Date Added: 10 November 2015
This is a unique piece of folk art featuring a church altar scene in a bottle. It is a scene depicting a Catholic priest standing with two altar boys kneeling before the elaborate altar. There is a bell beside the altar boy on the right. The elaborate altar has three large towers with a cross on top of each. The center tower is the largest and in the middle is a large carved cross with a chalice below it and a bible to the side. The are two large candles between each of the towers. It is completely hand carved and painted with red and blue highlights. The faces of the priest and altar boys are wonderful and even the vestments adorning the figures are accurate in their décor. The authenticity is painstaking. The bottle is sealed with a wooden stopper and a crosspiece pulled up in the bottom of the shaft to prevent it from being opened. Outside the bottle is an carved octagonal piece of dark wood with a rounder top. According to the previous owner but unsubstantiated is the following account. "It was made by a young man who was fighting polio in the 1940's. The bottle was made in Exeter, Rhode Island in Washington County, in the woods south of Warwick, Washington, or South County, as it is locally known as the resting place of the New England Vampire, Mercy Brown. Religious iconography is very common here, as much a talisman against the dreaded Undead as a celebration of the Church itself." What is known, however, is that this bottle was made by the same unknown Artist who made a bottle containing six Indians with some holding American flags. It is listed on page 169 in the book "Genius in a Bottle, The Art and Magic of Bottle Whimseys" by Susan D. Jones. There is also another bottle by this Artist found at http://www.sdjones.net/FolkArt/bears.html. It is a two story construction with five bears. On the upper level is a bear at a podium and two bears holding rifles. On the lower level, two bears are working a cross-cut saw. Three other bottles by this artist are shown in the images accompanying this listing. They include a two story boxing scene, a man, Indian and teepee scene , and cowboys and horse scene. These additional bottles are not for sale and are being presented only as other works from the same artist.
|Church Altar Scene in a Bottle
|7 1/4" x 2 3/4"