A magnificent find, this fine leather stationery cabinet is a real gem and by one of the very finest retailer's, Thornhill, 144 New Bond Street (In London's Mayfair). I have included a history of this venerable retailer at the end of the description.
The box is covered in a deep Burgundy leather with very minor wear (a couple of small worn patches to the leather base - the worse shown, insignificant but mentioned for accuracy). The top is inset with a flush military style handle.
The box is opened via the top quality Bramah lock (sprung, so requires a push and turn action). The doors open to reveal all the original gilded fittings and the top of the right hand door gold impressed with the makers / retailers signature.
The inside is near pristine, with all the gold embossed writing almost as fresh as the day it was made. Unusually, all the postage rates of the day are displayed to the front. It helps us to date the box between 1897 and 1915 when these rates were in operation. The calendar cards on the right hand side are for 1925, so purchased at a later date as an refill to keep it up to date, the way we would buy a calendar or diary each year.
There is a bank of drawers with gilded pulls, marked Silver, Notes, Gold and Cheques. The four original note books are intact (some entries) - Addresses / Journal / Cash Account / Memorandum.
In addition to all of the above the following is also present: Re-usable Aide Memoir on the left-hand door; Two removable pen boxes, a travel inkwell and a portfolio style blotter; bone pencil, Pen and Paper Knife on the interior of the lid.
Superb in every way. 13" x 7" x 9 1/4" tall.
The company of Thornhill can be traced back to a cutler named Joseph Gibbs in 1734, based at 137 Bond Street in London. By 1772, the business was in the hands of his son, James Gibbs, and in 1800, was renamed as Gibbs & Lewis. By 1805, the business was being run by John James Thornhill and John Morley, under the name of Morley & Thornhill. They moved to 144 New Bond Street, London in 1810. This partnership was dissolved in 1823 and the business was renamed as John James Thornhill & Co, remaining at the same address. Thornhill acquired the royal warrants of appointment to Queen Victoria, the Prince and Princess of Wales as well as other members of the royal family.
John James Thornhill died in 1848 whereby his son, Walter, took over the business, to be known as Walter Thornhill, shortly after. Walter broadened their area of expertise as cutlers and silversmiths by moving into the manufacture of dressing cases, writing boxes, desks and other luxury pieces. He soon built up a great reputation for the quality of his work, winning a prize medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851, the International Exposition of 1855 in Paris, the International Exhibition of 1862 and then multiple medals at the International Exposition of 1878 in Paris.
Around 1859, he was also trading from 42 Cornhill, London along side John Farthing, as Farthing & Thornhill. By 1875 Walter’s main business was known as Walter Thornhill & Co, to incorporate his son, Hubert Thornhill, and Albert Barker. Their premises expanded to 145 New Bond Street in 1878. Albert Barker left the business in 1885, and by 1895, it became a limited liability company, opening a new premises at 9 High Street, Kensington, London.
Though the business was wound up in 1905, it remained trading under the name of W. Thornhill & Co. until 1912.
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Magnificent Antique English Leather Stationery Cabinet by Thornhill, Bond St c.1900