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Antique Boxes in English Society
1760 -1900
Writing Boxes
Writing Boxes


A Very Rare Early Tunbridge Ware Parquetry Writing Box/ Slope/ Lap Desk circa 1800
A very rare Tunbridge Ware parquetry writing slope/ lap desk of c 1800.

This is an exceptional example of a very important group of  boxes produced in the first three decades of the 19th century.  

The earliest Tunbridge Ware slopes, like this, do not include the better known and later  end grain mosaic inlays. 

Here the  artist craftsman uses the careful selection of exotic native and imported timbers to produce a striking effect.

The central parquetry panel is crossbanded with kingwood and framed with  maple stringing.

The top dimensions are 12 inches wide by 13 inches. The sides taper from 3.5 inches at the back.

The top lifts to reveal a leather covered writing tablet. The leather replaces what would originally have been baize or velvet.

There is also a section for writing tools with a pen tray.

The slope has a working lock and key. 

The central parquetry panel made up of a careful selection of native and imported hardwoods is crossbanded with kingwood and framed with  maple stringing. 
The range of different woods is like a collection off all the available woods. In the section on the left there is maple, zebrano, birch, beach, ebony, partridgewood, and rosewood.
Under the writing tablet is a compartment for paper.
Side view. The sides are made of  beach wood which now has a beautiful faded colour.
The sides taper from 3.5 inches at the back.
For the historical context of this writing slope read the relevant part of Antigone's Online Antique Box Book. If you click here you will go there.

  © 1999 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly