the beginning of the throat, the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom over martial motifs on the side, a stepped down contrasting throat section with three raised rings. The designs have black outlines and reddish brown shading. The included "Gun Collection Inventory" record from John S. du Mont indicates this horn was purchased by du Mont from Herman Dean around 1950, traded off in 1957 to R. Edels, and quickly purchased back in 1958. The horn is pictured and discussed in the book "American Engraved Powder Horns: The Golden Age, 1755/1783" by Du Mont in plate 56, and his inventory record also directs readers to page 25 and 26 and plate IV and XXXVI of "American Powder Horns" by Granscay. The horn is very similar to the one on the right in plate IV and drawn out in XXXVI. There are some differences, but much of the overall design is very similar with minor changes. Note the ships in New York Harbor are very similar, but this horn has an additional ship. These horns may have been based on a pattern or partially copied based on one or the other. They are likely by different craftsmen given differences in how each horner spelled river and other words. John du Mont's inventory record closes with a note that summarizes this horn nicely: "A professionally engraved horn of the finest workmanship. A Gem."
Very fine. The horn has a pleasing yellow aged tone on the background of the body, attractive darker brown throat, some cracks and chips mainly in the throat and edge of the base. The designs and writing remains very legible aside from a few spots of wear. This is an incredible powder horn sure to add considerable value to any collection.
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