Every once in a while the search gets very exciting. We came across this fragment of a blanket chest in the Connecticut River Valley and it made our day.
The fragment is the front panel of an early blanket chest. It is in pine and measures 33 1/4" wide and 16 3/4" tall. The top piece of applied molding survives (note the beveled edges). A large escutcheon hole is prominent in the top center.
But, the carving is the exciting part. We have nearly the entire panel with two side-by-side circular designs with concentric rings of petal-like carvings emanating from central flowers. There are carved spandrels in the corners and carved decoration in between the circles. The bold carving has a great, unprofessional folk art quality. The panel has traces of green and black paint and white which may have been the sizing.
Painted blanket chests are common but we rarely find anything like the bold carving on this fragment. It is evident from this piece that the original chest was nailed together and the applied moldings were used to add character and hide the construction detail. We date this piece to the late 1600's or early 1700's.
Picture hanging wire has been added to the back to facilitate display.
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