Tuesday, August 19, 2014

19th Century Pennsylvania Chalkware

Remember paint-by-numbers kits? Or hook rugs? Or even shrinky-dinks? (Yes, I am dating myself as a child of the 1970s)Well, Pennsylvania chalkware was the 19th-Century version of do-it-yourself fun. These plaster figures would be peddled door-to-door in their white, unfinished state.  The "fun" was in adding your own paint decoration -- and guessing from the primitive, rather na├»ve painting on most chalkware, I'm guessing a lot of the artists were kids.

Chalkware figures are so innocent and absolutely charming.  Linda Rosen Antiques features several on her site, including the deer (below), which is not a form I see too often. Love his lopsided eyes.

Bridlehurst Farm (via DigAntiques) sells these two precious spaniels -- kind of like Staffordshire gone country primitive.

More darling forms from Summerhill Gallery, via Trocadero.  I really like the Amish-style touches along the base of the sheep and the sides of the squirrel.

Also at Trocadero, Susequehanna Antiques Company features a very sweet rabbit:

 . . . and for the biggest grand-daddy of them all, The Sign of The Whale Antiques offers this amazing BIG chalkware mastiff.  I've never seen this form before -- and I'm in love with the expression on his face!

I wish I could say that old owl hook-rug I made in 7th grade was as delightful as these figures . . . but let's face it: it's ugly!

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