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Spice Box

1791
Origin: America, Virginia, Loudoun County
OH: 20 3/4"; OW: 16 1/8"; OD: 11 3/8"
Black walnut, yellow pine, ash, brass, and iron
Museum Purchase, The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund
Acc. No. 2006-21,1
Description: the vertical case piece with a thin molded top above an unusually large reverse stepped cornice molding. The hinged door below has a thumb-molded edge and lightwood inlaid decoration consisting of four small "dots" positioned towards each corner and, at the center of the door, a vertical rectangle enclosing a smaller horizontal rectangle inside which are the initials "M W"; the date "1791" is inlaid below the smaller rectangle. The case rests on a dovetailed base with simple shaped side moldings which continue across the front with the addition of a shaped center drop (slightly off center). The door opens to reveal four graduated rows of drawers each with a large brass knob. The drawer arrangement consists of two rows of three short drawers over one row of two long drawers over one longer drawer. The iron hinges attaching the door to the proper left side of the case appear to be original (screws are not original). The original lock remains in one of the drawers along with a brief history of the spice chest. The interior drawers have nailed bottoms and rectangular scrap wood drawer stops glued to the outside of the backs. The inside of the drawer facings reveal crudely deep saw kerfs from the dovetailing. A chamfered yellow pine backboard slides down to reveal a row of two secret drawers behind the heavy cornice molding in which were found the estate papers of John Warford (1750-1812) of Loudoun County, Virginia.
Provenance:May have originally been owned by John (1750-1812) and Mary (d.1832) Warford of Loudoun Co., VA. Descended in their family. Papers relating to John Warford's estate remained in two secret drawers in the spice box. Included on John's estate inventory was an entry for "Drawers & spice box $18.00." A typewritten note indicated that the box was brought to Belmont Co., Ohio in 1798 by Elizah Warford, great grandmother of CM Palmer, Maple Rd. City. John Warford's widow Mary and some of her children moved to Belmont Co., Ohio during the late 18th or early 19th century.
Mark(s):Inlaid on door front "M W" and "1791"