DECORATED CHEST OF DRAWERS. Marked for Jeremiah Stahl, Soap Hollow, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, dated 1864, poplar. Of typical form with three bowed drawers over four graduated drawers, scrolled backsplash, and resting on turned feet. Retains its original painted decoration including stenciled birds and flowers on a red ground, the side panels initialed "SL" and dated "1864". Imperfections. 53 1/2"h. 40 1/2"w. 20 1/4"d.
For a similarly decorated example, see Muller, Soap Hollow: The Furniture and Its Makers
, p. 40. The present example appears to be the earliest dated piece of furniture signed by Stahl and may have, according to Muller, been made by Stahl while in partnership with Peter K. Thomas. The two men served together in the Civil War and this chest was made between their tours of duty, during which time, according to an affidavit by Stahl, they worked together (see Muller, p. 41).
Wear and some losses to paint, backsplash attached with later screws, cat scratches to right stile, escutcheon inlays are replaced. The varnish has darkened and has crazed in some places, but the paint appears largely intact under the varnish.
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