Leslie Antiques: English Georgian Glass, Porcelain, Miniature Painting Leslie Antiques Ltd.

Striking Tinsel Foil Painting of Birds c1875

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Folk Art: Pre 1900: Item # 1335049

Please refer to our stock # a1502 when inquiring.
Leslie Antiques Ltd.
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New York, New York 10128

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A large and exceptional example of fine American tinsel or foil painting featuring a pair of pheasants on branches, surrounded by a wreath of flowers. The scene has the rare "snowflake" type of background. Although tinsel painting was at its height in America from 1850 to 1890 the snowflake technique appears to have been done primarily in the 1870's period.

The sight size is 19 5/8" by 15 3/4", with a framed size of 23 1/4" by 19 1/4". The condition is excellent, with no cracks or breaks, nor any paint lifting or loss to speak of. The frame and wooden backboard are original.

NOTE: Between September 12, 2012 and January 13, 2013 the American Folk Art Museum held an exhibit on this art form. The following is excerpted from the catalog of that exhibition:

"Tinsel paintings are reverse paintings on glass with smooth or crumpled metallic foil applied behind translucent and transparent areas; when viewed in candlelight or gaslight, the effect was one of shimmering highlights. In the first half of the 19th century, tinsel painting was taught to young women whose parents were dedicated to providing refined education for their daughters and paid for such special classes. By the mid- to late 19th century, the art had expanded outside the school curriculum, and instructions proliferated in books and were advertised in women’s magazines. Its origins are related to forms developed in Renaissance Italy, 18th-century China and France, and 19th-century Austria, England, and Germany. Floral imagery predominates, as botanical copy prints and patterns were often employed."