About this artwork
This chest belongs to a group of furniture attributed to drum maker and joiner Robert Crosman, who likely learned the furniture-making trade from family members. The piece’s simple plank construction is characteristic of Crosman’s work. Although the flat top is undecorated, a white tree with ocher leaves and red flowering buds, and four birds surround the initials “H B” on the central panel. Early painted chests were likely made for young women as dowry vessels. The inclusion of women’s initials on chests, as well as the use of a decorative vocabulary that bespeaks fertility and prosperity, supports this long-standing view. The initials on known Crosman chests are thought to be those of his sitters and other women in his family; the initials on this chest could be those of Hannah Blake, a relative of Crosman’s second wife.
- Robert Crosman
- c. 1725
- White pine, iron, brass, and paint
- Roman capital initials in white on either side of original iron lock plate: "H B"
- 52.8 × 57.2 × 32.6 cm (20 3/4 × 22 1/2 × 12 13/16 in.)
- Wirt D. Walker Fund