I recently spent a bunch of time going through the online collection of the American Folk Art Museum, which happens to have the largest collection of tinsel paintings anywhere, many of which were featured in a major 2013 exhibition there titled "Foiled." Looking at those examples got me thinking about, and paying more attention to, this particular form of reverse glass painting, in which crumpled pieces of metallic foil were applied behind unpainted areas, such that, viewed in candlelight or gaslight as they would have been, they would shimmer in a magical sort of way (which makes them seem now like site specific works of art.) As with many of my favorite things, this was an art form practiced largely by young women, first taught in America in the first half of the 19th c. as part of a "refined" education, and then spreading to become widely popular as a folk art in the second half of the 19th c.
This one is later 19th c, not nearly so fine as most earlier examples, but its extra folkiness is what I like about it. The shape of the tower of greens and flowers keeps making me think of partridges in pear trees, and the smaller flowers to the sides look like little bells--producing imagined dings that seems just the sound to accompany metallic foil. Plus the shape and pearly white of that urn does it for me.
12 3/4" x 10 3/4" and in overall good condition, with plenty of wear to the surface of the frame and one small flaw in the glass near top left (detailed) which shows a bit frosty but seems not to present any issues.