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Exceptional Early 19th century brass inlaid and edged figured rosewood dressing box with engraved and pierced silver by George Knight of London Circa 1822

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Reference: JB218

Description:
JB218:  Exceptional Early 19th century brass inlaid and edged figured rosewood dressing box,  with engraved and pierced silver by George Knight of London, the box having inset brass carrying handles,  and foliate brass inlay to the top and front, and a separately locked drawer fitted for jewelry. Inside the box there is a liftout tray with silver toped cut crystal boxes three of which are elaborately pierced and engraved ; another is an inkwell. There is also a small engine turned cosmetic jar of the same period but of French manufacture.  There is a central tray containing mother of pearl handled steel tools.  At the back there are three further cut crystal  perfume bottles  and two cosmetic jars, one containing a swan's-down powder puff. In the lid of the box there is a reversible lift out satin wood  framed mirror having  tessellated and ruched velvet to the other side. Circa 1822.   

Origin: UK London 

Circa: 1822

Size: 35 cm wide by 26.5 cm by 17 cm:  13.8 inches  wide by 10.4 inches by  6.7 inches.

Condition: Good overall, working locks and keys. All the velvet and silk is original and in some places worn. some of the bottles have slight chipping. The mirror has some foxing and a crack in one corner.

 

JB218:  Exceptional Early 19th century brass inlaid and edged figured rosewood dressing box,  with engraved and pierced silver by George Knight of London, the box having inset brass carrying handles,  and foliate brass inlay to the top and front, and a separately locked drawer fitted for jewelry. Inside the box there is a liftout tray with silver toped cut crystal boxes three of which are elaborately pierced and engraved ; another is an inkwell. There is also a small engine turned cosmetic jar of the same period but of French manufacture.  There is a central tray containing mother of pearl handled steel tools. At the back there are three further cut crystal  perfume bottles  and two cosmetic jars, one containing a swan's-down powder puff. In the lid of the box there is a reversible lift out satin wood  framed mirror having  tessellated and ruched velvet to the other side. Circa 1822. Enlarge Picture

 

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"The cutting of veneers was also getting marginally easier. Previously, a pair of expert cutters could get 6-8 veneers per inch after long and hard work, which required both concentration and skill. In 1806 the "Annual Register" records the first appearance of steam driven saws. Although these were not immediately employed by all cabinet makers or mills and hand cutting continued for many years, some of the pioneers must have taken advantage of this new technique, enabling them to produce predictably even veneers." See Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies, and Society, 1700--1880 Antigone Clarke & Joseph O'Kelly, ISBN: 0764316885

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The foliated borders are exceptionally well designed and executed with looping stems arranged in a mirror image fashion. 

 The severity of the lines, the arrangement of the design  are rooted in the neoclassical tradition. The design however is more naturalistic  attesting to the influence of the later years of the Regency. 

The box and its contents are of exceptional quality.

 

 The box has two working locks with separate keys. The larger is for the main lock the other the drawer.

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"Bullock's designs influenced other cabinet makers and commissioning clients well into the 1840s. His brass inlay designs were stylized, forcefully assertive and totally controlled. In this, they adhered to the spirit of neoclassicism. However, Bullock abandoned the motifs of the ancients, in favor of floral and foliage patterns, reminiscent of British plants. His inlays were in the form of continuous repetitive patterns and scrolls, rather than the more severe separate ornaments. He injected an element of romanticism, within the "antique" tradition and the result was a style close to the French work, but still remaining distinctive.

 

 

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"By the second decade of the 19th century, brass design on boxes became more naturalistic and was applied in the form of foliate and floral scrolls as borders, or as stylized compositions on the whole surface. As the fashion became more popular, some of the work lost its earlier vigor and precision. The patterns became larger and less well controlled. One clever innovation was a running pattern, reminiscent of a Vitruvian scroll, which although not as difficult to execute as the more complex floral motifs, was very effective, especially against rosewood and rich mahogany on large writing boxes."

 

 The box has similarity to a box illustrated in our book:

Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies, and Society, 1700--1880 Antigone Clarke & Joseph O'Kelly, ISBN: 0764316885

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  The foliated borders are exceptionally well designed and executed with looping stems arranged in a mirror image fashion.  

