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  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, veneered in straw marquetry

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Owen Edgar

  • Museum number:

    W.26:1 & 2 -1936

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Straw marquetry was popular from about 1780 in both France and England. Most of the surviving pieces were made in commercial workshops but it was also made by amateurs. Some pieces were undoubtedly made by French prisoners of war in England, but not as many as is often claimed. The straw (some dyed different colours) was split and flattened, then glued onto sheets of paper, on which the design had been drawn. Boxes like this one were often given as presents to a loved one, and the motifs may reflect this. On this box, the motifs include different flowers and the quivers and arrows that were emblems of Cupid, the god of Love. Each flower might have a different meaning. A rose could represent a vow of love if it were pink, and passionate love if it were red, while pansies were emblems of thought, a play on the French word pensée(thought). The design on this box is ambitious but the drawing is a little awkward. This may indicate that it was made by an amateur, but we have no certain evidence for its origin.

Physical description

A box with hinged lid, covered with marquetry of natural and stained straw, on a carcase of pine.

The box is raised on four ball feet carved in bone and set with a simple lock. The interior is set with a removable tray and with several lidded compartments. The tray is divided into compartments, some set with fabric as pin cushions.

The exterior lid is decorated with a riverside architectural scene. The back, ends and front are decorated is a chequered patterned, surrounded by a boarder. The interior marquetry includes trellis work, imaginary buildings, flowers and Cupid's bows and arrows. The centre of the underside of the lid was originally set with a small decorative painting, now missing.

Place of Origin

France (made)


1800-1830 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Wood, veneered in straw marquetry


Height: 10.5 cm, Width: 33 cm, Depth: 25 cm

Descriptive line

Workbox, pine veneered in straw marquetry, French, 1800-1830


Pine; Straw; Bone; Paper; Fabric; Brass; Glass; Wood; Material


Cabinet-making; Straw marquetry; Technique

Subjects depicted

Herringbone; Tulip; Flag; Trellis; Musical instruments; Pansy; Peony; Heart; Arrows; Carnation; Flowers; Roses; Towers; Garden tools; Quivers; River


Furniture; Containers; Straw Marquetry


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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