PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF SUSAN AND MARK LARACY
Lawton often uses a color scheme of primarily red and white using black to create strong contrasts in the geometric motifs. This box is of simple construction, but has a complex, carefully calculated painted decoration.
Until the mid-1980s, George Robert Lawton's boxes were mis-attributed to John Colvin, a Rhode Island woodworker, builder, and carpenter. The two families - the Lawtons and the Colvins - were actually related by marriage. David Schorsch, a Connecticut dealer who purchased a number of Colvin-attributed pieces at a Skinner Americana auction on January 7, 1983, discovered Lawton as a folk artisan. In the course of his research on Lawton and with the help of a Scituate art historian and writer, Barbara Sarkesian, Schorsch spoke to Lawton's descendants, including his granddaughter Lucy Colvin Hart, who was in her early 90s in 1986. Hart said, "I'm going to tell you once and for all; there are no maybes about it. That chest [wall box] and all of those other things were made by my grandfather, George Robert Lawton, and John Colvin had nothing to do with it." Hart went on to describe specific Lawton-made pieces in Lawton's home, and she confirmed that Schorsch's purchases were, in fact, made by Lawton. (see David Schorsch, "A 19th-Century Rhode Island Folk Artisan Discovered: Lawton, not Colvin," Maine Antiques Digest, March 1987, 18D-19D)
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