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Maker(s):attributed to Drake Shop tradition; Jacob Drake (possibly)
Date Made:ca. 1682
Type:Container; Furniture
Materials:wood: oak, paint
Place Made:United States; Connecticut; Wiindsor
Measurements:overall: 9 1/2 x 24 1/4 x 20 1/8 in.; 24.13 x 61.595 x 51.1175 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2007.37
Credit Line:Gift of Joseph Peter Spang In Memory of Henry Needham Flynt & Helen Geier Flynt
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Carved and painted wooden document box with the carved initials "EB" which descended in the family of joiner Thomas Bissell (1628-1689) who came to Windsor with his father in 1639. The piece was passed down in direct descent to Mrs. James Erit who sold the box at auction in 1971. "EB" may stand for Elizabeth Bissell (1666-1688), the daughter of Thomas Bissell. Elizabeth’s uncle Jacob Drake (1621-1689) was the likely maker of this box, which may have been made for Elizabeth at the time of her marriage to East Windsor carpenter John Stoughton (1657-1712) in 1682. Trained by his father, John Drake Sr. (1594-1659) who immigrated from County Devon, England, Jacob Drake oversaw the most active Devonshire-derived woodworking shop in Windsor in the 1680s. It has also been suggested that the box was made for Thomas Bissell's granddaughter Eunice Bisell (1686-1733) who married her cousin, John Stoughton, Jr., (1683-1746), the son of John Stoughton and Elizabeth Bissell, in 1706. The “E.B.” box’s central shield-shaped reserve flanked by asymmetrical leaves with shaped stems and edged with alternating gouges and gouge strikes, and accentuated with punches, resemble the shield-shaped reserves and carved tulip-and-leaf motifs found on boxes and chests attributed to an as yet unknown Springfield, Massachusetts, shop. Although the blue and pink paint adorning the drop ground of the carved front is a twentieth-century enhancement, it may have been added to refresh an earlier paint scheme applied when the box was made. Examples of similarly carved and painted boxes and chests have been found in England’s South West Country.

Label Text:
From the Into the Woods label (removed January 2017):
Box, possibly Jacob Drake (1621-1689), Windsor, Connecticut, c. 1680, white oak. Jacob Drake (1621-1689), the likely maker of this box, was probably born in the English midland town of Hampton-in-Arden, Warwickshire, and trained as a joiner's apprentice in England, before moving to Windsor, Connecticut with his family in 1635. The initials "EB" carved on the front of this box may stand for Jacob Drake's niece, Elizabeth Bissell (1666-1688), daughter of Windsor, Connecticut joiner Thomas Bissell (1628-1689). In 1644, Jacob married Elizabeth's aunt, Mary Bissell (1628-1689). Drake may have made the box as a gift to mark Elizabeth's 1682 marriage to East Windsor carpenter John Stoughton (1657-1712).
Drake nailed the sides of this box between the front and back boards, nailed the bottom board to the case and nailed oversize cove moldings to the base of all four case sides through a nailing ledge that he created by running a shallow rabbet on the underside of each molding. This shallow ledge also supported and slightly raised the box to prevent the bottom board's nailheads from scraping the surface upon which the box was placed. Over time the iron nailheads oxidized in reaction to high levels of humidity, staining the surrounding wood black.
Paint Decoration
Pigment analysis has revealed traces of original vermillion paint underneath the present bi-colored layer of paint containing pigments not available before the end of the 19th century. It is not clear if the vermillion paint was applied as a solid coat, or selectively to parts of the carved decoration. No traces of other original pigments have been detected.

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