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Tunbridge Ware 'Eridge Castle' Sewing Box With Requisites c1855

Heading : Tunbridge Ware 'Eridge Castle' Sewing or Needlework Box
Date : 1850-1860
Period : Victoria
Origin : Tunbridge Wells, England
, almost certainly Edmund Nye
Decoration : Mosaic panel depicting Eridge Castle, Vandyke Parquetry to sides and floral mosaic banding to sides and lid.
Size :  30.5cm x 25.5cm x 13.2cm
Condition : Very good, two minute tesserae missing from the floral band. Shrinkage crack in the cover
Restoration : Professionally cleaned and waxed. A 6mm x 2mm repair  in the fruitwood band above the key
Weight : Box: 2,500g With extraadditions: 2,545g 


A collector’s dream, this box exhibits a tour de force of technique used on Tunbridge Ware from 1830 – 1839. The sides are decorated with Vandyke Parquetry – favoured in early designs – whilst being framed top and bottom by two floral mosaic bands. The lid has both geometrical and floral mosaic bandings and the centre panel on the lid has a defined image of the former Eridge Castle – one of the most popular designs used in Tunbridge Ware as the castle used to reside on the Abergavenny Estate which has very close ties to Tunbridge Wells.


Inside the box lid is covered with ruched red silk and framed with more geometrical mosaic work. The wooden tray which sits in the top of the box is lined with matching red paper and has several compartments, three of which have lids with brass knop handles and more intricate mosaic work. There is also a built-in pin cushion in the tray. The main compartment below is in excellent condition. The lid is lockable and has its key.


Included with the box are:

2 x turned Tunbridge Ware Bobbins,

2 x turned Tunbridge Ware Cotton Reels – one with yellow cotton thread

1 x turned Tunbridge Ware Thread Waxer

1 x turned Tunbridge Ware Measuring Tape – in working order with minimum shredding to end of tape

1 x turned, screw-top Tunbridge Ware small box, probably a salve without the glass liner.


The tape has two denominators 16ths of a yard and "nails".


All of the above have the traditional ‘stick-ware’ inlaid veneers used to create the intricate patterns used by Tunbridge Ware manufacturers during the 18th and early 19th centuries.


The story of Tunbridge Ware is not well documented. It reached its peak of popularity in Victorian times when it became fashionable to visit the historic Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells to sample the healing powers of the Chalybeate Springs. Local craftsman created a wealth of products that could be bought by visitors to commemorate their time at the Spa. As the popularity of the distinctive marquetry and parquetry products grew so did the complexity and variety of designs and the industry itself.


Once purchased, looking after your cherished piece of Tunbridge Ware is important. Keep it away from direct sunlight and away from direct sources of heat. Do not oil or sandpaper it. All it requires is a light wax polish once a year and the occasional dusting to maintain in good order.


Tunbridge Ware and Related European Decorative Woodwares – 3rd edition
By Brian Austen


The Story of Tunbridge Ware

By Friends of Tunbridge Wells, Museum, Library and Art Gallery



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  • Product Code: 20060443
  • Availability: Sold
  • £950.00

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