This box is very lovely, and we can only imagine how many painstaking hours it took to construct. . The landscape scene is in all likelihood, one which a prisoner may have seen on a daily basis from his location or perhaps a memory of his home. It is in excellent condition and shows all of the signs of wear we would expect, but little damage. (There are differences in the scene on the top of the box and the bottom of the box.)
Date/Era/Period: Napoleonic Wars - 1803 - 1815.
Description: This antique straw dresser box in the form of a book has compartments and a small mirror. Beautiful workmanship. Different scene top and bottom.
Size: Outside Measurements: Length 6 1/8"; Width 4 1/8" Height 2 1/8". Compartments: Largest: 5 1/4" by 1 1/2" 1 9/16" Three Small (Each): 1 11/16" by 1 11/16" by 1 3/16" Tall. Two Inside Covers: 3 1/4: by 2 10/16".
Condition: Very Good antique condition. Wear throughout, mostly quite minor. Minor losses. The top of one of the inside covers has loss a small amount of the border from handling. (The loss is saved in the box.) The overall condition is somewhat better than you would expect from an object of substantial age that has been displayed/handled/used, usually over the lifetimes of several owners.
Origin: purchased years ago from an antique dealer.
History Of The Item: Despite the obvious age, and history of items made by prisoners of war during the Napoleonic war ( 1793 - 1815 ) Items such as this are really not as rare as we might expect. There were untold prisoners of this campaign, and they were held for over 11 years in a variety of locations . Not locked away in prisons, but located on rural farms, old castles, and remote locations such as Dartmoor. Forbidding areas miles from any town or village and in areas desolate , and frightening to captured sailors, many of them mere boys. They were not willing to try to escape across the cold miles of dark misty land. For the most part there was no need for escape . They were treated well, and even allowed to form artists guilds within their own locations. Many of these young men were skilled artisans, and trained in skills overseen by the Emperor himself . The were master carpenters, builders, carvers , painters ,cabinet makers, even silver and goldsmiths . They were happy to have the opportunity to ply their trades at the open air public markets where they sold the pieces they made and earned money to purchase all manner of items , including more supplies. The locales also appreciated the commerce, since it meant that they were able to buy some of the finest made pieces which they would never have been able to purchase in a large city . Prices were extremely low. The crafts guilds were in place to boost morale and keep the prisoners busy , occupied and relatively happy working in their chosen fields . Obviously not all of the prisoners were extremely skilled, but they were able to learn from those who were, and also able to produce simple but well crafted items .
Appraiser Tips: Heat humidity and excessively dry air are the enemies of straw, wicker and other natural materials . Airborne pollutants can also cause problems. While we don't see them , the do float everywhere ,and when, in the form of dust, or grime, they settle on items like this, they can cause the straw to dry out and crumble, or in the case of humidity, mildew . Avoid storing or displaying in a window , on a fireplace, over a heater or in a room such as a bathroom which is humid .
** Replacement Cost: $1,200.00
Please note that we are listing this UNDER replacement cost.
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