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Striking Polychrome Paint Decorated Box
New England, likely Maine, ca. 1830. Original paint and brass pull on basswood. Especially animated example highlighted by vibrant curved, straight, and circular bands, all walked along the surface with sponge or leather to create movement, all set within bold borders. The use of green to contrast the warm hues is very effective. Early internal wallpaper. Structurally excellent condition. Unobtrusive wear to paint from use, especially on the left hand panel. Extensive paint decoration this pronounced is typically found on large domed boxes, yet this box has a compact size of about 13 inches wide x 8 3/8 deep x 5 5/8 tall. See Fales, American Painted Furniture, page 208, figure 336, for another Maine box bearing similar decoration. Also see Sumpter Priddy, American Fancy, to understand better the motivations behind elaborate paint decoration..
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