A Beautifully Botanical Georgian Pen Work Jewellery Box


Origin: English
Period: Eighteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1790
Width: 7 inches
Depth: 4 inches
Height: 2.25 inches

Beautifully executed, the hand decorated box with scrolling oak leaves to the flanks and front and rose flowers with ebony stringing to the top, opening to reveal the original pink paper lined partitioned interior.

Having a working lock and associated key, this example is attractively balanced with the detail to the rose buds and oak leaves in particular showing great care and quality; all with an autumnal feel. The condition is good, with only some slight loss to the ebony escutcheon whilst two of the partitions are lacking.

Pen work, or pen and ink, on boxes in Georgian times tended to illustrate people and animals in landscapes or as we see here, stylised motifs of flora, fauna and natural scenes. Often carried out at home in ones leisure time, the techniques actually used for this decoration are not always consistent. Pen work decoration was often applied on light woods, such as sycamore. in black fine lines on a lighter background, though sometimes this was done in reverse;  as we see in this example. A varnish was then usually applied to finish the handiwork.

This is a pretty example, in an appealing size, and one that fully deserves to bear fine jewellery within it.