Monday, November 17, 2014

George Brown Early American Toys and Sketches

Wednesday, November 19,2014
Mainly sunny, seasonally cold

George Brown
Early American Toys and Sketches

   If you happen to be reading this post on Monday (November 17), you're fortunate. Today's weather is overcast with rain and snow, so I decided to stay indoors. I', also waiting for the plasters to come to work with the interior of our renovated "sunroom". It's ironic that they'd be returning today with the terrible weather. 

The sketches were scanned from:

George Brown

Edited with an Introduction, by
Edith F.Barnholtz

A Collectors Imprint Edition

The Pyne Press

Copyright © by The Pyne Press
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 70-146210
ISBN  0-87861-000-6
First Edition

The book is a reproduction of the original sketches that were created by Mr. George Brown. There's a brief, but excellently-written introduction by Edith F. Barnholtz. The introduction describes the images very nicely and the book contains  65 pages of superbly-reproduced watercolours with their accompanying descriptions on the opposite page. The pages are heavy stock with a yellow-amber colour replicating that "old appearance" one gets as older books age.

The drawings and of course the toy production were probably done, according to 
Edith F. Barnholtz in the 1860's and 1870's. This is based on the fact that many of these toys were patented during those times. 

The size of the pages  in the original book are21 " x 15 " ( 533 mm x 381 mm), while the book that was reproduced by  the Pyne Press is 14" (Height) x  10 5/8" (Width) or 355 mm x 270 mm. Even at the smaller size,the quality is superb.

There are lots of these books around, but the prices can vary from lower to higher prices. Although the book is very fine, cutouts (heaven forbid) would make exceptional art to hang on someone's wall.

The exemplary "authentic toys" are from Bertoia Auctions a very helpful fine American company run by a the Bertoia family.

I left a bit of colour above around the Publisher's name to illustrate the nice antique appearance.
However I whitened up the background to diminish "borrowing" of the images due to copyright. Even though I mark images with copyrights, I still find them all over the Internet.

The drawings in the book are water coloured and you can see the original pencilled  handwriting of Geroge Brown in some places.

When I whiten the background for the photos from most contributors to my blog posts, I use a function in a photo-editing software titled "inner glow". I find that it helps eliminate any coloured parts that I might have left.

However, in the case of this fine toy that Bertoia Auctions had sold a while ago, there's an exaggerated "aura" (glow) around the small figures that present this toy in a kind of "magical" mood.

You can view these image in Blogger's slide view mode.In this way the images 
will show larger with more detail. I've purposely made the file sized larger for this specific purpose.

What I like about this toy is the illusion of exaggeration of the fire engine in proportion to the men on the platform. It reminds me of some movies (science-fiction and children's movies) of some of the vehicles that you would have seen.

I just realized as I'm typing that I forgot to add Bertoia Auction's written description. Thanks's to the "magic" of the 21st century, I can easily go back and add the missing elements later.

Many of the toys were made from tin. The material is easily formed, but what was more important (and I learned that from the book) is that paint adheres to tin quite well.  This would have been important to the small details that we see in such area as flags (the stars) or the fine lines of the horses' reins. 

I couldn't find exact matches for all of the toys, so I tried to find close similarities.
The toy below is actually 14" ( 355 mm) in length. Of course, Mr. Brown sometimes deviated from the drawings and made some changes and improvements to his fine toys.

Tow things are noteworthy in the illustration below.

1. The clockwork mechanism: George Brown was a locksmith before he entered the toy business
2. The flag on this toy has only 14 stars.

This is a very fine piece. What I like is the "hinged compartments" (Bertoia description) that you see in drawing. I'm sure children had lots of find toting around their "valuables" inside.Many of these toys, so early on in the American manufacture were hand made, and even the painting and the stencilling on the sides were also done by hand. I especially like the reins on the horses head's and bodies.

The toy below is magnificent in size - a massive 25"  650 mm) in length. Nothing is mentioned in Bertoia Auctions description about the content of the wagon. However, the item by Provenance came from a prominent famous American family, and I'm sure whomever had this toy made a great effort to find the appropriate "props" or freight to load on board.

Thanks for dropping by, and as always,
have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be,

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