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Box

Possibly Odessa, Delaware, area

1810-1825

Measurements

6-3/4 in x 12 in x 6-1/2 in

Materials

Mahogany, light wood stringing, brass (feet); white pine (secondary wood)

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation

Accession Number

1981.23

Condition Notes

Stringing in the vertical corners and along the left bottom edge has been restored.  The right front foot is a replacement, made from a brass bell housing.  The original key survives with the box.

Provenance

Ex coll. Mrs. Clifford E. (Anna M.) McFadden, who believed the box had been made by John Janvier.

Comments

The rectangular box with a hinged lid stands on brass ball feet and is made of 5/8-inch thick white pine covered with a thin mahogany veneer.  The top and front veneers show a crotched grain pattern.

Small locking boxes served numerous functions.  Some were fitted inside with compartments for tea leaves or for dressing implements, or were left unpartitioned for sewing, jewelry, or any small items of value or importance to the owner.  Although many small boxes were made abroad and imported along with contents, the white pine used to make this box assures its manufacture in the United States.  The design of the box is too generic to localize its fabrication with any degree of certainty.  The donor believed that it had been made by John Janvier (1749-1801), although he had died years before it could possibly have been made.  It might have been made by any of his sons, nephew, or others who trained in his shop.  However, because it exhibits no particular features in its design, materials, and construction that can be associated specifically with the Janviers, further substantiation of an association with the Janvier name is necessary.