Napoleonic Prisoner of War Bone Games Box c1805

Heading : Napoleonic Prisoner of War Cow Bone Dominos, Dice, Cribbage Board in the form of a Cradle c1805
Date : 1795-1814
Period : George III
Origin : Purported to have come from the environs of Porchester Depot - a castle near Portsmouth used as a Gaol for Dutch, Spanish and French prisoners of war

Decoration : Hand-carved in the form of a cradle; sliding lid with an incised image of a gentleman and lady standing together; three dice in their own compartment; a full set of thirty six dominos (up to double seven) and with a further sliding, curved lid which has been carved and drilled to serve as cribbage board 
Size : 8.5 cm tall x 13.1 cm long x 6.7 cm wide
Condition : Excellent; a few nibbles and chips as to be expected, but solidly made
Restoration : Professionally cleaned
Weight :  341 grams

Note : Contrary to popular belief, items of this nature were not solely made by the prisoners to while away the interminable days of their internment; they were permitted to operate a market, selling goods they made to locals as well as to each other; the noted diarist and one-time army officer, Ambrose Serle, wrote - in 1810 - 'The Prisoners are allowed to sell any kinds of their own manufacture … by which some have been known to earn, and to carry off upon their release, more than a hundred Guineas each. This, with an open market … operates much to their Advantage and Comfort; and they shew their satisfaction in their Habits of Cheerfulness peculiar to themselves.'

Eric Knowles Comments. I recall an inferior example selling at a Christies Maritime sale in late 2000 for in excess of £2000.


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  • Product Code: 23010603
  • Availability: 1
  • £975.00

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