This is an extremely handsome ebony Anglo-Indian campaign Box or writing slope in excellent antique condition, c. 1820. Compared to many other writing slopes/lap desks of this kind, this box has a lighter and more decorative feel to it due to the delicate inlaid foliate pattern on its top and sides. It also has a rare and charming difference in that one of its interior compartments hides a round baton ebony ruler. It displays impressively on a desk or a dresser.
This box has been beautifully made using Macassar ebony and is decorated overall with an intricate and very delicate inlaid pattern of trailing foliate and floral tendrils. This has been very finely done as the insets are less than a 1mm wide. This decoration extends to the fully fitted interior which is lined in a fine gold stamped and impressed red leather. The old ebony has a lustrous patina.
To the interior are several smaller compartments, including a lift out (using tiny strips of fine leather) pen tray under which will be found the wonderful surprise of this box, a rare removable rolling baton ruler. There are two side handles carved into a hexagonal shape, which are also inset with decoration. Two 'flap' openings reveal upper and lower compartments.
Overall condition, considering the age of this piece, is excellent other than two slight fissures to the wood on the top of the box and a small chip in the top edge near the upper left hand corner (please see photos). The inlays are undamaged and complete. The top closes perfectly and sits tightly and 'square'. The bottom of the box is also in perfect condition. The fine red leather interior is a recent expertly done renovation.
This highly decorative but very elegant antique piece measures 15 1/4 inches long, 9 1/4 inches deep and 4 1/2 inches high. The delicate inlaid floral pattern adds interest and a lightness to this imposing and very lovely box.
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Antique Georgian Ebony Box/Writing Slope Inlaid Design - c. 1820