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Jennens & Bettridge Papier Mâché 'Inlaid Gems' Writing Box

English 1850s  Price: SOLD


Jennens & Bettridge, took over the company of Henry Clay in 1815 and began to develop the production of Papier Mâché In Birmingham, beyond that of which Clay could have dreamt. In the Great Exhibition of 1851, they exhibited what they called 'inlaid gems' of which this truly extraordinary writing box is an example. Do look at the detail on the lid of the box which is inlaid with'gems' in the shape of a garland of flowers.  The box has a plush velvet writing surface to the lid and 2 layers of silk-lined compartments. There is a cut glass pounce pot with brush, an ink well and crystal pen tray. Also with the box is an agate dip pen and Victorian Christmas card: they came with the box and so I am passing them on together. The Writing box is stamped 'Jennens & Bettridge Patent Inlaid Gems' to the base.  J& B closed in 1864, as their highly skilled hand-made pieces became too expensive to make in the advent of much cheaper, mass produced items.  This piece must have been just about the top of their production: it is a quite exquisite and phenomenal piece of craftsmanship.  With original key and lock in full working order. 

Dimensions: 35cm across box when closed. (Reference: 568)


Please click on individual images to see details.

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