The folk art legacy of the 19th century stencil artist includes hundreds of designs, patterns, and motifs worthy of a second look by today’s homeowners who may be seeking a historic or period treatment for the interiors of their home. Living with decorative art that speak to a simpler, less hurried time in New England brings a certain joy and comfort to all who enter. Discover the versatility and timeless style of early American stenciling…and be at home with history.
Breathing new life into the enchanting and historic folk art patterns once stenciled by Moses Eaton, Jr. is my goal at Vintage New England Stenciling. It was during the early 1800’s that these lively patterns filled the homes and hearts of rural New Englanders with color and cheer. Today, their timeless appeal endures. It is my hope that the quaint simplicity, clean lines, and traditional color of these iconic folk art patterns will enrich your heart and home with the wonderful spirit of New England heritage and tradition
For my original artwork, I use only the authentic patterns created by Moses Eaton, Jr. These are the same patterns and designs found in his stencil kit and stenciled by him in the country homes, inns, and taverns of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. I stencil these patterns on vintage-inspired linen, giving the artwork a wonderful antique ambiance!
I am currently accepting check or money order for the purchase of my folk art. Please contact me by e-mail for pricing and availability. Each design comes with a history of early American stenciling in New England, along with historical information about the particular folk art pattern. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Note: Vintage New England Stenciling will soon have a shop on www.etsy.com! …Offering online purchase of fine art in the tradition of Moses Eaton, Jr. and Rufus Porter.
Now, sit back and relax and take a trip back in time….to a simpler, less-hurried time in New England. Enjoy the stories of colonial symbolism associated with each pattern, and picture a time when the independent spirit of hearty New Englanders was undeniable …and the folk art decoration on their walls was lively and bold!
The elegant weeping willow motif was stenciled by Moses Eaton, Jr. on the walls of many homes, inns and taverns in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts during the early 1800’s.
On at least one occasion, Eaton traveled “Down East,” stenciling his repertoire of folk art designs and motifs for Maine families that were eager for color and pattern in their lives. In the towns of Kennebunk, Sebec, East Sumner, and East Vassalboro, we find homes whose stenciled walls include Eaton’s delicate weeping willow motif. In the towns of Deerfield, and Epping, New Hampshire, we can also walk in the footsteps of Moses Eaton, Jr., and find homes fortunate enough to be decorated with this same willow design.
It was not uncommon for the old-time stencilers to give the most decorative and ornamental designs a place of honor. The weeping willow was one of these noteworthy designs, and as such, it was often stenciled above the hearth on the overmantle. However, in a circa 1823 home on Main Street in West Newbury, Massachusetts, Moses Eaton, Jr. stenciled a pair of weeping willows, in a different place of prominence…in the space between two windows, in a small second floor bedchamber.
Many of the folk art motifs stenciled by the itinerant artisans were symbolic of basic virtues and values. The weeping willow was symbolic of the universal desire for a long, happy, and healthy life.
ASYMMETRICAL WEEPING WILLOW
During the early 1800’s, Moses Eaton Jr. stenciled many walls throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts with his delightful pineapple motifs. The pineapple designs attributed to Moses Eaton, Jr. include two types; the traditional pineapple, and the interesting three-color “Maine Pineapple” with smooth leaves at the crown.
The custom of using the pineapple as the cheery symbol of hospitality springs from an 18th century New England seaport tradition. Seafaring captains returning home from exotic locations would often bring home fruits and vegetables not indigenous to these parts, like the pineapple. A pineapple mounted over the doorway announced the return of the sea captain, and his wish to celebrate with family and friends over good food, and drink.
Display a pineapple in your home today, and the cheerful sentiment of “welcome friends” will spring into the hearts of all who enter.PINEAPPLE
Click here to see where the Pineapple motif was stenciled.
The colorful flower basket was stenciled by Eaton on the walls of many homes, inns, and taverns in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts during the early 1800’s.
In the Down East towns of North Saco, Sebec, Sidney, East Vassalboro and Sumner, we can find homes whose stenciled walls include Eaton’s colorful flower baskets. In the towns of Deerfield, Epping, and Temple New Hampshire, we can also find homes whose walls are decorated with these quaint flower baskets.
