Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blue Wreath Eagle Bass Drum (1845-1865)

Sold by Jeff R. Bridgeman Antiques:


A Long drum is a British-style, field bass drum that is rare among surviving American military examples. This is especially true among long drums that are elaborately paint-decorated.

This is one of two huge long drums that I recently acquired, both of which are equally exceptional, both of which are painted all the way around (as opposed to a painted panel that takes up 30% to 50% of the surface), and both of which have impressive eagles as center medallions on the front. Of the two, this particular example is more unusual, due to its yellow and orange paint decoration that mimics crotch grain mahogany, but in such bright colors that it is reminiscent of flaming birch or some exotic wood. This continues all the way around the shell, the seam of which is decoratively reinforced with brass tacks. A large gold eagle, outlined in black, is at the center of a whimsical border of Prussian blue scroll work, while the rims of the drum are painted a beautiful tomato red.

Provenance: The drum was once on the cover of the catalogue of the Horse Soldier in Gettysburg (one of the nation’s foremost Civil War dealers).

Condition: The condition of the paint is outstanding, with only minor imperfections and loss. The surface was certainly cleaned, but expertly, and there is no in-painting whatsoever. The batter heads, flesh hoops, ropes, and lugs (leather tighteners) have been replaced. This is standard, acceptable and expected in early drums. There is no maker’s label inside, but the shadow remains where one was originally present.

Inv. Number pat-101

Width (inches): 23"
Height (inches): 25"
Depth: 23"
Primary Color: yellow, gold, orange, blue
Earliest Date: 1845
Latest Date: 1865
Available: Sold
Price SOLD

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