Fire engine condenser case of Hudson Fire Company No. 1(?)
Wood, oil paint, metal
Overall: 30 x 19 x 12 1/2 in. ( 76.2 x 48.3 x 31.8 cm )
painted: at top of panel: "PAINTED 1830. / Samuel Moore. / Foreman. / C. V. Anderson. / Assistant." painted: at bottom of panel: "Engine 9"
Wooden fire engine condenser case; half-cylindrical form with painted allegorical scene featuring crowned male figure with trident (Neptune) seated in a scallop shell upon the waves receiving a sextant from a winged female figure that hovers above him alongside another female figure seated next to a child and holding an infant; a cornucopia, a globe, and other scientific tools are pictured adjacent to female figures.
This image features iconography identical to a certificate printed by the newly-formed New York Nautical Institution in commemoration of the Erie Canal in 1825 (see Cadwallader Colden, Memoir , pp. 203-4). A caption for the certificate in Colden's Memoir identifies the scene: "This device is emblematic of Science, Skill, and Benevolence; Science is characterized as an angel, with appropriate instruments, and bending from a cloud she delivers to Neptune a sextant, as the emblem of Naval Skill; Benevolence like a nursing mother, with her attendant circumstances, is seated on a cornucopiae, upon the same cloud with Science. This scene is represented as taking place outside of Sandy Hook; on the right of Neptune, who is seated on his naval car, is Staten Island; in the distant horizon is Sandy Hook Lighthouse; pilot-boats, ships outward and inward bound are placed under their appropriate positions." (Colden, p. 375-6) Because the number associated with inscription at the lower center of the condenser case has been largely effaced, it is unclear to which Engine company this case belonged. The combination of the Neptune imagery and the case's date plausibly links it to three different fire companies: New York's Company No. 9, Neptune, No. 6, and Hudson No. 1.
Purchased from Elie Nadelman
The Folk Art Collection of Elie Nadelman
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.