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Sometimes you have to be a detective when it comes to accessing antiques so the buyer (you) can gain insight into its history that includes telling a story. Why, you may ask?....because it is fun to learn about our antique purchases so we can also one day share their story to an interested onlooker. This particular piece possesses “tried and true” make~do repairs that have endured the test of time and quite well I may add!
It started life in the mid to late 18th c. as a hanging salt box with a lid that either had leather hinges or a pintle hinge. The current “slant top lid” has been there for quite some time as evidenced by the shadow mark on the underside from the center board. This lid may be a replacement as the succession of nails running in a horizontal position near the back do not offer a purpose as to why they are there given the underside is free floating. The bottom of the box most likely deteriorated from storing salt and the lower side pieces were added to remedy this problem. This addition, though done long ago constitutes a stewardship of loving “make~do” repairs.
The box is most likely New England in origin and delights us with a coastal whale tale crest that gives this piece wonderful form. The added side piece on the left hand side has a lighter hue but was indeed notched to accommodate the existing tongue located just above as referenced in image 20. There is also a larger gap located on the back where this side piece addition took place (image 19) compared to the right side addition (image 18).
Lovely mortised construction seems to rule the day and is a noteworthy and early trait located on the side of the box as referenced in images 15 & 21 as well as on the front (image 14). A tiny chip is present on the front edge near the right bottom swirl as shown in image 1. The drawer has a gentle smooth curve present at the top edge near the left hand side from appropriate wear (image 3). The four divided “notched in sections” of the drawer were to accommodate a small variety of spices. Tell-tale signs due to the effects of spice discoloration are present on the wood surface as some areas have darkened from age. The brass pull shows age related oxidation on the inner edges.
The inside area of the box exhibits a dry surface mixed with dark areas against a pale ground. There is a tight crack located underneath the lid on the right hand side (image 23) that is visible on the top portion as well. The bottom was fashioned from a combination of small and larger nails with evidence of appropriate nail bleed in the wood. A small fisher appears near the front on the right hand side that is about 3” long. Image 15, referenced by the arrow, shows a crack near the top right edge that is actually the aftermath of a glued repair we felt compelled to make. This delicate area incurred stress though the years as the lid was frequently being opened to access the contents and finally gave way during my photo shoot. I am sure this repair will hold but we are advising to be gentle when opening the lid.
The surface was probably refinished at some point in time and is consistent sporting a dark mahogany hue in combination with a semi-gloss appearance. Most of the early pieces were repaired such as this one because of the expense of purchasing new therefore the life expectancy of utilitarian wares was extended as much as possible.
Owning an 18th century piece is not only exciting but can produce chills down your spine, (in a positive way of course), not to mention an instant early look enhancing our homesteads appearance! This is considered a high country, substantial piece that can seemingly dominate any wall of your choosing lending amazing impact by evoking 18th century charm. Be prepared for generous compliments from your country enthusiast friends! Enjoy!
Overall height is 15” tall including the handle, box itself stands 8 ¼” tall (back measurement), stands 6 ¼” (front measurement), measures 6 ½” deep, drawer face is almost 2” tall, measures 8 ¾” across the top (right to left) and measures 6” front to back. Each compartment opening measures 3 ¾” across and is 2 ¼” deep.
~Freight (Standard Mail) included, however Insurance is optional and can be purchased @ checkout ~ within the continental U.S.