A chest was one
of the earliest pieces of furniture used by both men and
women to contain their personal and household items. Now
often known as "blanket chests", these were often decorated
with paint or carving and commonly incorporated names or initials
along with significant dates. Different styles of decoration
are associated with different areas of the Colonies. Painted
chests from the Connecticut River Valley are typified by
a limited palette -- usually light colored detail on dark
wood. Chests from the coastal areas of Connecticut
often had chip carved "sunflower" designs. Chests from
Maine were often decorated with fanciful "vinegar" grain
painting. In Pennsylvania German tradition, a brightly
painted Dower Chest was a typical gift to a young women to
contain her linen in preparation for marriage.
scaled-down version (approx. 12"x6"x6"),
will hold letters, jewelry, recipes or what-have-you. Traditional
colors are red, green and blue for Pennsylvania styles and
brown and mustard for New England styles. Each chest contains
historical information about the style or pattern of decoration and the derivation of the design.
Berks County Chests
Brown Unicorn Chest is adapted from a design on a
chest painted for Margaret Kernen in 1788.
Blue Unicorn Chest. This chest is patterned
from a Unicorn chest on display at the Lebanon County Historical
Society. Circa 1800.
Red Unicorn Chest. This ornate unicorn chest
is patterned after a privately owned chest dated 1789.
Berks County Style, red and blue versions
Colonial Man. The design of this large chest, possibly
of Berks County origin, shares many similarities in construction
with chests found in Lancaster County.
Landis Valley Chest. The pattern on this chest
originates from a chest dated 1774, on display at Landis
Valley Museum, in Lancaster County, PA.
Lancaster County Style chest is ideal for adding dates
and names or initials.
Chest” is adapted from a chest made for Maria Stohler
in 1788 by an unknown Lancaster County artist.
Christian Seltzer Chest. This chest design with
double arched panel is attributed to Christian Selzer, circa
1789 – 1831.
3 panel Seltzer Chest was adapted from one painted
by Christian Selzer between 1771 and 1796.
Panel Chest, two panels on top and two panels on front, also based
on a Seltzer style chest.
New England Chests
This 1730 design is adapted from a chest
made in the Connecticut
See more New England Chests in Small Chests.
Our Own Design
Chest” is ideal for personalizing with one or two names
for a special occasion.
This chest with three arched panels
is our own interpretation of a traditional chest.