A fine Burr Walnut 'Trinity House'* Work Box having a large marquetry depiction of a clipper ship, with a lighthouse in the background, in the lid framed by a wide band of Tunbridge Ware arrow flight parquetry, the sides inlaid with narrower bands of parquetry with a heart shaped keyhole.
The interior is entirely original, featuring a portrait of a Victorian lady inside the lid, and eight small compartments, the lids bearing various designs of naval flags in parquetry. In the centre is a pin cushion. The blue velvet and green paper lining with a fern design are in excellent condition, as are the decorative gold surrounds, although a piece is missing from the bottom of the portrait.
Working lock with key.
*Trinity House was the name for the lighthouse service in Great Britain in the 19th century. While on station, the keepers of lighthouses and lightships made exceptional boxes with fancy wood inlays, including marquetry and parquetry, often featuring sloops, lighthouses and other nautical symbols of the period. Sizes typically fall in the 6- to 12-inch range. The keepers sold these boxes directly to the captains of sailing vessels using Trinity House services. Surviving examples are rare, including still banks, storage boxes, valuables boxes, writing boxes & work boxes.
A similar tradition was followed in the United States, where keepers of the Nantucket lightship made high-quality baskets for their families and/or for sale to island visitors.
Width: 13 inches / 33 centimetres
Height: 5.25 inches / 13.5 centimetres
Depth: 9 inches / 23 centimetres