In Absence of Alice, Sarah Winston is doing a sale for a client who has a collection of tramp art. I first learned about tramp art when we unearthed a piece in my grandparent’s basement on their farm in Novinger, Missouri. My mom uses it to display shells in her house.
Tramp art is a bit of a misnomer. Here is a bit about it from Old House online: Tramp art is the whimsical name given to a folk-art form that was popular ca. 1870 to 1940. Boxes, picture frames, religious artifacts, and decorative objects were chip-carved from cigar boxes and, less often, from packing crates. The wood was notch-carved with squares, triangles, and rectangles, then layered to created three-dimensional, boldly geometric pieces. Some are inlaid with carved hearts, leaves, or stars; others feature applied decoration made of “found” materials like bits of china or mirrored glass. Larger pieces can run to mantel clocks and tables with drawers.
I think mom’s piece is made out of an old crate.
If you look closely on the right side it says Novinger MO!
I did a lot of research about tramp art which led me to eBay which led me to a purchase. Imagine that — the sacrifices I make for my art. I bought three frames that were grouped together. They are all about 12 1/4 by 10 1/2. Here is one of them:
Here is a close up of the detail:
Monday I taped an episode of Antiques Roadshow and what do you know there was a piece of tramp art! Here’s a close up of some of the detail.
If you are interested in seeing more about the piece you can watch here: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/season/12/baltimore-md/appraisals/pennsylvania-tramp-art-dresser-ca-1910–200701A35/
I decided I didn’t need to keep three tramp art frames so I’m giving away the one pictured above on my author Facebook page. Leave a comment there for a chance to win: https://www.facebook.com/SherryHarrisauthor
I’ll give away a copy of Absence of Alice here!
Readers: Have you heard of tramp art before? Do you have a piece?