Patriotic Sand Picture in a Bottle with Irish Red and White Setter Dog and "Christmas," Andrew Clemens, McGregor, Iowa, late 19th century, multicolored sand arranged in a glass bottle, one side of the bottle depicting an Irish Red and White Setter in a grassy landscape within an oval, the other side with the inscription "Christmas" above a clipper ship, with wavy line, marbled, and geometric bands, a printed maker's label affixed to the top is inscribed "Pictured Rock Sands Put up by A. Clemens, Deaf Mute, McGregor, Iowa," ht. 8 3/4 in.
Provenance: This bottle was owned early on by Salmon Willoughby Wilder (1823-1903) and Rose True Wilder (1838-1938),of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, great-grandparents of the consignor. Salmon Wilder had a paper mill in Lawrence. From them it descended to the consignor's grandmother Mary Louise (Wilder) Pease, of Worcester, Massachusetts, who kept the bottle on a whatnot shelf in the living room. The jar and whatnot traveled with her to Rutherford, New Jersey, where it descended to Mary's son (and the consignor's father) Richard Pease, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Rutherford. Richard and his wife retired (with the bottle and the whatnot) to Kennebunk, Maine, and then Mrs. Pease moved to Rhinebeck, New York, where the whatnot was sold. The bottle was placed in breakfront in the dining room, where it remained until recently.
Note: A handwritten inscription on the bottom reads in part "Sand Bottle by Deaf Mute A Clemens" and appears to reference the dog and its owner, but is illegible. Another note handwritten by the consignor's grandmother Mary Pease reports that the dog pictured on the bottle belonged to Orrin Joslin of Oxford, Massachusetts, in southern Worcester County. A search reveals that an Orrin F. Joslin was indeed a resident of Oxford until his death in 1909. He is buried in the North Cemetery in that town.
Andrew Clemens was born in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1857. At the age of five he became deaf and mute after an illness. He earned his livelihood by painstakingly arranging colored sand to make pictures in glass bottles. The sand came from the naturally colored sandstone in the Pictured Rocks area of Iowa. He worked in McGregor, Iowa, and for a short time he made the pictures and exhibited his work at a South State dime museum in Chicago, Illinois.
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