A Wonderful George II Leather-Covered Dome-Topped Travelling Trunk by Smith & Lucas c.1750

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Origin: English
Period: George II
Provenance: The Property of a Gentleman of Spitalfields, London
Date: c.1740-60
Height: 19.5 inches
Width: 41 inches
Depth: 21 inches

The generously sized russian leather clad and brass studded dome-topped travelling trunk being all-over decorated with dome topped studs in a pattern of floral scrolls, studded to the front twice with the cypher ‘GR’ surmounted by a closed St. Edward’s crown, opening to reveal the original marbled paper interior with trade label for Smith & Lucas, surviving from the middle of eighteenth century England.

The trunks huge decorative appeal is obviously evident and it has not lost many studs so it remains hugely attractive though it being a travelling trunk and of considerable age it has a few condition issues. It has leather loss to the top in patches and to the front so that the pine carcass is showing in places whilst the remaining leather has typical wear and splits and is lifting in places. There are shrinkage gaps between the boards to the top and the leather is completely lacking to the left end, right end and rear with some timber having been stained where the leather is lacking. There is no key or escutcheon present and the brass handles are both lacking with later hinges and some later patched to the iron straps to the trunk. The velvet interior is mid twentieth century. The large lok is shooting three botls and the hasp is possibly later.

The interior shows the original marbled paper though has some remnants of a velvet lignin which has since been removed and to the inner lid it bears an attractive cartouche shield shaped trade label for 'Smith and Lucas/Coffer and Plate-case makers to his majesty and her royal highness the princess Dowager of Wales at the Kings Arms & Trunks at Charing Cross', the company goes on to say the items they sell are at ‘reasonable rates’.

Travelling trunks of this form with similar decorative brass-studding originated in the seventeenth century and continued to be produced into the eighteenth century. An example belonging to Charles I dating to circa 1640 and decorated with his royal monogram and crown is illustrated in R. Symonds, The Dictionary of English Furniture, rev.edn., Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1954, vol.II, p.19, fig. 36. Richard Pigge, coffer-maker to Charles II, supplied a large number of trunks covered in 'russia leather' to members of the Court from 1667-1671.

Irresistibly English, resplendently regal, decadently decorative.

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