19th Century Painted Marionette Theater Prop

This may be one of the most unusual pieces of Folk Art we have come across. This wooden piece is two towers attached to a base supporting a double lever mechanism. By depressing the upper arm 4 1/2 inches the lower arm (hook) raises by 2 inches. There is a fancy brass pin that holds the upper arm down half way, raising the lower arm and hook just 1 inch. Based on the decoration to the piece, we believe this was used as a marionette theater.

The structure is all wood with typical 19th century hardware, including the smith-made hook and a fancy brass pin to hold the upper arm. It measures 33 inches long by 23 inches tall and 8 1/2 inches wide at the feet. The construction is mortise and tenons with pins or wedges.

The original surface is a red wash with red, black and gold paint. The tops of the two towers are nicely shaped and gilded. On one are the initials P.W. and A.D. on one side and the date, 1867, on the other. The base has lozenge designs in gold and bordered in black on a red field.

The top lever carries an inventory tag marked Neumann & Vettin, Amsterdam, Fine Art Packers. It is reasonable to believe this piece was part of a larger shipment of folk art at some time. With this clue and the stylish design, we suspect this to be a Continental piece,possibly French.

Structurally it is in excellent condition with no losses and no repairs. There is some minor paint loss mainly to the base.

Item ID: FR0334

$475 USD

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As Good As Old

Doug Robinson, Lower Gwynedd, PA   

Quality Antiques, Folk Art and Collectibles.

Member since 2010

18th & early 19th century furniture and accessories. Folk Art. Wood working tools. As Good As Old gets.

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