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Antique Boxes in English Society
1760 -1900




Very Fine Early 19th C. Anglo Indian Ivory and  Sadeli  Mosaic Sewing Box.  Circa 1820
A very fine Sadeli mosaic inlaid Sewing Box from the beginning of the 19th C. The shaped and profusely decorated box stands on turned ivory feet and open to a fitted tray. The box has a working lock and key

This box is in  good condition; there is some hairline cracking in the ivory.
Size : 32 cm wide , 23 cm deep 12 cm tall; 12.5 inches wide, 9 inches deep by 4.75 inches

The composition  is exquisite. Each panel is laid out to take full advantage of the contrasting colors and textures of the exotic and valuable materials. 
The mitering of the corners is exquisite.
Ivory, pewter, ebony and stained ivory were cut into faceted rods which were bound together to form geometric patterns. When the glue has set, the rods were sliced in transverse sections. This gave the maker a number of angled circular pieces in the original pattern. Several variations of patterns could be achieved by combining the materials in different ways. 

The ivory was sometimes dyed green as here to give an extra colour

There are hairline cracks in many of the panels.

The box opens to a fitted sewing tray which is also decorated with Sadeli mosaic. 

The upper part of the lid has a framed lift out  mirror.

Even the facings are inlaid with mosaic.

The framed  mirror opens down to reveal a velvet lined compartment. It is not unusual as here for the mirror not to be finished on the back.

The box stands on turned ivory feet.
For the historical context of this writing box read the relevant part of Antigone's Online Antique Box Book. If you click here you will go there.

  © 2000 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly