LiveAuctionTalk.com Highlights Pennsylvania German Folk Art Chest in its Weekly Free Article Rosemary McKittrick’s column is the online home for inside information about art and antiques. Visit the site and sign up for a free weekly subscription. Photo courtesy of Skinner Auctioneers.
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - Jan. 25, 2007-- There’s a carefree feeling to this 18th century hope (dower) chest. If it could speak what might it say about the young woman whose linens, needlework and quilts it housed? What might it say about a bride’s hopes for the future and worries about the past?
Painted robin’s egg blue and decorated with bold black unicorns, lions, tulips and fancy compass designs, it’s eye-dazzling, clearly built with kindness and a gentle hand.
Usually these chests, decorated with symbols from folklore were three to four feet long. They were popular among Pennsylvania German settlers in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The chests could be found in the bedroom or parlor. They may very well have been the only touch of color in an otherwise drab farmhouse.
People who owned them were generally moneyed. Chests in poorer families were usually one color—barn red.
Did the village carpenter build this particular dower chest? Did the would-be bride’s father build it? Who decorated it?
The maker’s name is often missing on these pieces, but the owner’s name or initials and the date in Roman characters is often given prominent space.
The German red paint on this particular chest translates to “Adam Menick in Bern Berks County in the year 1796.”
Nowadays any collection of Early American furniture seems incomplete without at least one piece of painted furniture. These Pennsylvania German dower chests have been elevated to the level of antiques worthy of inclusion in the best museums.
On Nov. 5, Skinner Auctioneers, Boston, Mass., offered the painted and decorated dower chest described in its American Furniture & Decorative Arts auction. The piece went for $446,000.
Read the entire article at www.LiveAuctionTalk.com.