A Substantial Tunbridge Ware Work Box with Mosaic Image of Tonbridge Castle c1895-1915

Heading : Tunbridge Ware - A Substantial Work Box with Mosaic Image of Tonbridge Castle
Date : c1895-1915
Period : Victorian/Edwardian
Origin : Tunbridge Wells, England

Decoration : A rectangular hinged box with a shallow canted-edge lid; this features one of Henry Hollamby's images of Tonbridge Castle, set in a golden satinwood reserve which is bounded by a 'barber's pole' border; all four sides feature the same border, but simply making up a rectangle; internally, a plain, unlined well with two side battens on which sits a shallow tray; this has dividers which make eight compartments, one of which has a fixed pin-cushion, and three of which have lift-off lids (all featuring the same keyline stringing and with modern handles having been affixed); the tray is lined with blue and gold paper in the same pattern as a common Edmund Nye liner but in a different colourway which hints at local provenance. The lid is lined with fairly plush, clean, blue velvet with a lightweight, pierced metal frame; there is also some embossed metalwork finishing applied to the dividers on the tray, and two plain metal handles at either end - not features we have seen anywhere else; working lock and key.
Size :  14.9 cm high - 32.5 cm wide x 23 cm deep
Condition : Very good generally; marquetry is perfectly fine, but the box as a whole has a few small bumps and bruises; the shallow tray is its worst feature, as the pin cushion is tatty and the lift-off lids have replacement handles; 
Restoration : Lid handles replaced; cleaned and polished
Weight :  2301 grams

Notes : Definitely derived from a Hollamby-designed mosaic, but the box does not have a general form similar anything else from his workshops; the catalogue of the Tunbridge Wells Manufacturing Company - who used the same mosaic at a later date - also has no matches, so we are left with Boyce, Brown and Kemp as production candidates. They were the intermediate users of Hollamby's marquetry designs from the period after his workshop was fire-damaged in 1891 to the point when TWMCo ultimately took ownership of the BBK materials in the early 1920's; there is a somewhat 'uncharted' period from 1916 to 1923/4 when BBK had passed in to the curation of a shop known as Porters Bazaar and then that of D H E King Ltd - either of whom may have sub-contracted production out to unknown sources. 


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  • Product Code: 22051006
  • Availability: 1
  • £475.00

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