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Painted Storage Box

Fraser, Charles
Place Made:
Charleston South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
painted wood –nails
HOA 14″; WOA 19″; DOA 14 3/4″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Painted wooden box; said to have been painted by Charles Fraser as a gift for his niece, Anna Susan Winthrop (1805-1857). The box is missing its lid, but consist of four painted panels. The front panel has the monogram “ASW,” presumably for Anna Susan Winthrop. All four outside panels have been painted with a burgundy faux-graining technique along the outside edges, at the center of which are large rectangular outlined areas. The areas are first outlined in thick black line, and after a space of 3/4″ outlined again with a thin black line. The central color is golden in color and represents natural wood graining. The panels have been painted with a white underpaint prep surface, which can easily be seen underneath all the painted surfaces, due to scratching. The monogram is painted within the outlined area in golden colors with burgundy-colored shadows and positioned in the center. The interior is a deep blue-green color, and the base (exterior) is natural wood. There is a latch and keyhole on the front and spaces for hinges on the back. Visible nails at bottom. At some point, there was molded edge trim around the bottom, and more than likely around the lid which is missing.

INSCRIPTION: Marks on bottom read “Fraser/ King Street”

Along with the stilllife painting (MESDA Acc. 5470), this painted box descended in the Winthrop family of Charleston. It was created by artist Charles Fraser for his niece, Ann Susan Winthrop (1805-1807), and bears her initials “ASW” in gilt letters. In her will, Ann bequeathed to her brother Dr. Henry Winthrop (1803-1890) her interest in the Tradd Street house and lot where they lived.

It is among a large group of related objects in the MESDA collection with Fraser family histories. These include a Chippendale-style chest of drawers (Acc. 2787) with a fitted upper drawer, an easy chair (Acc. 2788.2), a candlestand (Acc. 2788.1), a stilllife painting by Charles Fraser (Acc. 5470), and a miniature by Fraser for his niece Sophia Fraser (Acc. 5509).

Credit Line:
Gift of Robert and Jane Hicklin, Charleston, South Carolina in memory of Charles and Peggy Gignilliat.