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Trunk
Butler Shop (act. 1824–c. 1855); paint decoration by Ann Butler (1813–1887)

Location: Greenville, New York, United States

Date: c. 1830

Materials: Paint on asphaltum over tinplate

Dimensions: 4 1/8 × 6 3/4 × 3 3/4"

Credit: Gift of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration, courtesy Esther Oldham and Anne Oldham Borntraeger

Accession Number: 53.2.2

Photo credit: John Parnell

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Description

This piece is signed and initialed by Ann Butler, eldest daughter of Aaron Butler (1790–1860) who came to Greene County, New York, from Connecticut in 1799 and established a general store, hay press, cider mill, and brandy business. His home on Brandy Hill also became the site of his tin shop, which opened in 1824 and continued to operate until a few years before his death. The tin shop employed as many as forty workers, including most members of his own family.

Butler's sons were occupied with the manufacture and distribution of the tinwares, and several of his daughters painted the floral decorations. Ann took over decorating by the age of fourteen or fifteen and probably taught her sisters how to paint. She married about 1840 and moved with her husband, Eli Scutt, to Livingstonville, New York. Her work is characterized by dense decoration with a variety of tulips, rosebuds, and diamond baskets, with multiple filler elements.

Stacy C. Hollander, "Trunk," in American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum (New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with American Folk Art Museum, 2001), 319.


Trunk
Date: c. 1830
Artist:
Dimensions: 4 1/8 × 6 3/4 × 3 3/4"
Materials: Paint on asphaltum over tinplate
Credit Line: Gift of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration, courtesy Esther Oldham and Anne Oldham Borntraeger
Place/Region: United States, Greenville
Accession Number: 53.2.2
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