Tunbridge Ware – A Very Finely Decorated Sewing Box with ‘Hurst Wood Cottage’ Mosaic c1840


Product Code:22062015

1 in stock

1 in stock


Heading : Tunbridge Ware – A Very Finely Decorated Sewing Box with ‘Hurst Wood Cottage’ Mosaic 
Date : c1840
Period : Victorian
Origin : Tunbridge Wells; England
Decoration : To the lid: very fine geometric mosaic band within banded keyline stringing; this surrounds an intricate gauge-work mosaic image. made from some exceptionally finely-grained tesserae. picking out individual tiles. stones or shingles on the cottage itself. and separate pales to the surrounding fence; a broader frieze of geometric mosaic to the four sides of the body; the hinged lid lined with original embroidered silk; the remainder of the inside has be re-lined with marbled paper. but retains a very unusual metal finishing strip around the border of the lift-out tray; this features eight compartments including a fixed pin-cushion and a thimble-holder; the tray sits on two ledges fitted to the inside of the lower well; plain key-hole (no key); base lined with probably original plain blue/green paper
Size :  21.6 cm x 16.5 cm x 9.0 cm
Condition : excellent; just one or two missing tesserae. plus restoration as below
Restoration : there’s a 28mm strip of tiles lost from the back corner of the base which has been rather crudely replaced; there’s a larger single piece of veneer to the lid immediately above this area which looks as if it may well be a replacement piece too; internal relining as above
Weight :  733 grams 

Notes : This is a very fine version of the ‘Hurst Wood’ image. which is in itself a bit of a conundrum; the name has no real provenance. other than simply having been in common usage with collectors for some time. It was. however. shown in one of the go-to Tunbridge Ware source books – Colbran’s New Guide For Tunbridge Wells. which was compiled and illustrated in the late 1830’s. Here it is simply described as ‘a newly-erected farm-house’. without a name. It’s position relative to the Toad Rock and the original turnpike (now the A264. Langton Road). in conjunction with a contemporary map of the area. do however place it very firmly at the end of Nevill Park and – contrary to popular belief – to the location of a dwelling which is still standing. retaining its distinctive layout. jettied first floor overhang. chimney configuration and finials.

The nature of the piece. it’s general appearance and the occurrence of the Hurst Wood mosaic on other items which have more easily-identifiable features have lead us to attribute the sewing box to members of the Burrows clan. all Tunbridge Ware manufacturers who were working in the town during the appropriate period; the most notable piece which leads us to this conclusion is a two-compartment tea caddy featuring the same cottage mosaic along with the Burrows’s very distinctive use of walnut root-wood veneer.




Additional information

Weight1250 g


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