Material: Basswood, brass handle, bright and attractive paint
Condition: Very good paint, sliver of wood missing at underside of side base molding.
Dark area of green paint at right of “B” that appears to be the same pigment used on
box…perhaps a mistake. Original brass handle and iron butt hinges. Displays well.
Additional Information: Rectangular lift top box, the lid with applied projecting molding
on case constructed with half rabbet joints; base features robust projecting molding.
Material: Mahogany and brass, superb wood, original brass hardware
Condition: Very good
Additional Information: A lovely hexagonal form…hinged lid with molded edges and
brass banding above similarly banded tapered case; plain interior with pierced drain.
The case is fitted to conforming stand raised on flaring tapered legs resting on casters.
Material: Hide bound wood, paint on paper lining; iron hardware and brass tacks
Additional Information: Rare and outstanding… Instead of a maker's label, the interior of this
example is lined with paper that is painted with a horizontal frieze of houses punctuated by
vertical trees with widespread leafy branches. An additional repeat of circular geometric motifs
completes the similarity of the lining to papered, stenciled, block-printed or freehand painted
wall coverings of the first quarter of the nineteenth century. (Stacy C. Hollander, American Folk
Art Museum, NYC)
During the late eighteenth century, Americans became confirmed in a constant pattern of
migration that persists as a part of their national character. Between 1790 and 1840, the system
of roads expanded exponentially, and overland travel by stagecoach, wagon, and horseback
increased.1 To transport personal belongings, people needed sturdy compartments that could
withstand the rigors of the road. Unlike delicate pasteboard bandboxes, which needed to be
handheld to survive rough trips, trunks were made from wood covered with dressed hide and
studded on the exterior with brass tacks in decorative patterns, sometimes including the owner's
initials. Hide-covered trunks were often cylindrical in shape and were intended primarily for
stagecoach travel, during which they were fastened on the outside of the coach. This type of
trunk appears in inventories from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, with early
valuations ranging from one pound to six shillings.2
Sotheby Parke-Bernet, November 16-18, 1972, lot 396
Skinner Auctioneers, Boston, Massachusetts, "The Estate of Elisabeth T. Babcock of
Woodbury, Long Island," November 15-16, 1985, lot 131
David A. Schorsch, Greenwich, Connecticut, as agent, 1985
"A Place for Us: Vernacular Architecture in American Folk Art," American Folk Art Museum,
"Hearth and Home: Architectural Selections from the Collection," American Folk Art Museum,
May 20-September 21, 2003
Literature:American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, Stacy C.
Hollander, American Folk Art Museum in association with Harry N. Abrams, New York, p. 101,
1 Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, 1790-1840 (New York: Harper & Row, 1988),
pp. 206, 211.
2 Nina Fletcher Little, Neat and Tidy: Boxes and Their Contents Used in Early American
Households (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1980), p. 33.
Material: Eastern White Pine [pinus strobus] by analysis: Alden Identification Service
Linen, rosehead nails and brass tacks.
Condition: Fine original condition; short shrinkage crack, one wire hinge needs to
be closed which we will do. Wonderful original surface, great patina.
Additional Information: The box is likely cooper made…staves joined to full coverage
carved end panels by beautiful rosehead nails. The half round door is initialed “CC” and
dated “1728”, underside of door initialed “BG” …likely a second owner. Both the
turnbuckle latch and door pull are carved. The drum is upholstered in homespun linen
with edges strengthened and decorated with green twill binding tape secured with brass
tacks. Within the interior was stored the workers various instruments and supplies: pins,
scissors, thread, and bobbins. The pillow was set upon the knees allowing the
lacemaker to work her craft on the padded cylinder. A rare survivor…
The making of bobbin lace required a means of attaching multiple threads; bobbin lace
is made from a number of threads attached by pins to a cushion/pillow, each thread
being wound on a small bobbin. The design is drawn on stiff paper or parchment, which
is carefully stretched over the pillow and pricked out along the main lines. Small pins are
inserted at close intervals, around which the threads turn to form the various meshes
A good image depicting the use of a lace pillow is published within Genevieve Cummins
book, Antique Boxes Inside and Out, Page 304, plate 564. Also, A Diderot Pictorial
Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry, plate 445.
