Pen Box thumbnail 1
Pen Box thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Pen Box

Place of origin

Object details
Object type
This object consists of 7 parts.

  • Pen Box
  • Tray
  • Ink Pot
  • Ink Pot
  • Inner Tray
  • Scissors
  • Knife (Cutting Tool)
Materials and techniques
The final coating is done by completely covering the box with a solution of tree resin dissolved in solvent. When the solvent dries off, a hard, transparent and shiny protective layer is left. Sir George Watt, in his catalogue of the Delhi Durbar exhibition Indian Art at Delhi, Calcutta 1903, describes the technique: 'Kashmir papier miffers considerably from that of Europe. The paper is never exactly reduced to a pulp. It is simply softened and pasted together, layer upon layer, within a mould until by repeated slow drying and replacing within the mould while addistions are made the article attains the correct shape and desired thickness. While moist it is wrapped round with a thin muslin rag and covered with a layer of a dressing material said to be plaster-of-paris (or gach). The article is next smoothed and rubbed down till it is given the required uniform surface to allow of the ground colour (zamin) being imparted. When this is dry the pattern is painted in water colours and when thoroughly set is glazed by the purest and most transparent varnish procurable. This is usually made from copal (sundras) dissovled in turpentine, not boiled in oil.' By the time of the Delhi exhibition, he notes that the craft had declined considerably and mostly consisted of objects made more cheaply, of wood.
Brief description
Pen box with two metal inkpots, two removable inner trays, scissors and knife. Wood (or papier mache), polychrome and gilt painted.
Credit line
Exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and given to the Museum by Queen Victoria.
Accession number

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Record createdJune 25, 2009
Record URL
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