Nurse Nanny's Pocket Toy
Carved Bone Alphabet Letters
Within a Treen Box
19th Century, England
This small turned treen box with screw on cover stands just 1 5/8" tall. The wood on the box is turned and the lid was hand decorated. The box opens and out spills 44 hand carved oxbone ( ivory color ) letters surviving from the middle of the nineteenth century.
The alphabet is complete with several duplicate consonants and vowels as shown in the large photos. One letter S has a broken end, otherwise the collection and the box are in as good a condition as you could hope for with a beautiful mellow patina to both treen and oxbone. The letters are individually hand cut varying in size. Some are more crude, some more finely carved, possibly a combination from 2 sets. The variations add to the charm.
Alphabet tiles or letters carved cut out of ox bone , along with hornbooks, to give children the first educational building blocks of the English language in the late 19th and early 19th century period. Designed to fit in the nanny or nurse's pocket and pulled out when needed to entertain teach or distract a child. Early games likes these were used to aid in a childs education and attention span. The letters and box are beautifully crafted, an outstanding example of a much simpler age in early childhood education and child care. A wonderfully tactile set, and if used imaginatively, wonderfully decorative portable school room. Of interest to Americana and early toy collectors.
Item ID: AA1818
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