Important Mahantongo ‘Praying Children’ Blanket Chest

Attributed to Johannes Mayer (1794-1883), Mahantongo Valley, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

Dated "1841"

Pine and poplar with original paint-decorated finish

Ht. 28 ½’, W. 50”, D. 21”

Decorated in green & blue with corner fans, compass point designs on the lid, rosettes, a tree of life, and two praying children on the front. The end panels decorated as well. The chest retains the original turned and splayed feet that screw in and out of the base. This blanket chest, from noted scholar Henry Reed's collection, is the finest example of a group of five that feature kneeling, or praying, children.

Provenance: Henry Reed; Sotheby’s, May 23, 2002, Lot 298; Private New York collection.

Literature: Reed, Decorated Furniture of the Mahantongo Valley (1987), Plate 4, discussed on p. 18; Zimmerman, “Mahantongo Blanket Chests,” The Magazine Antiques (October 2002), p. 167, pl. VII.