Find's Treasure Forums

Welcome to Find's Treasure Forums, Guests!

You are viewing this forums as a guest which limits you to read only status.

Only registered members may post stories, questions, classifieds, reply to other posts, contact other members using built in messaging and use many other features found on these forums.

Why not register and join us today? It's free! (We don't share your email addresses with anyone.) We keep email addresses of our users to protect them and others from bad people posting things they shouldn't.

Click here to register!



Need Support Help?

Cannot log in?, click here to have new password emailed to you

Changed email? Forgot to update your account with new email address? Need assistance with something else?, click here to go to Find's Support Form and fill out the form.

Thick cast brass finial & decorative work near 1812 tavern site - date/Early US design style??

Hi everyone,

Found this thick cast brass/bronze finial and matching decorative piece just a few yards away from a War of 1812 tavern site, maybe 10" deep near a very small stream. I cleaned them up a little bit with soaking them in vinegar and a brush. I think they are probably from a wall sconce candelabra or mirror, or maybe a fireplace insert. They definitely have a front side with a detailed design and a back side that isn't as detailed (back view in the picture with the 2 pieces side by side), so it makes me think that the back side would've been right up against the wall like a sconce for candles.

When I first found these, I thought that maybe they were a furniture piece from a reproduction from 1920s or later, but now that I think about the depth that I found them, the level of thick crusted green patina that was on them & I had to clean off, the thickness and heaviness of their casting, and the close proximity to all the late 1700s-mid 1800s stuff that I found at this site, I think otherwise.

Does anyone know what design this is, like is it Federal Period or Georgian or Neoclassical or something else? I'm trying to figure out whether this design is consistent with 1790s/first decade of 1800s/1812 era or if it is maybe like the 1820s-30s-40s. Thanks in advance if anyone knows! HH
 

Attachments

  • finial front.jpeg
    finial front.jpeg
    21 KB · Views: 59
  • Finial bottom.jpeg
    Finial bottom.jpeg
    43.7 KB · Views: 43
  • IMG_2385.jpg
    IMG_2385.jpg
    126.6 KB · Views: 45
  • Back view.jpeg
    Back view.jpeg
    66.6 KB · Views: 47

Ronstar

Well-known member
Nice find!! No idea....... but someone here will get an idea!!!
 
Thanks, Ronstar! Hoping that someone will have an idea. That would help me to better understand this site out in the middle of the woods off a long-abandoned leg of road, since to my knowledge there is no cellar hole (unless it's buried & filled it) and no evidence of bricks or stone... I'm guessing otherwise that it was a log structure.
 

Steve(Can)

Well-known member
Hi everyone,

Found this thick cast brass/bronze finial and matching decorative piece just a few yards away from a War of 1812 tavern site, maybe 10" deep near a very small stream. I cleaned them up a little bit with soaking them in vinegar and a brush. I think they are probably from a wall sconce candelabra or mirror, or maybe a fireplace insert. They definitely have a front side with a detailed design and a back side that isn't as detailed (back view in the picture with the 2 pieces side by side), so it makes me think that the back side would've been right up against the wall like a sconce for candles.

When I first found these, I thought that maybe they were a furniture piece from a reproduction from 1920s or later, but now that I think about the depth that I found them, the level of thick crusted green patina that was on them & I had to clean off, the thickness and heaviness of their casting, and the close proximity to all the late 1700s-mid 1800s stuff that I found at this site, I think otherwise.

Does anyone know what design this is, like is it Federal Period or Georgian or Neoclassical or something else? I'm trying to figure out whether this design is consistent with 1790s/first decade of 1800s/1812 era or if it is maybe like the 1820s-30s-40s. Thanks in advance if anyone knows! HH
Hey FindingHistory...
The leaf design of your find is known as a "scrolled acanthus leaf" This design is based on a plant that grows in Greece and was a popular motif since ancient times, appearing on columns and decorative work in Greece and Rome. During the the renaissance and a renewed interest in all things Greek and Roman, the motif became popular in Europe, and was widely used in what is called the neo-classical period, thereabouts the time of the American and French revolutions. The french especially went all out on the scrolled acanthus leaf motif, carved in wood and cast in metal as an ornamental device for most everything... picture frames, chandeliers, candle holders, furniture, fire screens, architectural moldings, brackets and such.

