This treen casket-shaped needlework box is decorated with panels of mother-of-pearl inlay of birds and flowers with silver-coloured stringing. The centre of the lid is elevated and surrounded with gadrooning. The box has matching treen ring carrying handles. It sits on four treen feet with the base covered in original dark paper and its interior aspect is covered with rose pink original paper. The box opens to reveal a lovely original interior. The lid has a small drop-down compartment for patterns or possibly secret letters and this is decorated with an elaborate gilt border surrounding an exquisitely ruched rose pink panel. The tray of the box lifts out to reveal a compartment beneath which has its original rose pink paper lining. The tray is divided into multiple compartments and these compartments are edged with fine decorative pewter stringing. Five of the compartments at the back are lined with the same pink paper and the other compartments have lids or are lined with a patterned rose pink fabric. Four of these compartments have small spaces within them, one compartment is for a needle book. The one at the front would be for thimble and other tools and the largest compartment which has lift-out tags at the sides and stitched ribbon down the middle is to contain a variety of needlework tools. The tools contained in the box include five reels with matching mother-of-pearl tops and bases of bone – three of the reels have thread, one in black, one in light brown and one in ecru. There is a matching tape measure which has a rose pink original tape but this is missing the first one half inch. The other tools include matching tweezers, button hook and crochet hook with mother-of-pearl handles. There is also a simple bodkin, a pair of silver scissors plus original scabbard and a tall date-correct silver thimble (unmarked). A section of the stringing on the lid has lifted slightly and there appears to be a small repair to one corner of the lid. The inside of the lid has a small area of paper that is missing as has the lower compartment. On the inside, the pewter appears almost intact but the fabric of the compartment covers shows signs of wear and loss. It is very special for a box of this age to have its original lining and coverings and this really adds to its special nature. In addition, the presence of matching tools is a major bonus. It is totally correct for sewing boxes of this age to be fitted with mother-of-pearl tools. Length 11.75 ins (30cm), width 8.5 ins (21.25cm), depth 5 ins (13cm). Weight 1816 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 327.
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