PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL, POSSIBLY ABRAHAM ELDRED (c.1794-1854)
PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL, POSSIBLY ABRAHAM ELDRED (c.1794-1854)
PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL, POSSIBLY ABRAHAM ELDRED (c.1794-1854)
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PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL, POSSIBLY ABRAHAM ELDRED (c.1794-1854)

A CUTWORK TRIBUTE TO ANDREW JACKSON

Details
PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL, POSSIBLY ABRAHAM ELDRED (c.1794-1854)
A CUTWORK TRIBUTE TO ANDREW JACKSON
cut within the work, Andrew Jackson/ Born March 15th 1767/ Junior Artillerist/ Head Quarters/ Jackson House/ J. Baker/ Philadelphia/ President of the United States/ March 4th 1829 & 1833 along with eight dated references to Jackson’s military and political life
Executed circa 1835
paper mounted over colored papers
15 1⁄4 x 19 3⁄8 in.
Provenance
Colonel Joseph Baker (c.1799-1843), New Jersey and Philadelphia
Sotheby's, New York, 27-30 January 1982, lot 974
David & Marjorie Schorsch, Inc., Greenwich, Connecticut
Acquired from above, February 1982
Literature
Deborah M. Child, “Tributes in Paper from the City of Brotherly Love,” Americana Insights (online journal), available at americanainsights.org (referenced).
Peter Goodman, Notebook, no. 749.

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Cara Zimmerman
Cara Zimmerman Head of Americana and Outsider Art

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Lot Essay

Painstakingly intricate, this cutwork is a testament to the precision, careful planning and patience of a convict possibly working while incarcerated in solitary confinement in a Philadelphia prison during the 1830s. As discussed by Deborah M. Child, this work is one of eighteen known executed by the same hand including examples in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Folk Art Museum and Winterthur Museum. The example offered here features four large floral rosettes, a distinctive border with small rosettes in the corners, and multi-colored paper backings, details seen on others from the group from the mid-1830s that contrast with the designs of earlier works from circa 1830. Drawing upon clues from family histories of others in the group, Child has postulated that the maker may have been Abraham Eldred (c.1794-1854), who was born in Long Island, trained as a weaver and from 1828 to his death in 1854, served numerous sentences in Philadelphia and later Baltimore for larceny and forgery (Deborah M. Child, “Tributes in Paper from the City of Brotherly Love,” Americana Insights (online journal), available at americanainsights.org).

Bearing the first owner’s name, “J. Baker,” this cutwork and one other made for “C. Baker” exhibit the highest degree of elaboration and at almost 20 inches wide are also the two largest of the group. Child identified these individuals as proprietors of Philadelphia taverns, Chalkley Baker (1793-1865) and Joseph Baker. Chalkley’s cutwork includes the name of his establishment, Jefferson Wigwam, and the names of the thirteen original colonies. Here, the cutwork displays the name of the tavern, Jackson House, along with “Junior Artillerists” and “Andrew Jackson” along with references to Jackson’s military and political successes. As noted by Child, Joseph Baker (c.1799-1843) operated Jackson House at 264 Race Street between 7th and 8th Streets from 1834 to 1843 when the tavern was the headquarters of the Junior Artillerists. Recounted in a newspaper article, Joseph erected a tavern sign in 1835 depicting General Jackson painted by Samuel Brewer (1810-1872) and it is probable that this cutwork was commissioned around the same time (“A Good Sign,” American Sentinel, July 23, 1835, p. 2).

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