From Georgian and through Victorian times, wood boxes and caddies appeared everywhere in the traditional English country or town house. They were made to take care of every type of manufactured or hand-made small household article. Some of the more popular forms included work boxes, tea caddies and stationary boxes. Good houses would not be complete without these pieces that were both functional and decorative. Writing slopes were used much like the portable laptops of today; they were used as small desks at home and when traveling.
This is an especially pretty one, made from walnut with marquetry cross banding and insets of mother-of-pearl. The color and patination of the walnut is beautiful. The grains are well defined and an additional element of interest to the piece.
The marquetry is in boxwood, ebony and other exotic woods. It is in a triangular design within its bands. There is a hexagon-shaped inset on the top and on the lock of consisting a pretty combination of both marquetry and mother-of-pearl.
The inside is fitted with two original glass inkwells sporting screw-on tops. I believe one of compartments was for pen nibs. A piece of hardware on the top left of the inside of the rim releases the lid to the top compartment where papers, etc. could be stored. There is a space in the middle for pens and the leather writing partition lifts up to provide storage underneath. The leather was replaced at some time for the present red one with gold tooling.
The condition is excellent. It has been professionally polished. The key opens and closes the lock easily. The hinges are original and in good working order. The bottom has an old piece of wool on it to restrict the movement of the writing slope as it sits on a table; it also helps to keep fine furniture from being scratched.
With its bands of marquetry, insets of mother-of-pearl, original ink bottles, gorgeous color and patination of the walnut, and nicely domed shape, this is fine and beautiful example of an early Victorian writing desk.
It measures 13-3/4 inches wide, 9-1/4 inches deep and 6 inches high.
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