A steel cowbell hand-painted on one side with a detailed rendering of a living room with stockings hung above a roaring fireplace, a grandfather clock showing midnight, and a sleeping cat (or dog). “’Twas the night before Christmas.” the opening line of Clement Moore’s 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” is painted at the top. One narrow side of the bell is painted, “Happy New Year,” and the other with “The year is going, let him go,” a line from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s 1850 poem “Ring out, wild bells.” The other large side shows a woman walking along a snowing path, her arms laden with holly wreaths and the legend, “Merrie Xmax,” Given the literary references of the other decoration, this image must refer to some long-forgotten Christmas or New Year’s tale.
- Origin: America or England, ca. 1875
- Condition: good, considerable darkening of painted scene (darker than in photos), some rust (see photos)
- Dimensions: 4-3/4” high; 3-1/2” wide; 2-1/2” deep