Tunbridge Wells is a town in England that developed a cottage tourist industry of constructing and selling wooden wares inlaid with mosaics of various British scenes, flowers, fruit, leaves, butterflies, etc. (designs sometimes derived from Berlin wool tapestries). This craft flourished throughout the nineteenth century and died out soon after the turn of the twentieth century. This letter box is in a mosaic technique, invented by James Burrows about 1830: a bunch of long wooden sticks of different colors, each with a square cross section, is tightly glued together, then thin slices (veneers) are cut from the end of the composite block and glued to a surface. The sticks were carefully chosen and arranged so that, when cut, a scene appears, using the various colors of natural wood. No dyes were used. This mosaic-veneered box has literally thousands of minute squares, making up a forest scene on the top of deer in a forest and borders of decorative designs including grapevines, branches and leaves, perhaps cherries and acorns, plus the top scene where the outline of the family of deer has been cut to fit into a piece of wood veneer that surrounds it. The dark background seems to be rosewood, based on the dark striations, and the top panel is satinwood. The keyhole surround is turned wood. It is in excellent condition with no damage and no losses except for the missing key. Amazing condition for a fragile item so old. It is seven and a quarter inches wide and four and a half inches high.
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