This is a delightful Mauchline ware small barrel-shaped box of the style known as a Mitrailleuse needle holder. The top spins around and on its upper surface there is a small hole. As the top is rotated, the hole can then be matched up with numbers on the barrel - 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or ‘Shut’. Presumably there are interior compartments where needles were placed and by choosing the appropriate number, that size of needle could then be shaken out of the box. These were made in a variety of materials but this one has the typical colour and transfer decoration of Mauchline ware. On the front is a transfer labelled ‘Interior of Burns' Cottage’ and on the opposite side it states ‘Bought in the cottage’ as well as a stanza of a poem (partly rubbed) by Scottish poet Robbie Burns called 'Rantin', Rovin' Robin': “He’ll hae misfortunes great an’ sma’ But aye a heart a boon them a’ He’ll be a credit till us a’ We’ll a’ be proud o’ Robin” There is some wear consistent with age and use but this is a most desirable piece of Mauchline ware and would be a great addition to a collection of needlework tools or needle holders. Height 2.36 ins (6cm), maximum diameter 1.18 ins (3cm). Weight 18 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 301.
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