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Large Painted Viksdal Norwegian Document Box, Mid 1800's
The Viksdal style of rosemaling is one of the more highly sought after kinds of Norwegian folk art. We are offering a wonderful document box from the late 1800's that is beautifully decorated in the Viksdal style and that is in outstanding condition. The box measures 15 7/8 inches long by about 11 inches wide and 8 inches tall. It has a slightly domed lid that has remarkably survived with no splitting or warping. The sides of the box are made from individual hand-planed planks that are all about ½ inch thick. The bottom is constructed from two boards that have been pegged together with wooden pegs. The joinery on the corners of the sides uses wooded pegs along with single dovetails at the top of each corner. The bottom is attached to the sides with wooden pegs. Plane marks can be seen all over the surface of the box, a sure indicator that it is hand made. The lid has two hinges that are early replacements for the original hinges. The hinges each has minor repairs so that they are now attached to the box with a combination of early nails and more modern screws. The paint is what really sets this box off from the norm. It has the usual salmon colored ground with the Viksdal swirls done in black, white, yellow, and blue-green.
Overall the condition of the box is outstanding. It has been kept clean over the years so that the paint is still bright and bold. There are a small number of worm holes that do not seem to be inhabited. The corners are still solid although the joints have pulled away ever so slightly due to the wood drying out. The two boards on the bottom have separated along their joint line so that it is now possible to see the wooden pegs used to hold them together. The lid retains what appears to be remnants of snipe hinges that appear through the top. The lid is a single board that has been carefully hand planed to a slight curve to fit the ends of the box. You will see in the photos that there is a knot that extends through the lid on the one end. The photos have exaggerated the look of the knot. It is not nearly as intrusive as it appears in the photos. It is a reminder, however, that this box was constructed to be functional and the artisan worked with whatever wood happened to be available.
This is possibly one of the finest Scandinavian boxes done in the Viksdal style that you will ever have an opportunity to own. The size, condition and paint all contribute to making it one of the best around. If you have a Norwegian in your family then this piece will bring back memories of fjords and lutefisk. Get it before it is too late. Tusen takk.
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