Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Painted Drums of Abner Stevens

[Ed. Note: Information is collected here from various sources on the Internet for preservation purposes, with little additional information.]

1822(?) Roses

From the William H. Guthman Collection, Oct 12, 2006, Lot #608, Sold: $2,632.50.

"Painted with a stylized rose flanked by smaller rose blossoms and buds against leaftips in red and green, the percussion hole within a blue and red star, surrounded by a circular border of nail decoration within diamonds, the interior with label inscribed "Abner Stevens, Military and Bass Drums, Pittsfield, 1822," appears to retain its original red painted bands, rope, snares, top skin and carrying strap. Height 16 inches, diameter 16 1/2 inches."

1822 Decorated 16 inch

"An 1822 eagle decorated snare drum with label of Abner Stevens, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The red eagle on dark brown ground with red borders, initials "Wm. A.W.". The hoops painted red, white and blue. Decorative motif with tacks centering a brass peep hole that reveals maker's label." 15-1/2" h. x 16-1/2 diam. according to brochure of Northeast Auctions' Fall Weekend Auction, Sunday, October 28th, 2006, p. 68.

Flowers/Buds (attributed to Abner Stevens), 16 inch

Info from, ltd.

"A painted snare drum, attributed to Abner Stevens, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, circa 1820. Painted with a roundel enclosing stylized flowers within a cartouche border of buds, berries and leaves, all in cream, red and dark green, the ivory-lined percussion hole within brass nail decoration in the form of a stylized flowerhead within diamonds, the leather pulls embossed with anchors."

1824 Lafayette Tribute Drum, Abner Stevens Drum
Overall H: 14 3/4"; diameter: 17" (nominal)

Part of the collection of Old Sturbridge Village.

Collection No. 1.105.13
"This large, rope tightened military drum is similar to many others used throughout New England in the early 1800s. Military drums led marchers in parades and at militia musters, as well as being used for signalling troops in camp and on the battlefield. This drum was made in 1824 in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, who made a triumphal tour of the United States in that year. This French aristocrat volunteered as a soldier in the American Revolution, and became a close friend of George Washington. As a result Lafayette was respected and well liked in America. The return of this old hero to the United States almost 50 years after the Revolution was a grand occasion of pomp and ceremony in the many towns that he passed through.

"The drum cylinder is made from brown varnished bent wood, while the drum head is made from vellum. Inside the drum is a paper label reading: "ABNER STEVENS, Keeps constantly on hand for sale, at his MUSIC SHOP AND STORE, in Pittsfield, Mass., Bass and Tenour (sic), DRUMS, FIFES, and most kinds of musical instruments, Strings, Reeds, Bows &c. &c. Made in the neatest manner, and sold cheap for cash. 1824.".

1810 Unpainted

"Interior label visible through side hole - retains original paint. Braided twine shoulder strap separated, drum heads warped and top head has tear, drum cylinder is in excellent condition."

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