JOHN P. BOYER (1833-1901). Fine And Rare Grain Painted Seed Chest, Brickerville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, circa 1877


White pine, original grain-painted decoration and porcelain knobs, 22 ¼ x 18 ¼ x 6 ¼ inches

The rectangular hinged desk-like lid opening to a fitted interior with three compartments above a case fitted with three rows of four flush fitting drawers over a row of eight smaller flush fitting drawers, all with original white porcelain knobs, the sides continuing to form delicate scalloped bracket feet. The chest retains its outstanding original sponge and finger decorated mustard grained decoration.

This is one of a small group of highly acclaimed seed chests made by  John Palm Boyer of Brickerville, Elizabeth Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania town. Family tradition and one signed example are the basis of the attributions to this maker; a closely related seed chest to this one and of identical size bears the signature “John Boyer 1877” and is illustrated and discussed in  Donald M. Herr, John Long & John Boyer: Nineteenth-Century Craftsmen in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Lancaster, PA, 2006).


Ralph M. Meyer, Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, 1968;

The collection of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Flanders Smith, Millbach, Pennsylvania;

“Pennsylvania German Folk Art and Decorative Arts From the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Flanders Smith,” Christies on site in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, June 3, 1995, lot 165;

An Important Southern private collection


“Pennsylvania Folk Art,” The Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania, October 20-December 1, 1974.

“By Hand and Eye,” The Heritage Center of Lancaster County, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, May 4-October 31, 1976.

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