Tunbridge Ware And Treen
Tunbridge Ware originated somewhat confusingly, from Tonbridge and not Tunbridge Wells. The source for this difference in spelling is a story in itself. The spelling Tonbridge formerly Tunbridge changed in 1870 when the Post Office deemed it to be too confusing for postmasters to distinguish between Tunbridge and Tunbridge Wells.
Tunbridge Wells, the upstart neighbour of Tonbridge, retained the original spelling owing, no doubt, to its popularity with the upper echelons of British society. Tonbridge had existed for at least half a millennium before Tunbridge Wells came into being.
Early Tunbridge Ware was a means for craftsmen in Tonbridge to earm additional income from visitors to the nearby spa town and bore little resemblance to the Tunbridge Ware we know today. Prior to the mid 18th century Tunbridge Ware was largely undecorated but, as its popularity increased, along with the popularity of the spa town, several manufactories created the mosaic type marquetry and parquetry patterns and images that have become synonymous with Tunbridge ware. Edmund Nye took over control of the Fenner company in 1840 and became one of the most popular designers along with the Wise factory founded in Tonbridge in 1746.
Tunbridge Ware items are among the most beautiful pieces of antique treen available. Tunbridge Ware stamp boxes and Tunbridge Ware sewing boxes, writing slopes, tea caddies and jewellery boxes are beautiful and practical antiques and make fine decorative additions to any home.