Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Workbox

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • 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.

Construction
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.

Decoration
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)

Date

1800-1830 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Wood, veneered in straw marquetry

Dimensions

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

Descriptive line

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

Materials

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

Techniques

Cabinet-making; Straw marquetry; Technique

Subjects depicted

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

Categories

Furniture; Containers; Straw Marquetry

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.