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Author Topic:   Weather vane
ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 03-17-2019 11:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A wooden cow with a pewter tail recently sold at auction. (See image/quote below). The cataloger wondered in the description if the dairy farmer melted down some of the family pewter spoons to shape into a tail for the cow.

This humble portrayal of a family piece reminded me of a description in an old Natchez silver catalog from 1970. Here they described the Gorham marks as pseudo-hallmarks and in a like manner to the speculative pewter tail story wondered if a slave named Ezekiel really was the maker of the silver beaker.


Research has come a long way since this 1970 Natchez silver exhibition. I am surprised however how much speculation seems to still continue to creep into description of objects and how they were made.

quote:

Holstein Cow
American School, 19th century
carved and polychromed wood and pewter
Height 22 1/2 in. by Length 34 1/2 in.
second half-19th century
Eastern United States


Catalogue Note:
This unique carved wooden vane depicts a Holstein dairy cow, the world's most productive milk producer and a favorite of farmers in the northeastern U.S. to this day. The maker was probably a dairy farmer who owned a herd of Holsteins, and the completely different black and white patterns he painted on either side of the vane suggest he may have been creating a portrait of a specific animal. The cow's thin tail is pewter, a malleable alloy of tin that was widely used to make tableware from the Bronze Age into the late nineteenth century. One wonders if the maker of this vane melted down a couple of the family's spoons to shape into his cow's tail.


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