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From: Bev Anderson <>
Subject: [NOR] Antique Trunk with Rosemaling design
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2007 01:20:17 -0700 (PDT)

Possible mystery surrounding a trunk with a Rosemaling design...! :-)

I have three images (of a total of five) of a trunk found in an Oklahoma antique shop on the above link. How the trunk ended up in Oklahoma is a mystery. A Decorah newspaper ad is plastered on inside lid and I enlarged the .jpg image to see the date of 1878 on a corner of the page in one of the photo views not online.

I managed to read the Fød 1790 and ?? 1832 [did I get that right?] painted on the trunk but the initials on the far left front of the trunk are still a mystery and I don't have a better view of the initials. Likely they are for the person who originally owned the trunk (presumably it was a woman, perhaps this was a dowry or a linen chest?).

The person who found this trunk at an antique store in Oklahoma sent the images to Vesterheim Museum in Decorah. The Vesterheim museum curator wrote her back with this message:

"It is an interesting example, one that might be attributed to the Hallingdal region based on the painting – though the painting would need considerable cleaning and potential restoration to truly shine again. The painted date seems to be in the 1830s, which would be appropriate for painting of this time period.

Though the painting is interesting, the trunk does not seem to be in the best condition. Not the worst, but not the best. Because Vesterheim has limited resources to care for and refine the museum collections, we generally do not seek pieces that would require significant attention before it could be exhibited or used for research. We also prefer to acquire pieces that have a known history of who made, used, or cherished them."

Question for experts on the list: Where is the design from? Is it possibly from Hallingdal [Buskerud] as the museum curator says? Or, if from somewhere else, then where? Has anyone else ever seen this particular style of Rosemaling design? If so, where was it from? Any information about the trunk or the Rosemaling design would be greatly appreciated.

The provenance is unknown, but if that old wooden trunk could talk, I'm sure it would have a tale to tell about how it got from its unknown origins in Norway to Oklahoma and all points in between (just because there's a newspaper ad from Decorah inside the trunk lid does not necessarily mean the trunk was ever there, just that the newspaper ad was from Decorah).....

I've converted the images shown to .gif images because the .jpg images were scanned at 300 dpi in .jpg format and are too large for the web page. I can forward the full .jpg images off-list to anyone who wants to be able to look at the full photos or enlarge them on a computer screen for a more complete view (the .jpg images do enlarge nicely for close-up views, and the quality of the .jpg images is much better than the .gif conversions). I have permission from the person who took the photos to put them online with the purpose of finding out more about the trunk, but I'm only leaving the images on the web site until I can glean any information about the design and/or trunk.

Any information from art historians with expertise in Rosemaling styles from various regions in Norway in the early 1800s would be greatly appreciated, and I will pass the info on.

Mange Tusen Takk! :-)

Med vennlig hilsen,

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