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American Decorative Arts

Chest with drawers

ca. 1781

Yellow poplar

26 1/8 × 47 7/8 × 21 7/16 in. (66.4 × 121.6 × 54.5 cm)
other (Case): 45 7/8 × 20 1/4 in. (116.6 × 51.5 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
This comb-painted chest has been attributed to an unknown decorator who worked near the Berks-Montgomery County line. This painter made use of stencils in creating the outlines of the panels on this and another related chest, a rare instance of the use of this technique on a Pennsylvania German chest of the eighteenth century. The chest is inscribed Gorg Bossert, presumably the name of the original owner.
Made in Berks or Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
On view
18th century

Owned originally by a man named George Bossert (or some variant spelling), whose identity is not known. The name and related variants are found in Berks and Montgomery counties, and "Bosserd" in Lancaster County. Acquired before 1930 by Francis P. Garvan, New York, to 1930; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Monroe H. Fabian, The Pennsylvania German Decorated Chest (New York: Main Street Press, 1978), 145, fig. 115.

Gerald W. R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1988), 34, 81, 115–16, no. 45, pl. 4.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 91, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.