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  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1825 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, veneered in straw marquetry

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Hon. H. Charles. Rothschild

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Straw marquetry was known as early as the 17th century, but it was most popular in the period 1780–1830 in France and Britain. The straw was split and flattened, then glued into place on thin paper on which the design had been drawn. This was then glued to a wooden carcase, which was usually covered first with a thicker paper. The maker could divide the straw into two, four or more strips, depending on the fineness needed for the design. Colour could be added to the surface with various varnishes, which also enhanced the glossy appearance of the marquetry. Straw marquetry was most suitable for small objects such as tea chests or work boxes but occasionally larger pieces of furniture were decorated in this way. Because straw work is very fragile, it is rare for pieces to survive in good condition.

Physical description

Box, decorated with straw marquetry.

Exterior: rectangular lid decorated with a village scene in an octagonal panel. Surrounded by multiple boarders. Sides decorated with scrolls, foliage and geometric patterns.

Interior: Hinged lid opens to reveal the interior lid, decorated in straw marquetry with a cat and kittens, with a border of geometric patterns and foliage. The base is divided into three segments, the central segment is subdivided into two open compartments. These are flanked by two oblong compartments with hinged lids and turned handles. The interior of the compartments are decorated with red and light brown basket weave straw marquetry.

Place of Origin

France (made)


1800-1825 (made)


Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wood, veneered in straw marquetry


Width: 32.2 cm, Depth: 24.5 cm, Height: 13.5 cm

Object history note

Given to the V&A in 1915, register notes ' said to have been made by French prisoners at Norman Cross during the napoleonic wars.'

Descriptive line

Box, veneered with straw marquetry, French, 1800-25


Wood; Straw; Material


Straw marquetry; Technique


Straw Marquetry


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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