Miniature carved and painted lift-top chest
Galesville, Wisconsin, 1878
Presented to Charles “Charley” Boulin
White pine, with original painted decoration and brass hinges, 8 ½ X 14 X 7 inches.
Inscribed in original paint: “Charley Boulin / Galesville / November 26 1879,” / “Presented to Charley Boulin By John Mooen” / “Charley Boulin.”
This is an important discovery in Wisconsin painted furniture.
The construction techniques of this miniature chest are indicative of a non professional cabinetmaker, the case butt-joined with square nails and the top carved from an unusually thick board, with a pronounced beveled edge. The carved and painted ornamentation comprised of hearts, flowers, and a variety of pinwheels shows Nordic and Germanic influences characteristic of the painted furniture produced in Wisconsin during this period by immigrant settlers. The painted inscriptions identify John Moen as the maker and Charley Boulin as the recipient. The men lived about eight miles from one another. John Moen is recorded in the Wisconsin State Census as born about 1845 in Norway, living in Ettrick, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin. The 1880 United States Federal Census shows Charles Boulin as born about 1844 in Prussia, a resident of Galesville, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin. .