The piece you found has some beautiful and very intricate detail, the work of a master craftsman. With the hole and what looks like a fitting on the one end to fit into another piece, appears to be part of a larger piece, possibly a chandelier or lamp fixture?

IMG_2385.jpg


A quick image search of "scrolled acanthus leaf" will bring up a few ideas of what it might have been part of:
Image search: "scrolled acanthus leaf"
and another "french acanthus metal" (as mentioned, the French particularly loved this design.)

Hope this is on the right track to helping you identify. Beautiful find, FindingHistory, thanks for posting! :thumbup:
 
Last edited:
Hi Steve,

Thank you so much for your very informative reply - wow, that is awesome, and I really appreciate your time and effort! This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for, and you've been very helpful. Based on everything you've said, I think these two artifacts are very consistent with all the items I've found from late 1700's up through mid-1800s on the site and with accounts of a tavern that operated during the War of 1812 in the immediate area and that I strongly suspect was at that exact site.

You're right that the craftsmanship is really intricate and beautiful on these, and they must have been really gorgeous when they were shiny. The 'sidedness' of them is interesting and I agree that a candle holder, wall sconce, lamp fixture, or fireplace screen (among the other items you mentioned, too) might be a top candidate because there's a side that's not as finished that maybe have contacted the wall surface. It may indeed be French, too. Some neoclassical items on 1stdibs.com seem to be in the ballpark.

I dug these about 10" or so deep immediately on the lip or bank of what I call a creek, but that's a huge overstatement because it's a ditch that ranges from about 1 - 5 feet in width that is probably 20 yards behind where what I believe was the tavern was situated on a defunct leg of a road that seems to have changed course between 1851 and 1862 based on some Library of Congress maps. I need to hit that ditch more carefully with my detector, since that could have been the main water source of the tavern since it was rural and most likely unpolluted.

Thanks again, Steve, and wishing you good luck and happy hunting!
 
Last edited:

Steve(Can)

Well-known member
Hi Steve,

Thank you so much for your very informative reply - wow, that is awesome, and I really appreciate your time and effort! This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for, and you've been very helpful. Based on everything you've said, I think these two artifacts are very consistent with all the items I've found from late 1700's up through mid-1800s on the site and with accounts of a tavern that operated during the War of 1812 in the immediate area and that I strongly suspect was at that exact site.

You're right that the craftsmanship is really intricate and beautiful on these, and they must have been really gorgeous when they were shiny. The 'sidedness' of them is interesting and I agree that a candle holder, wall scone, lamp fixture, or fireplace screen (among the other items you mentioned, too) might be a top candidate because there's a side that's not as finished that maybe have contacted the wall surface. It may indeed be French, too. Some neoclassical items on 1stdibs.com seem to be in the ballpark. I dug these about 10" or so deep immediately on the lip or bank of what I call a creek, but that's a huge overstatement because it's a ditch that ranges from about 1 - 5 feet in width that is probably 20 yards behind where what I believe was the tavern was situated on a defunct leg of a road that seems to have changed course between 1851 and 1862 based on some Library of Congress maps. I need to hit that ditch more carefully with my detector, since that could have been the main water source of the tavern since it was rural and most likely unpolluted.

Thanks again, Steve, and wishing you good luck and happy hunting!
You are welcome, FindingHistory, glad you found it useful. Way back, I took courses in Art History and though I thought it was interesting and all, kinda doubted it was anything practical. Kinda funny how intertwined it all is though in the history of people and ideas.

I agree with your thinking on depth and time frame. While it looks like there is a strong french influence in your find, the neoclassical style was also very prominent in early America (in part due to Thomas Jefferson in France and such). The french take on Rome and Greece shows in many things in America... the revolutions in both countries, the notion of a Republic, the early coins of the two countries are very similar (greek and roman gods, mercury dimes and such), the cllassical architecture as in the Whitehouse and court buildings.... lots of similarities. As well, as a country of immigrants, there were many bringing skills from the old country to America, master stone masons, those skilled with casting metals and such, particularly from Italy and France, so your piece may very well be of American origin.

That's some ditch you're digging, FindingHistory. Keep up the good work and please keep us posted! Happy hunting.
 
