In the always-interesting search for old treasures and rare antiques, we all sooner or later stumble upon something and find ourselves asking: "What in the heck IS this thing?"
Our antique "Mystery of the Week" fits that description.
This 9" brass plaque was removed from a trunk stored for Gawd knows how many years in a Neville Plantation barn near Port Hudson, Louisiana. It is a VERY detailed raised portrait-silhouette plaque, carefully crafted by someone immensely skilled in the sculptor's art, The raised brass silhouette is of a military man in a Union army uniform -- and who perhaps appears to be American Civil War General George B. McClellan, as he appeared in the years long after the Civil War had ended. However, that is only a guess as to the subject's identity.
On the back of this brass carving are some type of "hooks" or posts, which may be for attachment of the plaque to something else -- a statue? A monument? All guesses. There are the following inscriptions on the reverse of the plaque: "C.T Robinson Co. Copyright 1886" and then the currently unidentified artist has apparently added his initials: "JYB," is my best interpretation of the initials. (See photos below.)
Apparently this company was some type of monument or statuary production outfit located on Boston back in the 19th Century...but info on them is scarce. What WAS this plaque for? How did it end up unattached to whatever it was meant for and how did it journey to plantation country in Louisiana??
Who among our antique detectives can shed some light on this interesting and striking piece of history? Post your comments and insights and we'll figure it out together!
Citadel Antiques is owned by Jim Clary, Jr. -- whose "real job" for the last 35 years has been as a trial lawyer and owner of ClarySuba & Associates -- a Baton Rouge law firm. Jim has been interested in antiques and history since the world was new. Over the years, this passion has resulted in a large personal collection of antiques and other rare items. Having enjoyed these pieces for all those years, it is now time to pass 'em on for new owners to enjoy.