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A COMPASS-DRAWN AND PAINT-DECORATED BOX
A COMPASS-DRAWN AND PAINT-DECORATED BOX
A COMPASS-DRAWN AND PAINT-DECORATED BOX
A COMPASS-DRAWN AND PAINT-DECORATED BOX
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THE SIEGMUND COLLECTION OF AMERICAN FOLK ART
A COMPASS-DRAWN AND PAINT-DECORATED BOX

POSSIBLY BY GEORGE ROBERT LAWTON (1813-1885), SCITUATE, RHODE ISLAND, 1835-1850

Details
A COMPASS-DRAWN AND PAINT-DECORATED BOX Possibly by George Robert Lawton (1813-1885), Scituate, Rhode Island, 1835-1850 underside of lid inscribed in red pencil George/ G; paintwork appears refreshed 11 in. high, 23 ¾ in. wide, 13 ¼ in. deep
Provenance
Hesse Galleries, Otego, New York, July 1983

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Sallie Glover
Sallie Glover American Folk Art

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Lot Essay


Bearing the distinctive circular and heart motifs seen on another box attributed to George Robert Lawton, Sr. (1813-1885), this box appears to be another example of this inventive craftsman's work. The paint, however, is thickly applied and often oversteps the outlines of the compass-drawn designs whereas the Lawton-attributed box has thin layers of paint, each color meticulously placed within its designated space. It is possible that the paintwork visible on the box offered here is a later application that covers a similar, original scheme. As this box was sold soon after the Lawton-attributed box received considerable attention at auction, someone might have been tempted to make a copy. However, at this time, the maker of the Lawton-attributed box was believed to be John Congdon Colvin and it was only several years later that David Schorsch uncovered the identity of the craftsman as George Robert Lawton. Thus, the presence of the inscription George on the underside of the lid on the box offered here argues in its favor that it too was made by Lawton. For the Lawton-attributed box and more on the maker, see David A. Schorsch, "A 19th-Century Rhode Island Folk Artisan Discovered: Lawton, Not Colvin," Maine Antique Digest (March 1987), pp. 18-19D and David A. Schorsch, "Father and Son: The Painted Furniture of George Robert Lawton, Senior and Junior," in Jane Katcher, David Schorsch and Ruth Wolf, eds., Expressions of Innocence and Eloquence: Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana, vol. II (New Haven, 2011), pp. 182-201.

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