Painted yellow pine
55 3/4 x 86 1/2 inches
Purchase with funds from the Decorative Arts Endowment
On View - Stent Family Wing, Third Level, Gallery 304
This mantel came from the home of a descendant of one of the first Moravian settlers in Salem, North Carolina. It is decorated with painted marbling, achieved by the painter’s application of subtle variations in patterns—a technique that provided a less costly way to produce the effect of the expensive stone. Before the Civil War, paints had to be prepared as needed by a difficult, often dangerous, and complicated process that was closely guarded by professionals. Thus this mantel was probably painted by one of the itinerant decorative painters who traveled the around country looking for work rather than by an amateur.