NFLD Carved Powder Horn
A very good 19th century Newfoundland powder horn with wonderful carving and provenance. This horn belonged to John Shannon Clift of St. John’s Newfoundland. Prior to the mid-1860’s Clift was an operator for the New York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company. He was the son of the Honourable John Shannon Clift and obviously later spent considerable time sailing. It appears Clift began carving this horn around 1868, and what is particularly interesting about it is that after Clift died there was a memorial carving done on the horn, likely by a close friend or family member. A bit of online research reveals that John Shannon Clift got sick while at sea and died at port in New York on February 28th, 1879. He was only thirty-three years old. There is a headstone carved onto the horn with the inscription “SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF J.S. CLIFT, BORN MAY 24 1846, DIED. LET HIM R.I.P.” The horn has some great imagery, including his family homestead (complete with clothesline), crossed American and British flags, the four card suits with folky faces inside, a devil with forked tail, a sailor with rifle, a fouled anchor, morse code dots and dashes, and a man hanging from a gallows with “LYNCH LAW” inscribed beneath. The horn is in untouched condition -- the butt has separated from the horn although it stays in place with a friction fit. It's a fairly large horn at 15" in length. See the many additional photos we've provided of the imaginative carving by Clift.