"IMPORTANT PERIOD AMERICAN FOLK ART PAINTED BOX" (ca. 1820)
2 ¾ inches (height), 8 ¼ inches (width), 6â…› inches (front to back)
Excellent condition: the paint decoration, heart-shaped inlay around key hole, hinges, interior leather to hold pens/pencils, and brass pull are all original. Dovetailed construction. Lock is missing. Portrait on box is that of Commodore Stephen Decatur (1779 – 1820), a national hero. Ex. collections: Clark Garrett & David Good.
Of note to the collector of Southern folk art is that Decatur, Alabama is named after the Commodore. “Initially the area was known as ‘Rhodes Ferry Landing,’ named for Dr. Henry W. Rhodes, an early landowner who operated a ferry that crossed the Tennessee River in the 1810’s at the present-day location of Rhodes Ferry Park. The city was incorporated as Decatur in the year 1821. It was named in honor of Stephen Decatur; after he was killed in a duel in 1820, President Monroe directed that the Alabama town be named for him.”
“…Decatur’s distinguished career in the Navy would come to a premature end when he lost his life in a duel with a rival officer. His numerous naval victories against Britain, France and the Barbary states established the United States as a world power comparable to Britain and France. Decatur subsequently emerged as a national hero in his own lifetime, becoming the first post-revolutionary war hero where his name and legacy, like that of John Paul Jones, soon came to be identified with the United States Navy.”