About this artwork
Intended to store valuable linens, plates, and other goods, this probably served as a dower chest that a young woman brings to her new home upon her marriage. The front of the chest features an elaborate tulip, vine, and heart design intended to reinforce the theme of love. The tulip motif appeared frequently on English textiles, ceramics, and furniture, and it was brought to the American colonies through the immigration of English craftsmen. The tulip, which originated in ancient Persia, symbolized perfect love, and Turkish ceramics incorporating tulips were present in England by the early 17th century. Traces of the original green and red paint on the surface reveal that the chest was initially brightly decorated, which would have emphasized the festive patterning of the tulip theme.
- Artist unknown
- c. 1710
- Oak with white pine
- 82.5 × 122.5 × 48.2 cm (33 1/2 × 48 1/4 × 19 in.)
- Robert R. McCormick Charitable Trust Fund