This important wallpaper bandbox top is the perfect two-dimensional addition to your bandbox collection or displayed on one of your sitting or guest room walls. This piece is the same pattern framed and included in the collection of hat box and bandbox the Shelburne Museum. As Lilian Baker Carlisle writes in Shelburne Museum Hat Boxes and Bandboxes, (page 50, plate 41), “The wallpaper fragment covering the flattened bandbox making up this panel has been block-printed in red, pink, white and amber varnish on a blue background. The scene captures an exciting moment of action in the course of a rhinoceros hunt. The native hunter in the background is vainly trying to attract attention of an infuriated rhinoceros. The beast has tossed the second native hunter into the air and the mounted sportsman hunter, dressed in European gentleman’s hunting costume is fleeing from the wrath of the enraged brute.” During the early decades of the 19th century, Americans became enamored with depictions of far-away lands and new discoveries. A “new discovery” for many Americans was the explorations of Africa and the animals of shapes and sizes that they could have never imagined. Peale’s Baltimore Museum, run by son Titian II, was famous as a natural history museum and its most famous display was a taxidermy rhinoceros.
The example offered here is the same pattern but taken from the top of an oval bandbox. It resides in a period frame that is gilded (likely with an oil gilt) , measuring 18 1/2" x 15 1/2”. The oval wallpaper fragment measures 12 1/2" x 15 1/2". Circa 1835.
Reference: Baker, Lilian Baker, Shelburne Museum Hat Boxes and Bandboxes, Shelburne Museum, 1960. Plate 41 at 50.