A Large c.1900 Black Painted Steel Deed Box: “Trustees of Joseph Robinson Deceased”

Origin: English
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900-05
Height: 18 inches
Width: 24 inches
Depth: 18 inches

In original condition, the large rectangular container hand-painted in gilt “Trustees of Joseph Robinson Deceased”, the steel black painted, with the original drop handles, the whole designed to be portable, yet strong,

In un-restored form the box is clean and benefits from its slightly distressed look, the black paint worn in places, for example around the escutcheons, where one would expect, and to the top where items have been placed. The gilt lettering is still fairly bright but beautifully mellowed with age. There are two structural issues with the box, one is there is a section of loss to the front lipped rim above the escutcheon and the other is at one of the hinges where the lid is coming away from it’s hinge. This does mean the lid does need to be adjusted a little to sit flush. As a decorative item it still functions perfectly well and can still be used as intended.

The estate named on the deed box reads “Trustees of Joseph Robinson Deceased”. Though the name of Joseph Robinson is rather common we have a very likely match in the form of a gentleman of the given name, who died on the 25th of February 1903, which ties in very well with when this box would have been made.

As written in the London Gazette of 1906, Mayer and Nelson of Barslem were the solicitors acting and the “executors will proceed to distribute the assets of the deceased amongst the parties entitled thereto”. Mr Robinson was from Parville, Alsager, in Chester and whose will was proved by Ann Robinson, Samuel Thomas Arthur Robinson, and James Shaw. This distribution of Mr Robinson’s estate and the fact these deed boxes were produced at this time means we can deduce that this box was indeed part of this particular estate with relative certainty.

Creating an instant mood, perfect for the gothic inspired interior.