SOLD! for $7,316.00.
(Note: Prices realized include a buyer's premium.)
- Low Estimate: $6,000.00
- High Estimate: $8,000.00
- Realized: $7,316.00
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An early Wythe County, Virginia poplar polychrome painted blanket chest with tombstone panel decoration and bracket feet. The central tombstone panel depicts two parrots above two mermaids or lorelei, all framed by a painted dot design. The two flanking tombstone panels depict dahlia and urn designs. The urns appear to have a marbleized dark brown and yellow decoration. The decoration of the panels include white, yellow, brown, red, and orange pigments. The sides of the chest are decorated by tombstone panels in a simple dot hex star pattern. The three painted tombstone panels on the front of the chest appear to have a dark brown or red base color. The base color on the remaining chest appears a dark green with red painted accents at each corner. Other painted features include a red and black painted design remaining on the underside of the return moldings of the lid. The interior of the chest has a till with lower hidden compartment, simple butt end strap hinges, and an elaborate engraved crab lock. Inscribed on the top of the crab lock are the letters J or G and S with a heart design between the letters. 20 3/4″ H x 65 3/4″ W x 22 3/4″ D. Circa 1780. Provenance: Found in Crow Valley, Smythe County, Virginia. Chest descended from the John Crow family of Wythe/Smythe County, Virginia. The combination of parrots and mermaids/lorelei on Wythe County decorated chests is rare if not unique. However, the use of parrots and mermaids/lorelei do appear in Middle Valley Virginia decorative objects. For example, these motifs are employed in fraktur drawings by Peter Bernhart of Rockingham County,Virginia (See Page 82 of “Southern Folk Art,” edited by Cynthia Rubin). Fraktur with bird designs (turkey) have also been found in an early 19th century Wythe County, Virginia decorated chest (refer to the Umberger example in Elizabeth Holliday’s article, American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 1977). The Dahlia paint scheme featured in the two flanking panels is remniscient of the Wythe County painted chest group (refer to J. Roderick Moores “Painted chests from Wythe County, Virginia,” The Magazine Antiques, September, 1982, pp.516-521). It is also interesting to note the letters J or G and S on the crab lock of this chest. In the book “Paint, Pattern & People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania 1725-1850,” Cooper and Minardi note on page 93, “The Huddell brothers were originally from Shenandoah County, but their family moved to Wythe County by 1781 following their widowed mother’s marriage to Peter Spangler Jr. They were subsequently raised by a step-uncle, Jacob Spangler, who most likely was a woodworker and trained them in the trade.” Whether the J /G and S initials on the crab lot of this chest denote the initials of Jacob Spangler is unknown at this time. Additional note – remnants of a 1846 Hovley’s strawberry seedling label underside of lid lists distributors including E.M. Gavock, Wytheville, VA ( McGavock ). CONDITION: Blanket chest surface has been professionally cleaned. There is minimal inpainting or restoration visible under blacklight. Top surface of lid is unpainted, dry scrubbed. Original front feet retained with heavy wear. Left rear foot with losses and partially retained, rear right foot lost with contemporary replacement. Contemporary blocking for front two feet and rear right foot.