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Blanket Chest

Place Made:
Accomack County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
yellow pine –poplar
HOA: 23 1/2; WOA: 50 1/4; DOA: 20 3/4
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Paneled blanket chest; top has pinned battens with face-nailed moldings; stiles face-nailed together at corners; stiles continue to floor forming foot supports, as does wainscotting in house joinery; one square panel on each side, two square panels surround two columns and two arched panels on front; each panel is blue with white beveled edges, red back beveling on top and bottom, black back beveling on sides; columns are each three fluted lines painted red; white painted, mitered and molded base; mitered and molded top; mostly original paint; cotter pin hinges.

SCHOOL: This cupboard belongs to a large group of furniture from Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The pieces are characterized by extensive fields of paneling, fine architectural detail and polychrome painted finishes. These features indicate the work of skilled finish joiners working from as early as the 1730s to the end of the eighteenth century. The frames of the case pieces such as chests and wardrobes are not joined–that is, do not have facades and sides mortised-and-tenoned to the corner stiles–but instead are wainscot construction, with the ranges of paneling rabbeted at the corners and joined with nails. (RAES)

FORM: Chests with hinged tops were an essential piece of furniture in early homes. Clothing, linens, blankets and all sorts of household items were originally kept in chests like this. Only later, after the development of the chest of drawers were chests of this variety considered “blanket” chests. Most early pieces of furniture were considered multi-purpose. This may have also served as a bench or a table.

RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA corner cupboard from same area (ACC. 2989)

Credit Line:
Douglas Battery Purchase Fund