Dower chest

Unknown (Black Unicorn Artist)c. 1784

Reading Public Museum

Reading Public Museum

This chest, with paired black unicorns as the central design motif, is inscribed with the name Heinrich Faust (1766-1825) and dated 1784. Faust, a second generation native Pennsylvania German, was born in Bern Township, Berks County, a region settled in 1733 by immigrants of Swiss and German descent. They were noted for the production of chests decorated with unicorns, men brandishing swords astride galloping horses, and distinctive sawthooth borders framing arched panels on the facades. Heinrich Faust, the owner of the chest, moved from Berks County to Northumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1794. By the time of his death in 1825, he owned two chests valued at one dollar, slightly less than his silver shoe and knee buckles, and the same amount as his wool wheel.

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  • Title: Dower chest
  • Creator: Unknown (Black Unicorn Artist)
  • Date Created: c. 1784
  • Physical Dimensions: 21.56"h x 50.5"w x 22.56"d
  • Type: object
  • Medium: white pine, ironwork and paint
  • Culture: American
  • Credit Line: Museum Purchase