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A Tunbridge ware writing slope with grape border and Eastnor Castle in mosaic inlay Circa 1875.

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Reference: wb102

Description:
A Tunbridge ware writing slope veneered in well figured and beautifully patinated walnut. The main picture depicts Eastnor Castle. The gently flaring sides are decorated with a fine tesserae depicting flowers. The top framing is also unusual in that it depicts vines and grapes, quite an exotic plant in the mid 19th C. The box also features a pair of original inkwells with turned Tunbridge stick-ware tops.
working lock and key.  

 

 

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For further information see:

www.hygra.com/material.htm#tun 

www.hygra.com/tumtcl.htm 

Origin: Tunbridge Wells UK

Circa: 1875

Size: 32.5cm wide by 27.5cm the height  tapering from 5cm to 8cm: 12.8inches wide by 10.8inches the height  tapering from 2inches to 3.2inches:

Condition: good overall: original velvet writing tablet is worn especially near the join, the wood is nicely patinated.

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 The top framing is also unusual in that it depicts vines and grapes, quite an exotic plant in the mid 19th C. This design is sharply outlined  against the dark background. The composition shows more than impeccable workmanship; the treatment bears witness to artistic sensitivity.

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The main picture depicts Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire. The Castle is in current use and a popular venue for weddings and corporate events. 

See http://www.eastnorcastle.com/ 

 

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 There is a patch in the walnut just below the  hinge. In my opinion this veneer patch dates from when the box was made but has become more visible with time. 

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The top framing is also unusual in that it depicts vines and grapes, quite an exotic plant in the mid 19th C. This design is sharply outlined  against the dark background. The composition shows more than impeccable workmanship; the treatment bears witness to artistic sensitivity.

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 The writing tablet is the original embossed velvet. This is worn especially in the middle.

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There is a compartment for paper under the flap.

 

 The writing surface is framed with dark rosewood facings which is lightened by having a bead run in.

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 The upper compartment is fully fitted and has a pentray veneered with figured walnut as well as its two original inkwells with their turned stickware tops.

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 The designs on the two inkwells are just a little different. Both have been made up by carefully constructing a "log". The process is very wasteful of wood  which must be brought to exact dimension for the pattern to keep its geometric integrity. The pieces of wood are first sawn and then scraped to exact size. 

 

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 This pattern in the middle is made up of two triangular elements. There is a maple and ebony triangle and a rosewood/padauk with maple. It will have been inlaid into the rosewood top. The nature of the process means that the wood is end grain. 

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 The top framing is also unusual in that it depicts vines and grapes, quite an exotic plant in the mid 19th C. The mitered corners are particularly well matched

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In Tunbridge ware the colours of the woods are natural and not stained. Although they have faded and altered with time the result has impact over a century later. The relative contrasts make the design clear, and survives the changes. 

 

 

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 Detail of the lid of the pen and ink tray:  a parquetry in dramatic almost three dimensional cube pattern made up of juxtapositions of imported and home grown hardwoods. The native English woods such as maple and thorn have been selected for figure and colour. for comparison see www.hygra.com/tc2/tunvantc.htm 

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 There is a gamebox with a picture of Eastnor Castle illustrated at  page 101 of our book. 

Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies, and Society -- 1700--1880, ISBN: 0764316885  Antigone Clarke & Joseph O'Kelly, A Schiffer Book for collectors..

 

All text and images and linked images are 1999-2005 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