Lot 2
  • 2

Thomas Molesworth

Estimate
20,000 - 30,000 USD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

  • Thomas Molesworth
  • An Important and Rare Radio from Ragner Ranch, Pennsylvania
  • fir, original white and blue leather, half-pole trim, Bakelite, painted metal, clear glass, textile with two hand-painted Native American "Yei" figures
  • 38 x 29 3/4  x 15 in. (96.5 x 75.6 x 38.1 cm)

Provenance

Commissioned by George Ragner for Ragner Ranch, Lake Conneaut, Pennsylvania, circa 1942
Thence by acquisition of Ragner Ranch, circa 1965
Fighting Bear Antiques, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Literature

Terry Winchell, Molesworth: The Pioneer of Western Design, Layton, UT, 2005, p. 56 (illustrated)

Catalogue Note

With its supple leather surfaces and vibrant hues, this rare console radio is a testament to Molesworth’s technical mastery of his craft.  The radio was once part of the single ranch commission of the Ragner family, who displayed the radio as the centerpiece in their den.  The commission was acquired directly by Terry Winchell of Fighting Bear Antiques, who later sold the radio to the Blooms.  The leather was expertly applied by Doug Skelkorn, the upholsterer for Molesworth’s firm.   It gracefully follows the contours of the wood moldings, echoing Italian furniture of the 1940s.  The contrast of the bright blue and white leather against the hand-peeled, half-pole fir trim at the top and skirt adds dimension and a decorative element to this piece. The radio retains is original internal elements (though not currently functional), Bakelite buttons and switches.  The front of the radio presents with the original cloth panels which exhibit hand-painted Native American “Yei” figures on cloth, likely executed by Molesworth himself.  The rarity of these vintage radios is of note:  according to one of Molesworth’s early catalogues from the late 1930s, each radio was unique and only executed by special commission.  The rarity of these radios today is no doubt due to the small commission size as well as the extensive time and high degree of skill required to perfect each individual element.
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