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Travelling trunk

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1547-1553 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Green, William (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak, with stamped leather and silk linings and wrought iron handles

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the British Antique Dealers' Association

  • Museum number:

    W.18:1 to 6-1958

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 14 []

Object Type
This is a particularly fine example of a travelling coffer, or trunk. The outside of the trunk would originally also have been covered in leather, making it waterproof. Travelling trunks dating from earlier centuries were plain inside with perhaps two small drawers. By the16th century the interiors of expensive trunks for documents or small objects were fitted with many trays and drawers. Some, like this one, had a drop front to provide access to the contents.

The letter 'ER' probably relates to Edward VI who reigned from 1547 to 1553, rather than his sister Elizabeth I. The style of the coat of arms and the gold ornament are similar to bookbindings from his reign.

Materials and Making
The box would have been made by a specialist coffer-maker, who was skilled in the use of wood, leather and textiles. William Green of London supplied coffers to the Royal Household during the reign of Edward VI, but we do not know whether he supplied this one.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1547-1553 (made)


Green, William (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Oak, with stamped leather and silk linings and wrought iron handles

Marks and inscriptions

marked ER, probably for the household of Edward VI (1547-1553)


Height: 54 cm closed, Width: 84 cm including handles, Depth: 39.5 cm

Descriptive line

Edward VI's travelling trunk (removing coffer)

Labels and date

ENGLISH; mid 16th century
Oak covered with stamped leather

The coffer has a fall front concealing drawers originally lined with crimson silk. The style of the royal arms and the gold tooled ornament resembles that of a bindery which worked for Edward VI, and it is probable that the cypher E.R. refers to him rather than his sister, Elizabeth I. The coffer was probably used for documents.

Given by the British Antique Dealers Association. [pre October 2000]
This chest survives from the time when noble and royal households constantly moved from one residence to another. It was probably used to transport documents between houses for a high-ranking court official. [27/03/2003]


Containers; Woodwork; British Galleries; Medieval and renaissance; Leather


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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