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Fire Chief Harry Howard

Object Number: 
1937.328
Date: 
ca. 1857
Medium: 
Polychrome painted and carved wood
Dimensions: 
Overall: 100 x 66 x 44 in. ( 254 x 167.6 x 111.8 cm )
Description: 
Polychrome carved wooden sculpture of male figure in fireman's uniform and hat; left arm raised with finger pointed, right hand holding holds speaking horn; on square pedestal. The sculpture is fashioned from primarily one piece of wood with additions in multiple pieces for the arms, horn, left foot, drapes and pockets of the coat, helmet, medallion, and base. The wood has been carved and painted, there are multiple layers (5-6) of paint, and a coating layer that covers portions of the sculpture.
Gallery Label: 
This imposing figure represents Harry Howard (1822-1896), the Chief Engineer of New York City's Volunteer Fire Department from 1857 to 1860. The statue originally stood on the roof of the building erected for the Harry Howard Hose Company at 115 Christopher Street around 1853. Upon the disbanding of the company in 1865, the statue was presented to the Neptune Engine Company No. 2 of Paterson, New Jersey, and later passed into the possession of the Protection Engine Company No. 5 and the Paterson Exempt Firemen's Assocation. It was acquired by folk art collector Elie Nadelman in 1936.
Credit Line: 
Purchased from Elie Nadelman Conservation was made possible with the generous support of John S. Tamagni in honor of his grandfather Arthur Searle, NYFD, 1886-1909
Provenance: 
Harry Howard Hose Company, 115 Christopher Street, ca. 1853-1865; Neptune Engine Company No. 2, Paterson, New Jersey; Protection Engine Company No. 5, Paterson, New Jersey; Paterson Exempt Firemen's Assocation, Paterson, New Jersey; The Folk Art Collection of Elie Nadelman, 1936; purchased by N-YHS 1937.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group