Art has always been a part of our lives. Born and raised in rural Ohio, our earliest memories are attending auctions and farm sales with our parents. I remember looking at a benner weathervane with my father when I was five or six years old, and later walking plowed fields with my family looking for arrowheads. Even while a student at Ohio Wesleyan, Rose Anna continued to attend sales with her parents.
This love that both of us have for old things is both artistic in nature as well as driven by a desire to understand the past, how people thought, and how they lived. We both believe that things from the past provide an insight into their creativitity.
For example, Mother Watson counseling her son, (lot 859), "Even though you are now an officer of the court, remember there is a higher authority." The pride of the Pennsylvania German craftsmen, such as, Jacob Hoff and Henry Noll, is in boldly signing theur work (lots 671 and 784). Dedication to his Germanic heritage is probably best exemplified in the phil-plot decorated pie plate (lot 626) signed Willoughby Smith, Womelsdorf.
We continue to be amazed at the creative expression of those so young, as exemplified in the New England sampler, signed Elizabeth Eland, age 12 (lot 795).
Sometimes we don't know who the artist was, like the artist who decorated the flat powderhorn (lot 785).
One of the great things about collecting Americana is peering through the window of America's past. And the experience of learning our own history.
John and Rose Anna