Chest over Drawers
Attributed to John Bieber, American, 1768 - 1825. Made for Magdalena Leabelsperger, American, 1772 - 1844.
During the eighteenth century, huge numbers of immigrants from German-speaking Europe settled in rural counties of Pennsylvania. At a geographic and cultural remove from the English-influenced styles of Philadelphia, these settlers preferred artistic traditions from their homeland, including the decorative painting seen on this chest. One of the most elaborately ornamented examples known, the chest features hearts and stars laid out with a compass, freehand-drawn flowers, and sponged backgrounds. The construction of this chest is unusually skilled; it was probably made by the joiner John Bieber of Salisbury and Oley Townships for the twenty-year-old Magdalena Leabelsperger of Berks County in anticipation of her marriage.