SOLD Quirky (Mysterious) Folk Art Shaving Cupboard

I would love to know who made this curious old cupboard and how it came to be. But I can only speculate. Made in a prison workshop? Is the whimsical work of a serious craftsman? An artisan on a serious flight of fancy? Whatever the story, this is a piece that’s as functional as it is fun.

Elaborately carved, painted and decorated all over with hand-drilled holes, the cupboard is designed with three mirrored hinged doors that open like a three-way mirror to enhance the manly art of shaving. All three doors retain their early, original mirrors. Behind door number three is a set of roomy, vivid orange shelves to hold all the appropriate grooming paraphernalia. In another whimsical gesture, the maker has topped the cupboard with a fence-like enclosure made of small crosses. The piece can sit on a sturdy shelf or hang on a wall, with a built in dowel rod that serves as a towel rack.

For the past 25 or so years, this unique cupboard has sat in the bedroom of a pair of antique dealers/collectors who acquired it in San Francisco. But given the materials and design, I believe it’s from the American Southwest and very possibly New Mexico and that it dates from the late 1890s through the first quarter of the 20th c. Dimensions are 28-1/2” X 21” X10”. Excellent condition.



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