Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Powder Horn by Art DeCamp

Here are some photos of a powder horn I recently completed.

The original turned upat the Baltimore show a few weeks ago. My version is a close replica, butnot an exact copy.

The original is fascinatingto me because, its butt and spout ends are clearly from an original, main shop, Early Philadelphia horn. However, thebody of the horn is beautifully engraved by the hand of Francis Tansel. By conventional wisdom, this couldn't happenall at once, since the main shop Early Philadelphia horns were made around1760, the year Francis Tansel is thought to have been born in France. He did not come to America until much later,and based on the motifs engraved on the body of the horn, it looks to have beena War of 1812 period engraving.

On close examination ofthe original, it appears the butt was filed down to fit a new horn body. Then, the spout end of the original horn Early Philadelphia, from about 1" in back of the appliedcollar has been carefully joined to the new horn body with a recessed lap joint and small iron pins located in the engrailed area on the neck of the horn. The current carry strap is retained by a staple that spans the joint between the new body and old spout of the horn.

There are remnants ofthe original loop staple at the collar of the horn, but it legs have been filed down flush sometime during the first period of use, and then a carry strap was placed around the horn just behind the collar, thus noticeably wearing down the collar and neck of the horn for its second attachment method.

It appears to me that sometime much later, someone brought the remnants of this Early Phillyscrew-tip horn to Francis Tansel and requested that he repair/make a new body to preserve the original parts. At thistime, there was apparently a new horn band fitted at the base of the horn next to the butt. 

The horn as it is now, shows very heavy carry wear both to the original parts and to the new engraved body that Francis Tansel clearly made and engraved. So much so that the band placed there by Tansel is now long gone, but its "shadow" is very clearly evident. The engraving motif sare from the War of 1812 period in my estimation, based on the fighting lions and Federal Eagle on the horn is adjoining cartouches. Wish this horn could talk!

The owner allowed me to photograph the original during the Baltimore Gun Show, and I chose to make a close representation of the original but didn't include the grafted parts, orquite as much carry wear. I did "age" it some as you can seefrom the photos.

Copy and photos by Art DeCamp.

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