Overall: 1 3/4 × 15 1/2 in. (4.4 × 39.4 cm)
engraved: on shaft: "MICHELL SMITH'S/ LEAP SEPTEMBER 15TH/1842// MRS. MACKRELL/ANN/SPEED THE PLOUGH/THOU GOD SEEST ME"
Black glass rolling pin with central shaft covered in engraved decoration consisting of farm, nautical, and love imagery and phrases, including "Speed the Plough," "Thou God Seest Me," and an image of the iron bridge at Sunderland; two knob handles at either end of shaft.
Dated 1842, this bottle glass pin features etched designs that appeared in the early 1840's when these pins were forced produced, and precedes the shift to painted pin decorations in the latter part of that decade. The western view of the Cast Iron Bridge over the Wear at the top of the pin indicates that it was produced at a glassworks near the site of that famous bridge in Sunderland, England. In fact, the pyramidal shape of a glassworks kiln at Sunderland has even superimposed on the bridge's right pier, corresponding to the location of a nearby factory chimney in popular printed views of the bridge. The pin also features other stock imagery that is characteristic of the sailor-type: a two-masted ship, the English farmer's crest, popular mottoes ("Thou God Seest Me"), a heart, an anchor, and a Masonic shield. Traveling engravers sold these wares on the quaysides of the busy ports like Sunderland to departing sailors, who sought to customize the gifts with their name, departure date, and ship's name for the sweetheart on shore. In fact, the minimally rendered male figure waving from the top of the bridge presents an early version of the oft-repeated sailor's farewell scene. Hardly functional, the pin would have been hung on the wall with a ribbon tied around each tapered knob by a lady remembering her beau at sea. This object was once part of the folk art collection of Elie Nadelman (1882-1946), the avant-garde sculptor. From 1924 to 1934, Nadelman's collection was displayed in his Museum of Folk Arts, located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The Historical Society purchased Nadelman's entire collection in 1937.
Purchased from Elie Nadelman
The Folk Art Collection of Elie Nadelman
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.