SOLD 19th c. New Mexico Tinwork Frame

My interest in New Mexico tinwork began nearly a decade ago when I became a regular exhibitor at an art show in Santa Fe. This well crafted 19th c. tinwork frame holds a lithographed devotional page titled True Portrait of Our Lady of the Rosary. While there is obvious wear to the print, the image is still intact, the color still vibrant, and the religious motif appealing. Based on data noted below, the lithograph may date from the mid-1900s or earlier.

As for the tinwork, the Empire style rectangular frame measures 14″ x 16″. I’s decorated with a repeating embossed punched tin patern on all four sides and with large pleated fan shapes at the corners. I don’t have any history about the tinsmith who made this frame or when exactly it was produced. But the framed devotional page offers some important clues.

Betwwn 1820 and 1850 religious prints became a major export item. The this particular print is the work of the Turgis family, a leading French lithographer in the mid-19th century. Not only was Turgis a major exporter to the U.S., their lithographs are the most common prints found in New Mexico tinwork. The text of the lithograph includes the two Paris addresses the company occupied in 1853 and after 1856. Given the time between production and exportation, it’s entirely possible that by the 1870s Our Lady of the Rosary had found its way into this New Mexico tinwork frame.

According to notations on the back side of the frame, this example was acquired from a collection in or near the village of Tierra Amarillo in the Four Corners area of the state.


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