Monday, November 22, 2010

Mike Burke Horn

Lake George School, c. 1756. This horn draws heavily on a handful of original examples, made at Forts Edward and William Henry in the autumn of 1756, primarily those owned by Col. Nathan Whiting and Capt. David Baldwin. Like most surviving powder horns from this "School", the designs, with the exception of the chip-carved geometric panels, were truly engraved, using a variety of hand-held burins of the type used to engrave silver and other soft metals in the period.

Copy and photos supplied by Mike Burke.


  1. Beautiful horn. I see some design similarities to the John I Putnam 1757 horn shown on page 40 of the new HCH book of the Hartley Horn Drawings. Thanks for the info on using gravers- I did not know that.

  2. Hi Rich,

    Thanks for the kind words. I got my copy of the Hartley book out when I saw your comments, and there are definitely some shared features between these horns. The three on which mine is based were all fairly recently (in the last decade or so) attributed to Samuel Lounsbury, and the Putman horn looks it might have been related as well. One thing that struck me when I was researching for this horn was the degree to which these guys cherry picked each others' designs, making it difficult to tell who made what after a certain point. With such a brief span of time, and only a handful of hot spots for this particular school, it's easy to imagine that many of these carvers knew, and in some cases copied directly from, each other. The true masters like Bush & Lounsbury seem to have set the trends for a host of disciples, who, like many of us, paid homage to the great ones, and made a little spending money, by way of their own renditions;)