Last edited:
Glad that you took those Art History classes... I think it will be very practical when applied to this type of amateur archaeological setting and some of your finds, because knowledge of those motifs can really help to narrow down a date range for those artifacts. Always interesting to think about how those motifs, designs, allegories, myths, metaphors etc. show up on coins, decorative items, architecture, etc., and often surprise us with a cool find we've uncovered from nearly a foot deep and decades if not centuries ago.

Thanks again for your help, Steve, and I look forward to posting some other finds from the same site in the near future -- a few brass whats-its here and there that are still puzzling me, including a very small brass auger that I still haven't figured out. Happy hunting!
 

Steve(Can)

Well-known member
Thanks FH, this old stuff has a beauty all in it's self, but also a meaning that goes beyond words, a story we vaguely understand instinctively somehow. Sometimes it's in code, like the ancient Christian fish symbol, but when the meaning is revealed, it makes perfect sense and all begins to tie together. Below, two beautiful old neo-classical style coins, the American Walking Liberty and the French Marianne, the goddess of Liberty. Treasures in the dirt lost and forgotten, who'd a thunk? A joy to discover, another to figure out what they are and yet another to uncover the story they are telling! :thumbup:


Walking Liberty half dollar - Wikipedia
File:5 French francs Semeuse silver 1960 F340-4 obverse.jpg - Wikimedia  Commons
 

Attachments

  • 1614714781543.jpeg
    1614714781543.jpeg
    11.8 KB · Views: 14
  • 1614715060788.jpeg
    1614715060788.jpeg
    12 KB · Views: 16
Last edited:

Ronstar

Well-known member
Steve, you been in my coin box???? Lol !!! These are two finds from last summer......
 

Attachments

  • 6B3A235E-2678-4C8A-9601-134029C733CB.jpeg
    6B3A235E-2678-4C8A-9601-134029C733CB.jpeg
    1.9 MB · Views: 18
  • 0C1EE3EF-17AD-4C3E-B15D-2A0E1857751A.jpeg
    0C1EE3EF-17AD-4C3E-B15D-2A0E1857751A.jpeg
    959.6 KB · Views: 18

Steve(Can)

Well-known member
Steve, you been in my coin box???? Lol !!! These are two finds from last summer......
No way! :ROFLMAO: Ronstar, you're killing me here. You post a rusted chunk of twisted wire and got those two beauties tucked away. Fantastic finds and both in great shape! The pair of them would make an great shadow box display!
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
I had to do a double take when I saw those pics, especially the French Connection. There was also a French dime in the hole that was gold colored, talk about a heart thumper at first sight!!
 

Steve(Can)

Well-known member
I pulled those two because they are such a good example of the similarities. Ha, that's funny, Ronstar, what other goodies you got tucked away in that coin box? :ROFLMAO:
 
Thanks FH, this old stuff has a beauty all in it's self, but also a meaning that goes beyond words, a story we vaguely understand instinctively somehow. Sometimes it's in code, like the ancient Christian fish symbol, but when the meaning is revealed, it makes perfect sense and all begins to tie together. Below, two beautiful old neo-classical style coins, the American Walking Liberty and the French Marianne, the goddess of Liberty. Treasures in the dirt lost and forgotten, who'd a thunk? A joy to discover, another to figure out what they are and yet another to uncover the story they are telling! :thumbup:


Walking Liberty half dollar - Wikipedia
File:5 French francs Semeuse silver 1960 F340-4 obverse.jpg - Wikimedia  Commons
Beauties for sure! The liberty cap (and pole) origins are amazing. There are a lot of allegorical figures on the paper money, too, although I'm less familiar with it, such as these: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_Series. BTW, I've always been a fan of Canadian coinage, many beautiful designs especially on the commemorative silver dollars. I look forward to checking out your posts to see what goodies you've found in Canada.
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
Well since FH asked...... Canadian Dollar was about 8-10 feet from the WLH!!!!!! It technically is my first silver dollar find! And found in the US!!!
 

Attachments

  • 4C9B8F7E-2790-4398-8C65-D1BC430CE0B5.jpeg
    4C9B8F7E-2790-4398-8C65-D1BC430CE0B5.jpeg
    1.7 MB · Views: 15
  • B4870514-2D48-44F7-B213-C7C9A8BB8A69.jpeg
    B4870514-2D48-44F7-B213-C7C9A8BB8A69.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 16

Ronstar

Well-known member
I didnt mean to highjack your post FH, it was just was weird seeing someone else post pics of stuff I had found!!! Welcome from ID......
 
Top