06-08-2008 06-08-2008
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
2412 Boston
June 8, 2008 11:00 AMCalender

Rare Painted and Decorated White Pine and Maple Storage Box

Auction: American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2412 Location: Boston Date / Time: June 08, 2008 11:00AM


Rare Painted and Decorated White Pine and Maple Storage Box, western Massachusetts, 18th century, the nailed domestic container has bentwood sides joined with lapped fingers, and early nails, its decorative scheme is composed of red and black pigments on an all-over white lead wash, the cover includes a central black spiral outlined in red and surrounded by black and red pinwheels and stellate devices which also appear at one and one quarter inch intervals on the sides , with an all-over glaze, (very minor imperfections), ht. 5, dia. 13 in.

Note: This storage box is one of a small group of interrelated objects that share exuberant geometric polychrome decoration and origins in the Connecticut River Valley. All of those pieces were 18th century household articles that included red and black pigments, glazes, and an all-over coat of white lead wash, which has become cream color with time. The other surviving examples include three case pieces with even more graphically dense designs than the smaller box. They include an elaborately decorated joined cupboard with "Hannah Barnard" boldly inscribed on the front. She brought this to her 1715 marriage to John Marsh in Hadley, Massachusetts. The painted figures are similar to motifs found on carved furniture produced in Hampshire County Mass. This piece is in the Collections of the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Detroit. Another early 18th century piece of joined furniture from Hadley, Massachusetts, that incorporates the compass-derived polychrome spirals and stellate devices seen in the storage box is the chest over drawers inscribed "SW", probably for Sara (Williams) Marsh. The ornamentation of this piece is so consistent with the "Hannah Barnard" cupboard that it has been suggested both were decorated in the same workshop. The "SW" chest is in the Collections of Memorial Hall, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield, Massachusetts. A third chest with similar ornamental paint has geometric spiral polychrome devices on the fa├žade and originated in the Hadley, Massachusetts area. While its construction differs from the earlier cited examples, this piece which is in the Collections of the Henry Frances du Pont Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Delaware, shares its decoration with the other case pieces referred to, as well as with this storage box, Lot 117. Don White, Furniture Scholar
Estimate $50,000-75,000

loss of thin strips of maple on top edge of cover lid, lacking several small nails on cover rim, three small losses to pine on cover top edge, minor scattered paint losses associated with age and use.


Massachusetts, Hadley, stellate devices, Connecticut River Valley, John Marsh, Henry Ford Museum, Sara (Williams) Marsh, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Memorial Hall, Deerfield, geometric spiral polychrome devices, similar ornamental paint, Wilmington, Pont Winterthur Museum, Delaware, Don White