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Maker(s):Gay, Jacob
Culture:American (w. 1758-1787)
Title:powder horn: Hamilton Davidson
Date Made:1772
Materials:horn, base metal: brass, iron
Place Made:United States; New Hampshire (probably)
Measurements:overall: 12 3/4 in x 3 3/4 in; 32.385 cm x 9.525 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2005.20.44
Credit Line:Historic Deerfield, The William H. Guthman Collection of American Engraved Powder Horns
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Powder horn inscribed: “HAMELTON / DAVIDSON / His Horn Made By J.G. 1772 / Jacob Gauy / HONI SOIT QUI MALY PENSE / DIEU ET MON DROIT.” This horn by Jacob Gay (w. 1758-1787) represents his best work and is doubly important for depicting an historical scene, the Boston Massacre, a rarity on powder horns. The scene is adapted from an engraving of the Boston Massacre (see HD 0864) produced by both Paul Revere (1734-1818) and Henry Pelham (1749-1806) in 1770; the scene is reversed, and the men depicted assume the satiric theatrics of most of Gay’s creatures. The phonetic spellings underscore theories about Gay’s illiteracy; nevertheless, the Davidson horn is an engraver’s masterpiece. Placed inside a rococo cartouche, the owner’s name is expertly carved in shaded letters with graceful geometric and floral devices, and little faces peek from inside the “Os.” The powder charger at the tip is a 19th century addition.

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