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Unique Oil Painting Cottage and Well Sweep


Regular price $149.50


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When I saw this painting (unsigned) I just knew it would be perfect for Halloween decorating and beyond! It has a dark overall appearance presenting a cottage with the full moon just above on a foggy evening in the enchanted forest where fairies may reside. The window in the cottage casts a warm glow that gently breaks through the fog. Even though no one has lived there for centuries the light emanating from this window magically appears at dusk every evening without fail. A shadow figure seems to effortlessly pass by the inside light and blocks the glow from the window at midnight. The howling winds seem to keep the beat as they rise around this time when wispy branches create a dismal melody of scratching noises on the window panes. Mystery and intrigue lies within the cottage that holds secrets of time and knowledge to possibly be discovered in the future……. Only time will tell.

This interesting painting dating from the late 19th century depicts a well sweep that is not commonly found. I would like to share some history with you regarding this ingenuous device:

“A well sweep was utilized to draw water from a well without ropes or pulleys. It appeared throughout North Carolina on nineteenth-century farms and plantations; both subsistence farmers and their wealthier neighbors used them. The only materials needed to construct a well sweep were wooden poles, which could be obtained locally. A vertical post was mounted by the well hole. The post held a horizontal pole, or sweep, which was heavier at one end and rested on the ground. A long, thin pole with an attached bucket or pail was placed at the other end. A person would pull the thin pole and bucket down into the well and fill it with water, and the sweep's weight would then lift the bucket up. The well sweep came to be replaced by pulleys and cranks and eventually by mechanical pumps. Although photographic evidence exists of a few still in use during the early years of the twentieth century, well sweeps were uncommon by mid-century.”

The last image depicts a well sweep in an 1881 drawing showing a women pouring water from a bucket suspended from this sweep.

The cottage is bordered by a white picket fence with a meandering pathway leading to the well where a bucket stands at the ready. It appears there is a brook leading up to this well with flowers off to the left but the brook mysteriously disappears near the bottom of the painting. Even though this painting is dark it does seem to suggest that the interpretation lies within the viewer and therefore evokes theories of what we actually see. A thinking process is involved which I personally find refreshing and interesting!

There are some areas of tiny paint loss by way of chips as shown but the painting is in overall good condition without any rips or holes in the canvas. There are a few raised areas on the sides where the tacked down canvas has gently lifted which is to be expected with age as referenced in images 13 & 14.

The back of the canvas in the middle location has a series of clustered small dark spots as shown in image 11 but do not come through on the painted side. This piece is not framed but will fit in nicely with our primitive style of decorating. The vertical size is also a plus as it will adorn any skinny wall! It awaits a lovely home where it can be hung and admired for years to come! Enjoy!

Measures 30” tall, measures 10” across (right to left) and is ¾” deep.

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