Condition: Excellent, tiny chip to mother-of-pearl
Additional Information: Carved of single piece of wood…the lid inlaid with hearts,
diamonds and mother-of pearl within incised border featuring scratch-carved fan-like
spandrels slides within a half dovetail joint. The sides display sailing ships, one beneath
a moon and stars.
A superbly decorated pine box with hide covering, original lock, and brass hardware.
The interior papered in blue; rosehead nails. Penned within the lid interior: “Grandfather
Louis Noe’s Chest [B.F.U.] Please see bottom”. Written on the base is found: “This
chest I feel certain come along with the Noe’s from France when they accom. [sic]
(Gen.) Marquis de Lafayette to the U.S. of America”.
(Height: 6.5"; width: 14.25"; depth: 7.5")
The interior retains original robins’ egg blue paint; exterior varnish has yellowed,
oxidized to soft apple green, great patina, competent construction…excellent condition.
(Height: 4"; width: 9"; depth: 5")
This casket is mounted with a pair of cast brass crowns which center the wrought iron bail handle. Other
ornament includes oval brass bosses, and hand planished domed tacks. On the front are a pair of brass
fleur-de-lis centering the lock hasp and heart shape escutcheon. All sides are covered in leather; bottom
appears to be covered with ostrich hide affixed with 27 domed brass tacks [may be over original hide];
some of the smallest domed tacks are embossed on edges. The interior is marble papered. Leather hinge
runs the width of trunk; metallic bound wove thread tape binding prevents the lid from falling backward
which partially protected the integrity of hinge. About half of the leather hinge is split, other minor
imperfections are consistent with age and use. When we acquired the box, the lock escutcheon plate was
missing some nails. We have since added period nails. Displays well.
(Height: 5"; width: 10.75"; depth: 7")
Rectangular projecting lid featuring raised panel having a gouge-carved scalloped edge
within thumb molded perimeter; cleated lid over dovetail joined deep well resting on a
projecting molded base. The interior was/is fitted for a specific use; a once lidded till
over a single short drawer; there was once four compartments parallel to the
back…whereas two dividers are missing there are now three compartments. All
surfaces display competent salmon painted faux graining within black painted borders
accentuated with fine painted creamy white trim. This little chest displays well and is in
excellent original condition; any imperfections are minor and consistent with age and
use. Period small butt hinges replaced original wire hinges early in the boxes working
life. The till and rear compartments are missing lids, lock and likely the escutcheon
have been long-ago retrofitted with tiny screw holes filled and colored, all else fine.
(Height: 7.25"; width: 18"; depth: 8.5")
Rectangular lid over a conforming case; original brass hardware. Black and red graining
within green borders; bronze powder leaf and floral decoration…the ends display small
shields centered by fanciful flourished. The interior was “tortoise shell” sponged. The
box is clean and displays well; original key; height: 5.75"; width: 12.75"; depth: 8")
The domed pin cushion retains original fabric and linen under upholstery; its edges
secured by conforming bulleted molding. The canted top is banded in cherry; birds eye
maple panels all within cherry banding; edge molding to all corners. Slightly projecting
base: the ring pull is a working period replacement…original piercing is vacant. The
finely wrought clamp with hand cut threads is stored within the fitted base.
(Very good original condition; height: 4.75"; width: 6"; depth: 4.25")
The lift lid inlayed with initials “ED” opens to reveal a quilted silk lining; removeable fitted
tray also with silk lining contains buttons, a slide lid box containing spangles; buttons
and more…of special interest are four wooden spools of Clark threads. (The Clark
Thread Company (thread manufacturers: 1866: Newark, New Jersey, George A. Clark
& Bros. Inc. selling agents: 1897-1917: Newark, New Jersey, USA) Centering eight
molded compartments is a similarly sized domed pincushion covered in velvet. The
removable tray rests on corner blocks atop the deep well.
(Fine condition; 13.75 X 9 5/8 X 7.75”)
Brushed cotton cushion rests with the bolection and ogee shaped rectangular canted
tray and is raised on turned posts atop a similarly shaped box containing a spring-
loaded pin tray. The drawer opens by depressing a tiny spring tab on the reverse.
Threaded clamp bolt features a pierced thumbpiece displaying initials “KC”. Perusing
many sewing/needlework tools books we were unable to locate a similar device.
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