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  RARE PAIR OF MATCHING PENNSYLVANIA GERMAN FRAKTUR MADE FOR SISTERS MARIA AND ELISABETH MARSCHALL BY KREBS, DAUPHIN COUNTY, IN 1790 & 1798
Dimensions (inches): Works - 13.25" x 16", Frames - 19.25" x 22.25"
Description:
RARE PAIR OF MATCHING PENNSYLVANIA GERMAN FRAKTUR MADE FOR SISTERS MARIA AND ELISABETH MARSCHALL BY KREBS, DAUPHIN COUNTY, IN 1790 & 1798:

Johann Jacob Friedrich Krebs (b. unknown, d. 1815) was one of the most prolific Pennsylvania German fraktur artists, working in Berks, Dauphin and Lebanon Counties. He drew freehand fraktur and had printed, for his personal use, many taufschien (baptismal certificates) from Berks County, Pennsylvania printers, which he then decorated elaborately by hand with tulips, distlefinks (imaginary birds) and other images, such as the wonderful sun faces seen here in the lower corners. What's unusual about these two surviving examples of Kreb's work is that they were made for sisters and have survived together. One was produced on April 17th, 1790 and the other on March 3rd, 1798 for the daughters of David and Elisabeth Marschall (probably later changed to Marshall), Maria and Elisabeth.

Similar examples are known. One is documented in a book by major collectors and scholars Corinne & Russell Earnst entitled "Fraktur: Folk Art & Family" (1999, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA), p. 154. This bears the same crown in the top center, but the distlefinks are replaced with swans and most of the elements are different. Another is included in "Pennsylvania German Fraktur Vol. 1," compiled by Frederick S. Weiser & Howell J. Heaney (1876, The Pennsylvania German Society, Breinigsville & The Free Library of Philadelphia), item 55, which is very similar, but in which the crown in the top center is replaced with a sun face and incorporates interesting variations of sun faces in the bottom corners, where side-view portraits peer at one-another from circular windows.

A translations of Maria's taufschien is as follows: "To these two married people, namely David Marschall and his lawful wife Elisabeth, a born Oloninger, a daughter was born into the world, named Maria, in the year of our Lord Jesus 1790, the 17th day April, at half ten [9:30] o’clock in the morning, in the sign of Gemini [incorrect in modern terms, but perhaps different on the Pennsylvania German calendar].

This Maria was born and baptized in America, in the state of Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County, in Anwill [Annville -- now in Lebanon County, which was divided from Dauphin and Lancaster Counties] Township.

Above mentioned Maria was baptized the [no entry] of [no entry], by Mister Lupp. Sponsors were Jonanna [sic] Oloninger and his wife [sic].

Scarcely born into the world, it is only a short measured pace from the first step to the cool grave in the earth. O with every moment! Our strength diminishes, and we grow ripe for the bier. And who knows in what hour the final voice will awaken us, because God has not revealed this to anybody yet. Who tends to his house will depart from the world with joy. Because surety, in contrast, can provoke eternal death.

Prepared by F. Krebs.

[In heart on left] I am baptized, I stand united with my God through my baptism. I therefore always speak joyfully in hardship, sadness, fear and need. I am baptized, that’s a joy for me. The joy lasts eternally.

[in heart on right] I am baptized, and when I die, how can the cool grave hurt me? I know my fatherland and legacy that I will have with God in Heaven. After death, Heaven’s garment of joy, the garment of celebration, is prepared for me.

The example for Elisabeth differs in date of birth, being March 3 in the year 1798 [last digit looks something like a "0" but cannot be and is probably an "8"] at half two in the afternoon, in the sign of Virgo [also not in line with the modern zodiac calendar] and the sponsors were Christopher Richert [sic] and his wife Maria.

Mounting: The ripple profile frames date to the period between 1830 and 1850. These are sandwich mounts between 100% cotton and U.V. protective acrylic. The black background fabric has been washed and treated to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose.

Condition: There is minor to moderate foxing throughout. There are fold marks and very minor losses.
   
Primary Color: red, yellow
Earliest Date: 1790
Latest Date: 1798
For Sale Status: Sold
Price SOLD
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