Tunbridge Ware Needlework Box
Tunbridge Ware Needlework Box
Tunbridge Ware Needlework Box

TUNBRIDGE WARE (founded c.1700)

Tunbridge Ware Needlework Box

c. 1820 to 1830 England

Offered by Amherst Antiques


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This extremely rare needlework box is shaped as a miniature grand piano, a design seemingly copied from France, where, at the Palais Royal in Paris, very fine boxes were made from the end of the 18th century. At the time of their making Palais Royal needlework boxes of all designs were highly prized and piano-shaped examples were particular favourites. This is still the case today, with collectors eager to find well-fitted examples.

It was not uncommon for the 19th century Tunbridge Ware makers to copy what was evidently successful in other market places but the introduction of piano-shaped boxes must have been a limited experiment as so few appear to have survived. Our present example is only the second we have seen in over thirty years.

From the end of the 18th century veneered items were becoming fashionable and amongst the earliest forms of decoration on Tunbridge Ware were large perspective cubes and the triangular vandyke pattern, both of which appear on the lid and frieze of our piano shaped work box. The veneers used were a mixture of native and foreign woods. In many cases the foreign woods predominated as an increasing number were imported, often in small quantities, which were ideal for use as veneers on boxes.

The interior of the piano workbox has of necessity now been re-lined but we have managed to find some old silk. A new needlebook has also been made in the same material but the original book does still exist, which is included with the box. We are especially pleased that the box retains a number of original Tunbridge Ware fittings - an emery, a waxer and six spools, which are taller with smaller tops than those typically found in boxes of a later date. We have also added the tape measure, which is probably a few years later in date.

For information on Palais Royal please see our blog ' We're Looking for a Piano''

Height 14.00 cm (5.51 inches)
Width 29.00 cm (11.42 inches)
Depth 19.00 cm (7.48 inches)
Stock Code
Amherst Antiques

Amherst Antiques
The Edenbridge Galleries
1 The Square, Church Street

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