This American mid-19th century miniature slant front desk is certainly one of a kind and snuggly fits into my definition of folk art. Pull out the top drawer and drop down the slant lid (the lid rests on the open drawer) and you find 3 pigeon holes. Construction of this folky child’s toy is with square nails and dovetail sides and drawers. The top retains its snipe hinges. The desk is made of pine, retains its period paint and has a brass handle on top so that it could be easily carried. 19" tall x 14.25”wide x 8.5" deep. Wonderful folk art period piece. It came out of New England area and was sold to the previous owner/collector in 1979 by Rebecca Hahn Antiques. Everything appears to be original. It looks like the desk also had side handles at one time. The side panels are cut out at the bottom. Here goes to my latest rave that brings out the teacher in me. A miniature piece of period furniture might fit the category Americana without being folk art. The wonderful folky paint on this piece and the fact that it was probably made by a loving non-cabinetmaker father for his child elevates this piece from Americana to true Folk Art. I love to use these little pieces of furniture with drawers as jewelry boxes.
I mention the bit about Americana vs. Folk Art because when I started the Folk Art Appreciation Facebook page, with the rule that members could only post folk art made pre-1940, it seemed that I was endlessly arguing with members that just because something is Americana, it is not necessarily folk art. Members continued to post single-color painted pantry boxes or painted wood bowls. When asked to delete their post, I often got acquiescence with a remark like “but it is folk art.” In my mind (and as founder and sole-admin of the FB group, my mind was the one that counted), if you have a pantry box and it has been painted green, it is not folk art. If that same pantry box had been paint decorated, it was probably folk art. Admittedly, the definition of “folk art” varies from person-to-person. I’ve just given you a hint at my definition.