Halsey Munson Americana
204 North Summit Avenue
Decatur, Illinois 62522
All rights reserved.
Extremely Rare Tole Candle Sconce
Signed early 19th C. paint-decorated tinned sheet iron candle sconce. Less than 1% of all American painted tinware is signed. The initials are those of the decorator, thus far unidentified. The tinware industry had its start in Berlin, CT with the Pattison family. They trained both tinsmiths and decorators who usually went on to establish their own tinshops, sometimes, like the North family, in Fly River, NY, west of Cooperstown. Stephen North, trained in tinsmithing and painted decoration in the style of Berlin, CT, grew a successful smithing operation and trained his children in the styles he had learned. Martin and Tucker in their exhaustive 4 volume American Painted Tinware show a decorative form identical to the backplate decoration on this sconce on p. 21 of Volume One. But then on pp. 84-91 they illustrate a ropework form from the North tinshop that, although somewhat more vertical, is essentially similar to Berlin style. So this sconce could be original Berlin work, executed between 1740 and 1850, or North tinshop work produced between 1790 and 1841. Whichever, a signed piece of American toleware in this condition is almost unprecedented.