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Inside the box there is a liftout tray with silver toped cut crystal boxes three of which are elaborately pierced and engraved ; another is an inkwell. There is also a small engine turned cosmetic jar of the same period but of French manufacture.  There is a central tray containing mother of pearl handled steel tools.  At the back there are three further cut crystal  perfume bottles  and cosmetic jars, one containing a swan's-down powder puff. In the lid of the box there is a reversible lift out satin wood  framed mirror having  tessellated and ruched velvet to the other side. 

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The silver is finely pierced and chased and bears the sponsor's mark of   George Knight and the London Hallmark for 1822/3. The patterns of the three boxes with piercing are all different and exquisite.  

George Knight gave evidence against his warehouse man at the Old Bailey in 1823: www.hrionline.ac.uk
/oldbailey/html_sessions/T18230409.html
 

"JOHN PARTERIDGE, JOSEPH PARTERIDGE, theft : simple grand larceny, theft : receiving stolen goods.

The Proceedings of the Old
B

Original Text:

"582. JOHN PARTERIDGE was indicted for that he on the 17th of February, being servant to George Knight , did steal two wine labels, value 7 s., and a ladle, value 3 s. , his property; and JOSEPH PARTERIDGE was indicted for feloniously receiving the same knowing them to be stolen .

"GEORGE KNIGHT . I am a working silversmith, and live in Westmorland-buildings, Aldersgate-street. The prisoner John was my warehouseman; he worked at piece work. In consequence of something that happened on the 27th of February, I found these articles at Upsall's, the pawnbroker, in Barbican. The prisoner had access to them; I had not missed them, but seeing other goods of mine in the window. I went in, and found these.

"ROBERT UPSALL . I am a pawnbroker, and live in Barbican. On the 27th of February, Mr. Knight came into my shop - I shewed him two wine lables and a ladle, which I received on the 17th of February, from Joseph Parteridge in pawn, in his own name. I knew him before.

"JOHN LACY HAWKINS . I am a marshalman, I apprehended John Parteridge - I had known him some years; I said I was sorry to tell him his father was charged with pawning Mr. Knight's property, to the amount of 17 l., and I was ordered to take him into custody for stealing them; he was agitated. I found nothing particular on him. He walked with me to Duke-street, and he was unwell; it was necessary to take him into a house - he was lamenting the distress he had brought on his wife and family. I asked him whether it was a fair question if his father was wicked enough to induce him to rob his employers; he said No, his father did not. I asked him whether the property was pawned - he said he pawned none, but met his father by appointment in different places, generally in the street, and his father gave him what he pleased, but he knew nothing of any pawnings.

"Cross-examined by MR. LAW. Q. Was Mr. Knight present at this conversation - A. Yes; I suppose he heard all that passed. I said nothing to induce him to confess. We had a shilling's worth of brandy and water between us three.

"GEORGE KNIGHT re-examined. I have made a mistake - I did miss these articles about a week before. I have seen his father at my house, but do not know that he ever came beyond the passage.

"Cross-examined. Q. You was present at the time the marshalsman speaks of - A. Yes. I was so agitated that I hardly knew what I did, and the prisoner was much more so agitated. I heard conversation to the effect stated by Hawkins. He said his father met him by appointment to receive goods.

"NOT GUILTY ."

 

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There is a central tray containing mother of pearl handled steel tools.

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 Another is an inkwell. There is also a small engine turned cosmetic jar of the same period but of French manufacture. 

 

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 The dark rosewood is rich in colour; the striking grain pattern evokes images of faces and fantasy.  

 

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  The box has a separately locked drawer fitted for jewelry. 

 

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 The silver is finely pierced and chased and bears the sponsor's mark of   George Knight and the London Hallmark for 1822/3.

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the bottles have ground glass stoppers.

 

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 The cutting of the crystal bottles is complex using both curved and straight curves in the cuts.

The bottles have ground glass stoppers. the silver caps are not hallmarked.

 

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 All three bottles are of the same design. The silver caps are similar. Two bear initials the third is not engraved.

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At the back there are three further cut crystal  perfume bottles  and two cosmetic jars, one contains a swan's-down powder puff: such decadent luxury! 

 

Cut crystal with silver top by George Knight of London  containing  a swan's-down powder puff: such decadent luxury! Enlarge Picture

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 Detail of pierced engraving depicting a bird in foliage. 

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 Details of the traveling inkwell.
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There is also a small engine turned cosmetic jar of the same period but of French manufacture. 

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 Detail of the mother of pearl handled penknife. 

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All text and images and linked images are 1999-2007 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly. If you require any further information on permitted use, or a licence to republish any material, email us at copyright@hygra.com