Sunday, May 26, 2013

Henry Livingston Powder Horn by Samuel Mor at Cowan's Auction

15.25" length, wood base with pieces of dried leather still in the two iron loops.  Engrailed edge with smooth spout and two raised rings. Engraved New York map, with forts by name, ships with guns by numbers, rivers and streams by name. Initials RP engraved above the Royal Coat of Arms and GR, plus the Lion and Unicorn fighting for the crown and initials EMR, Y'Navy,  His Horn made by Samuel Prisoner more June y e 11th 1756. Henry Livingston his horn.

This artfully engraved powder horn belonging to the prominent Dr. Henry Livingston, Sr. (1714-1799) of Dutchess County, New York, is a singular colonial artifact with a colorful history dating to the early part of the epic French and Indian War. The horn was engraved by Samuel Mor and presented to Dr. Livingston on June 11, 1756, at frontier Saratoga. Remarkably, the well documented artifact has descended in the same family for generations and is presently offered for sale for the first time.

Viewed from the perspective of a map, the horn depicts a broad expanse of northern colonial frontier—still mostly uncharted wilderness—running from New York City to the French dominion of Canada.

At the time that he did the engraving, Samuel Mor seems to have been an inmate of either Saratoga Prison or held aboard a floating hulk in New York harbor. It was then the practice of the Crown to incarcerate those able bodied men who refused obligatory militia service in the colonies. In the wake of Braddock’s defeat followed by a string of French victories in 1755-56 there were no exemptions for conscientious objectors or hardship cases, although Mor’s particular status is unknown.

Price Realized: $74,750.00 (incl. Buyer's Premium)

Copy and photos from Cowan's Auction. More information about the horn can be found here.

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