Fantastic 19th century paint decoration artist's sample box. He likely carried this box with him to show the type of work he could do. Each of the four sides has a different type of beautiful faux finish depicting a different type of wood. The finish of each side continues to the top of the box creating a top with four triangles of four different finishes. The box measures 13” x 12 ½” x 10”. It is dovetailed but also has supporting nails which appear to have been used in the original construction. Top and bottom mouldings add extra interest to the box. The bottom has a large age crack which allows one of the hand-cut square nails to show when you flip the box over. The brass butt hinges appear to be original….some of the screws are original flat head screws and a couple of them have been traded out. The box originally had a lock but, as you can see by the photo, the lock box is gone. The keyhole looks great though! As you can also see in the photos of the hinges, there are stress cracks on the top back edge near the hinges. It appears from the photos (enhanced by the flash) that these cracks have been glued at one time. The cracks are not noticeable from the top of the box and the top of the box is sturdy. The paint was sealed when done with a varnish or shellac which has yellowed and shows some pooling as both of those products do over the decades (somewhat like craquelere but not as evenly distributed). As you can see from the photos there are some dings and wear to the paint which mostly seems to concentrate on the mouldings and the top (where the box was most vulnerable to getting hit and banged). The ½” diameter hole in the top was probably cut later so that the box could be used as a ballot box or something similar (marbles of different colors were often used for voting in the 19th century). There is a slight possibility that the hole originally held a finial but I see no evidence of that on the underside of the box top. I think ballot box conversion is the most likely explanation. Circa 1860. It's a great paint decorated box!