George I Studded Leather Coffer attributed to James Parker ‘Trunk – Maker’
George I Studded Leather Coffer attributed to James Parker ‘Trunk – Maker’
George I Studded Leather Coffer attributed to James Parker ‘Trunk – Maker’
George I Studded Leather Coffer attributed to James Parker ‘Trunk – Maker’
George I Studded Leather Coffer attributed to James Parker ‘Trunk – Maker’

Attributed to JAMES PARKER (worked c.1700-c.1735)

George I Studded Leather Coffer attributed to James Parker ‘Trunk – Maker’

c. 1720 Leadenhall Street, London England

Offered by Thomas Coulborn & Sons

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A chest covered with a thin layer of leather, demonstrating the skill of the tanner. Decorated with brass studs which are used to form tulips; and with the monogram initials ‘GR’ studded to the top, surmounted by a crown. With the original marblised lining paper.

Sturdy, lockable chests such as this were vital to ensure the safe transportation and storage of valuable goods, such as silk garments, which would have been very precious. The use of leather made such chests both lightweight and water resistant. The prominent, decorative studding made the chest identifiable, and indicated the rank of the chest’s owner. The initials ‘GR’ on this chest identify King George I as the owner.

A number of leather travelling trunks are illustrated in Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards, ‘The Dictionary of English Furniture: Volume II’, (London, 1954), p.19. Edwards states: ‘Travelling trunks, in the seventeenth century, were covered with ox-hide or russia leather and closely studded with intricate designs in brass nails. The lids are curved, and closed by means of a flanged joint to keep out the rain.’ (p.17)

Comparators: A chest with an identical brass escutcheon plate and with six comparable hinges – three on each side of the front of the trunk – appeared in the Sotheby sale ‘The Duchess: Property & Precious Objects from the Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe’, which took place on 27th-28th May 2015, lot number 187.

This leather trunk was made by James Parker, a trunk maker from Leadenhall Street, London in the early 18th Century. A printed label appears on the interior of this chest, identifying James Parker as its maker and its similarity to our chest led to the attribution of our chest to James Parker.

The wording on the label reads: ‘James Parker, Trunk – Maker, At the Three Trunks and Crown, next Door to the India-House, in Leadenhall-street, London. Where is Made and Sold all Sorts of strong travelling Trunks, Sumpter Trunks, Portmantua Trunks, Black and Russia Leather Trunks, Wig Boxes, and Hat Cases, Canteens ; and all Sorts of Leather Ware, as Bed Cases, Portmantua Bags, and all Sorts of Buckets, Bottles, Jacks, and Gambadoes; like wise all Sorts of Cases for Plate, China, and Glasses, Wholesale and Retail, at reasonable Rates.’

Both chests are lined with very similar paper. The interior of the leather chest housed in the Museum of Leathercraft’s collection is lined with paper in the same way.

A trunk with similar decoration is housed in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This is a later chest, from the reign of George II (1727–60) and has the label of the maker John Selby, who was trunk maker to George II at both Winsor Castle and London (Accession Number 47.1360). The decoration, as with our chest, consists of brass nail heads, studded to form tulips and fleur-de-lis. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s chest has similar pierced brass straps, and is also decorated with a brass escutheon with a brass crown set above. http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/trunk-54074.
Formerly in the collection of Lord Sheffield.
Dimensions
Height 58.50 cm (23.03 inches)
Width 101.50 cm (39.96 inches)
Depth 53.50 cm (21.06 inches)
Stock Code
6374
Medium
Leather, brass studs, marbelised lining paper.
Signed/Inscribed
With the monogram initials ‘GR’.
Thomas Coulborn & Sons

Thomas Coulborn & Sons
Vesey Manor
64 Birmingham Road
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands
B72 1QP
England

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