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Halsey Munson Americana
204 North Summit Avenue
Decatur, Illinois  62522
Phone:  217-972-4645

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Paint-Decorated Table Top Box

Remarkable paint-decorated table top box from the last quarter of the 1800s. Possibly a “sweetheart box.” Time and the original protective varnish overcoat have muted the colors somewhat, but the mellow, 5-color surface needs no apology. Fully developed polychrome mariner’s compass designs span every corner (on two corners the painter changed his palette, using an inversion of the original colors), and on the lid semicircular motifs highlight a compass-drawn starflower. The box itself is made from the fine light mahogany referred to by sailors as “island wood” in the 19th C. and secured with early drawn nails. The interior is lined with patterned wallpaper. All of which makes sense because the box is said to have been made by an American sailor. Ca. 1870-1880. A beautifully planned design and the color rhythms seem almost inevitable. 9”L x 5½”D x 3”H. The paint surface is 99% intact.