Saturday, August 20, 2011

Antique and Unusual Boxes

I think a lot of boxes are fascinating, especially the ones that go well beyond being simply containers. Some have beautiful embellishments on the surfaces, others have intricate fitted compartments, and still others are functional or have a story to tell. We've posted about French Limoges trinket boxes as well as neat, hand decorated treasure boxes. Recently we came across these wonderful boxes that range from fitted travel boxes from Victorian times, to a practical -- and really neat -- painter's box from the mid-1900s, to a couple of hand made decorated boxes from the 1970s. All precious in their own way.

This English Victorian traveling vanity is wonderful. It not only has containers for just about everything a lady needed 150 years ago, but also has a hidden, secret drawer for jewelry and a mirror held in the lid.
English Antique Vanity Box ($950)
Traveling writing boxes have been around for many centuries, but the English in the late-18th century developed the lap desk for writing when away from a normal furniture desk. This lap desk has a triple fold-out design and is beautiful. It not only has what is necessary for writing (ink wells, pen holder, stationery storage, etc.) but has a section devoted to sewing instruments and threads. This is obviously a lady's desk ... and it has gorgeous inlays of mother-of-pearl, abalone and brass.
English Victorian Writing or Lap Desk ($1295)
Another late-19th century box is this mahogany humidor made by a famous New York city maker. It is complete with humidifier and key.
Late-1800s Humidor ($198)
This painter's box has got to have a story. Wish I knew it. We have it here complete with palette, some brushes and the artist's sketchbook!
Painter's Box ($85)
In the 1960s and 70s, decoupage was a favorite form of artistic and craft expression. These two boxes were made in 1970. The Asian horse rider prints are incorporated into the design. Both are nicely made and signed.
Decoupage Boxes: Large ($59), Small ($45)
We also have this mid-century brass and black lacquer Asian-style jewelry box, along with a variety of new boxes, in the shop.
Asian-style Jewelry Box ($89)
For loads of information on the history of antique boxes, check out this excellent site with explanations, photos and a timeline of the use and design of Antique Boxes in English Society.

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