RARE AND IMPORTANT 1806 SUSANNA ROTHGEB, ROCKBRIDGE CO., SHENANDOAH VALLEY OF VIRGINIA TAUFSCHEIN FRAKTUR ATTRIBUTED TO JACOB STRICKLER, watercolor and ink on paper, an outstanding, fully developed example, imagery including two Federal eagles with heart-shaped breast medallions, tulips and other floral devices, and characteristic polychrome diamond border framing central inscribed reserve. Unframed. Circa 1806. 7 5/8" x 12 1/4" object. Provenance: Recently discovered in a bible. Catalogue Note: An iconic work, this is the only recorded Strickler composition incorporating American eagles. Jacob Strickler (1770 - 1842) was one of the nation's most important fraktur folk artists whose compositions had a significant impact on the folk and decorative arts of the Shenandoah Valley and beyond. His familial and artistic connections with furniture decorator Johannes Spitler (see the Long Family chest decorated by Spitler offered in this sale) are well-documented, and it is worth observing the design parallels between the Long Family chest and the present fraktur attributed to Strickler, notably the inverted hearts sprouting abstract tulips. The extent of Strickler's influence went beyond Johannes Spitler and the Massanutten region, however, and examples of his work, which rarely appear on the market, are highly coveted by institutions and collectors alike.
The present lot was executed for the Rothgeb/Roadcap family of Shenandoah (now Page) Co. and Rockbridge Co., Virginia. Connections between the Rothgeb family and the Strickler family are numerous. Jacob Strickler married Anna Rothgeb, the aunt of Susannah/Susan Rothgeb (b. 1806), the designee on the present taufschein. Additionally, Strickler made several other fraktur for Rothgeb family members, so it is not entirely surprising that he would have been commissioned to complete one for young Susannah, even though she had been born out of his immediate area. The Rothgebs in Rockbridge appear to have maintained strong connections with Page Co., as demonstrated by the fact that the body of Susannah's father, Christian Christopher Rothgeb/Roadcap (1776 -1843), was returned to the Massanutten Valley for burial despite the distance.
Very good condition overall. Professional conservation (including treatment of small edge losses and separation at center with associated inpainting) completed by Maria Pukownik, Ortanna, PA.