This is an elegant early Victorian sewing/needlework box of a rich mahogany of casket-shape with bands of gadrooning and bun feet. It also has brass stringing, cartouche and six-sided brass motifs. Inside, the lid has a beautiful tan ruched silk panel surrounded by decorative red-brown leather with gold tooling. The actual box and compartments are lined with deep golden silk and paper/paint and the compartments have lids of the same red-brown leather with gold tooling. The edges of the compartments are decorated with pewter beading. The compartments at the front lift up and two have metal rings and the central larger lid lifts with the aid of silk pulls. Two further narrow compartments contain the exterior of needle cases but the flannel interiors are absent. Behind this are two silk-covered pin cushions. Between them is a wide slender compartment with a mother of pearl waxer in the centre and spaces either side for a thimble and probably a finger guard. At the back of the tray are six compartments which are fitted with matching mother of pearl-topped reels for thread. The larger rectangular lid would originally have held a wider piece of ribbon to secure scissors, bodkin, stiletto etc. The whole tray can be lifted out with care to reveal a yellow coloured space beneath for storage. The ruched interior of the lid can be released to provide a hidden space for treasured patterns or possibly even love letters! There is a lock and key (currently not working). The overall condition is very good for age with some slight staining in spots to the golden paper and an area of loss of the pewter bead stringing. This presents as a most elegant box with sumptuous interior and would be a lovely addition to any collection of sewing and needlework-related items. Length 10 ins (25.4cm) x depth 7.5 ins (19.5cm) x height 5 ins (12.6cm). Weight 1410 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 330.
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