• Item: Roll Top Metamporphic Writing Box
• Circa: 1850
• Wood: Camphor Wood
• Period: Victorian
• Provenance: Hong Kong
• Cabinetmaker: Kwong Man Shing
• Brass bound box
• Brass inset side carrying handles
• Ebonized string inlay
• Large drawer below box
• Sliding roll-top section
• Fold out hinged writing slope
• Internal pop-up cabinet
• Multiple pigeon holes & compartments
• Working lock and key
• Original camphor wood “straight edge” ruler
• Secret compartment
• Central locking cupboard
• Dovetail construction
• Original polish & patination
• Excellent condition
• Free delivery to England, Wales & southern Scotland*
• Free 14-day UK returns period
This is a rare example of a beautiful antique colonial Camphor wood brass bound military roll top metamorphic writing box, circa 1850, in excellent condition. The box boasts a ¾” brass binding to the corner edges, a central brass plaque to the fall, flush brass inset carrying handles to the sides, with one smaller brass inset handle to the front lower drawer. The lower drawer features a working lock and key. The fall and the front of the box incorporates ebonised string inlay. There is a stunning grain configuration and colour to the wood on the fall and front of the writing box.
As the lower drawer is pulled open, this activates the roll top mechanism at the top of the box to slide back to reveal a pop-up cabinet. Opening the front fall reveals a sloping writing station which has been lined with green baize. The interior features the original “straight edge” circular wooden ruler (used for writing) along with a variety of inkwells and a central removable pen tray. A secret compartment can be accessed by lifting up the top edge of the baize. The secret compartment boasts a maker’s label, which reads “Dr. to Kwong Man Shing, dealer in furnitures, curious and Japanese ware, No. 63, Queen’s Road, next Victoria Hotel”. (The address could refer to Queen’s Road in Hong Kong, where it is likely to have been made.) Lifting the cabinet upwards, until the wooden spring levers either side lock it into place, locks the pop-up section to reveal a bank of pigeonholes. Pressing the side levers inwards lowers the pop-up section.
Such a writing box would have been used in the British colonies, either on land or sea. The fact that it is constructed of camphor wood suggests its origin is Indian and most likely commissioned for a high-ranking British Officer who would have used this box during the period of the Raj. All quality colonial artefacts were usually constructed of camphor wood.
This box is a truly classic example from the Victorian period in colonial India or the Eastern colonies such as Singapore or Hong Kong. The level of detail and craftsmanship displayed is second to none. It is rare to see such an example, which is in excellent condition.
The box features a mellow camphor wood colour. As it boasts the original polish, it has a fantastic colour and patination; this can only be achieved through age and years of care and cleaning it has received. This truly is a very beautiful item with quality construction. It is rare to see one in such good condition.
This item would look superb in a variety of rooms from the office to the bedroom. This item would certainly grace any home or office and is a great investment, as it’s extremely functional. So, don’t miss out on your chance to own a lovely piece of furniture.
This writing box is in excellent condition, which is commensurate with its age. Nominal old use marks to the exterior and leading edges of the box and brass strapping, but nothing significant considering the age of the item. As it boasts the original polish, it has a fantastic colour and patination. There are no missing compartments to the box. The box boasts the original wooden ruler. The box also features the original working lock (with key). The pop-up mechanism is original and in excellent working order. The hinges to the fall are also in good working order. The fall has been re-lined with green baize some time ago. This item is solid in joint and ready to use.
Height = 23cm or 9”
Width = 45.8cm or 18” or 1ft 6”
Depth = 40.8cm or 16” or 1ft 4”
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