Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 124: William Woolsey Inscribed Polychrome New York Map Powder Horn

Auction Date: May 14, 2021

Historic William Woolsey Inscribed Polychrome New York Map Powder Horn Attributed to "The Pointed-Tree Carver" with Documentation

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $6,500 - $9,500

Historic William Woolsey Inscribed Polychrome New York Map Powder Horn Attributed to "The Pointed-Tree Carver" with Documentation

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Gauge:
Barrel:
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Grip:
Stock:
Item Views: 1064
Item Interest: Average
Catalog Page: 121
Class: Other
Description:

In an included letter from Stephen Hench, this horn is attributed to an 18th century artist known to collectors as "the pointed-tree carver." Hench notes, "the horn is a 'period' horn with the highest quality of engraving." He also notes that the name on the horn was added by a second hand. Some horns were produced with blank panels for the owner's name to be added. A second letter from Walter O'Connor makes the same attribution and adds that the artist "most likely worked in England or Scotland. I have examined no less than 50 examples of his artistry. The majority depict New York State, some few Philadelphia and a handful Pittsburgh or Fort Pitt. . .All of the engraving on this horn with the exception of the owner's name, his crest, and the flourished around them is by the original engraver, the latter was added by another 18th century hand. . .I purchased it out of a Christies sale in London in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The base plug and patina/color are original." The horn features a variety of locations within colonial New York, including New York City near the base, as well as the coat of arms of the United Kingdom. The engraving is highlighted by black and reddish brown ink. While the sprout section and base style are different from some of the other "pointed-tree" carved horns, note the distinctive pointed trees that have given the artist their nickname. These are consistent with other known horns attributed to this artist. "WM WOOLSEY" is inscribed in a banner with floral motifs surrounding it and what looks like a mitre/grenadier cap above. There were multiple William Woolseys in 18th century colonial American, including multiple in New York. Among them is William Woolsey III (1742-1800) who appears to have served in both the French & Indian War and Revolution. His father of the same name was a reverend. Also included is a small display stand.

Rating Definition:

Exceptionally fine overall. The horn displays remarkably little wear. There is a slight gap between the edge of the horn and the base plug, mild scratches, a small void on the spout tip, and light aging. This is definitely an attractive, remarkable, and historic powder horn.



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