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Bandbox And Lid, Grand Canal

This is a Bandbox and lid. It is dated ca. 1840 and we acquired it in 1913. Its medium is block-printed paper on pasteboard support. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Bandboxes were quite popular during the first half of the 19th century and were used for the storage and transport of men's collar bands, hats, and as general carry-alls. While some bandbox exteriors were covered with wallpaper, most were wrapped with papers made specifically for coverings bandboxes. These papers frequently contained landscape, hunt or mythological scenes. During the 1830s-40s many paeprs were printed with scenes commemorating historic events. They could be rather crudely printed in just a few colors and often show a naiveté found in art.
The box illustrates a scene along the Erie or "Grand Canal" between Albany and Buffalo, New York, begun in 1817. The scene is apparently based on a "View of the Aqueduct Bridge at Little Falls" included in Cadwallader D. Golden's "Memoir Prepared for the Celebration of the Completion of the New York Canals", New York, 1825. The Aqueduct Bridge raised the canal 30 feet over the river to allow uninterrupted transportation. The green pigment used for the trees and grass was covered with varnish to help stabilize the fugitive color and prevent fading from exposure to light.
The Erie Canal was the engineering marvel of its day. It created a water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, facilitating transportation and bringing produce from the West to the docks of New York. First proposed in 1807, construction on the canal began ten years later. The canal opened on October 26, 1825.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Grand Canal.

This object was donated by Mrs. James O. Green. It is credited Gift of Mrs. James O. Green.

  • Scenic, Scenic America
  • block-printed on machine-made paper.
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment and Pauline Cooper Noyes....
  • 2001-4-1-a/i

Our curators have highlighted 4 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Pleated Cabriolet Fan (France)
  • parchment and paper leaf, painted with gouache; pierced, painted and gilded....
  • Bequest of Sarah Cooper Hewitt.
  • 1931-6-114

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 25.4 x 38.5 x 30.2 cm (10 in. x 15 3/16 in. x 11 7/8 in.)

It is inscribed

Written in ink on label on lid exterior: Mrs. Briant Pine Plains

Cite this object as

Bandbox And Lid, Grand Canal; USA; block-printed paper on pasteboard support; H x W x D: 25.4 x 38.5 x 30.2 cm (10 in. x 15 3/16 in. x 11 7/8 in.); Gift of Mrs. James O. Green; 1913-12-9-a,b

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibitions Hewitt Sisters Collect and Rooms with a View: Landscape & Wallpaper.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Bandbox And Lid, Grand Canal |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=5 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>