Like the weeping willow, the flower basket was often stenciled in a place of honor. In a circa 1823 home on Main Street in West Newbury, Massachusetts, and in the Caleb-Wheeler House located in Bolton, Massachusetts, Moses Eaton, Jr. embellished the overmantles of these homes with his colorful flower baskets. In his own home in Harrisville, New Hampshire, Eaton stenciled one solitary flower basket between the two front windows in the parlor.
Many of the folk art motifs stenciled by the itinerant artisans were symbolic of basic virtues and values. During times of hardship, 19th century New England families often relied on the generosity, kindness, and friendship of neighbors. The flower basket motif was symbolic of these remarkable bonds and lasting friendships, so integral to survival in post–Revolutionary war America.FLOWER BASKET
The old time stencilers would sometimes be hired to decorate rooms in a home occupied by the newly married or those soon-to be-wed. On these occasions, Moses Eaton would incorporate hearts into some of his folk art motifs. These endearing designs, with cheery red hearts, were symbolic of the timeless sentiments of faithful love and affection.
In 1778, when Abner Goodale was home recuperating from wounds he suffered in the Revolutionary war, he had the walls of his home stenciled. This sprucing up of his Marlborough, Massachusetts homestead was done in honor of his future bride, Molly Howe. In a rambling farmhouse located in Temple, New Hampshire, we find a room called the Bridal Chamber. Around 1825, it is believed that Moses Eaton, Jr. stenciled the small attic room at the request of Nathan Colburn, who had just wed young Jane Parker. A sweet little flower spray design with a heart accent danced across the walls, and was surely symbolic of the love and devotion of the newly wedded couple. There are many other examples of special motifs being stenciled in celebration of the newly wedded, like in the Caleb Wheeler Jr. Home, Bolton, Massachusetts, the John Robbins House, Acton, Massachusetts, and the Freese House, located in Deerfield, New Hampshire.
Celebrating a 21st century marriage? These charming and historic designs provide a unique and thoughtful way to honor the love and devotion of the new bride and groom …with just a touch of New England tradition.
LOVE AND DEVOTION
Click here to see where the motifs with hearts were stenciled.
In the early 1800’s, Moses Eaton travelled throughout Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, bringing the beauty of nature indoors for the year ‘round enjoyment of rural New Englanders. The humble tools of Moses Eaton, Jr….stencil, brush, and pigment…brought color and joy to families who yearned to decorate and brighten their plain surroundings. In rooms that severe New England winters made cold and dark, colorful motifs on plain plastered walls brought a certain cheer and inspiration to all who entered. Primitive flower baskets brimming with the bounty of summer, graceful willow trees, wildflower sprays, brightly colored sunflowers, and simple vines plump with berries would adorn the walls in a wash of color. When his job was complete, and it was time for Eaton to gather his tools and place them back into his stencil kit, the lively and colorful folk art that he would leave in his trail would brighten and warm even the coldest of rooms with a cheerful and homespun glow. The lives of rural New Englanders were forever enhanced by this simple and quaint decoration, and the dark interiors and plain plastered walls of their homes were made bright with the hope and promise of spring.
MAPLE LEAF WITH WREATH
Click here to see where the Eaton wreath motif was stenciled.
FOUR FAN FLOWERS
MAPLE LEAF WITH DOUBLE WREATH
Click here to see where the Maple Leaf with Double Wreath was stenciled.
OAK LEAF CLUSTER
Click here to see where the oak leaf cluster motif was stenciled.
Click here to see where the feather flower motif was stenciled.
Your satisfaction is my highest priority. If you are not completely delighted with your purchase, I will gladly refund the value of the item(s) and any taxes you were charged. Original shipping charges and return shipping charges are non refundable unless the return is related to our error.
Please notify Suzanne (e-mail or phone) for return authorization prior to any return.
When returning items, please pack the art carefully (returning the
merchandise in the original packing material and carton is preferred),
include a copy of your original packing slip, insure it, and return to:
Please Note: If items are damaged in transit, please notify Suzanne by e-mail or phone within 24 hours of receiving the merchandise. We will be happy to replace an item or issue a credit, whichever you prefer. We will pay shipping for return and replacement of damaged items. As soon as we receive the damaged item, we will send out a replacement.
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