A native of Massanutten, Virginia, an isolated German-Pennsylvanian community in Shenandoah (now Pace) County, Johannes Spitler combined the naturalistic representation of birds and flowers with a traditional geometric composition. This chest, which is initialed by the artist, is an exceptional example of Spitler's unique amalgamation of 19th century Virginian and German-Swiss decorative styles.
The inside of the lid of this chest is marked I.I.S., which are the initials of the maker and likely his signature.
For related examples, see Poesch, Jessie, The Art of the Old South, (New York, 1985), p. 193; Gusler, Wallace B., "The Arts of Shenandoah County, Virginia, 1770-1825," The Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Nov. 1979, vol. V., no. 2, ill. pp. 14-15, fig. 5-5A; Walters, Donald "Johannes Spitler, Shenandoah County, Virginia Decorator", The Magazine Antiques, Oct. 1975, pp. 730-735, ill. pl. IV.