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.
The raised panel lid with two finger notches slides within case rabbet; the upswept
handle and case edges are chamfered. The black graining on chocolate brown is very
early and over blue. The viewer must look very closely to translate surface history.
(Length: 12.5"; width: 6"; height: 2.5")
The square box featuring canted sides on a projecting base in red and green paint.
The bottom is of tongue and groove construction; outside of box retains 98% original
paint; interior worn or thinning…perhaps 30% remains else nice dark patina.
(Height: 3.25"; width: 15.5"; depth: 15.25")
Domed profiles centering stylized carved finial above canted mail slot; conforming case features hinged door with diamond shape glazing; original lock.
Original red paint with off-white and green painted trim, the green oxidized to near-black. Fine condition. (Dimensions: 12.5" H, 6.5" W, 3.75" D.)
Large oval box covered with a floral design featuring white blossoms highlighted with red, yellow, and brown against a blue ground; the lid similarly papered. Box top shows in use wear.
Dimensions: 11.25" H, 16.5" W, 13" D.
Top and sides relief carved with figures and hieroglyphics, interior fitted with three compartments. (Excellent condition; loss to tip of head crown which will easily be restored; H: 5.75"; L: 18"; W: 3.75")
The molded and cleated lid is hung from original copper hinges and retains its original painted surface; S. BARRETT 1821; the front of the dovetail joined case displays pinwheel and star decoration and features a copper heart-shaped escutcheon; the interior fitted with twelve 18th century olive green colored gin bottles. Samuel Barrett was born on Nantucket January 29th, 1793 to Nathaniel Barrett and Margaret Brock (or Coffin). He was the Whaling Master on the ship Sally, Nantucket, Massachusetts, 1820.
(See Whaling Masters, Compiled by the Federal Writers Project, WPA of Massachusetts) H: 12"; W: 19.5"; D: 14.25"
A superbly decorated box with hide covering, original lock, and brass hardware; the wire hinges were compromised and are retrofitted with lovely small brass strap hinges. Daniel Watson, a saddler, leather fire bucket maker; manufacturer of military goods, and one of the principal stockholders of the New Hampshire Glass Factory was a successful and prominent citizen of Keen; he died in 1837.
Dimensions: 6.25" H, 15" W, 8.75" D.
270-90 - SOLD
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