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Object Name: Blanket Chest
Date: Chest ca. 1810, decoration ca. 1870
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Medium: Pine
Dimensions: Overall: 25 3/8 x 40 x 21 1/2 in. ( 64.5 x 101.6 x 54.6 cm )
Place made: North America, United States
Description: Rectangular pine chest; top painted with a portrait of Robert Fulton in an oval surround above a steamship (Clermont); front painted with polychrome scene of locomotive pulling several carriages with street scene behind and inscription; four short turned legs with ball feet.
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Randall J. LeBoeuf, Jr.
Object Number: 1977.54
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Marks: painted: on lid: "ROBERT FULTON'S CLERMONT 1807" painted: on side: "FIRST STEAM RAILROAD PASSENGER TRAIN IN AMERICA/ MOHAWK & HUDSON R.R. CO. 1836 ALBANY TO SCHENECTADY" painted: beneath image on front: "A.C. Koehn"

Gallery Label:

This blanket chest bears a painted vignette of the engine Dewitt Clinton making its initial trip between Albany and Schenectady, New York, in 1831 - one of the first passenger train journeys in the United States. The fascination with the advent and romance of American train travel found artistic expression in myriad ways, extending throughout the colonial revival period leading up to and beyond the celebration of the nation's centennial in 1876. The painted vignette, executed around 1870, includes the inscription: "FIRST STEAM RAILROAD PASSENGER TRAIN IN AMERICA / MOHAWK & HUDSON R.R. CO. 1836 ALBANY TO SCHENECTADY" - noting an incorrect date for the train's first course.