17th-18th Century Silk Covered Strongbox Jewel Casket 1

17th-18th Century Silk Covered Strongbox Jewel Casket

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17th-18th Century Silk Covered Strongbox Jewel Casket

Fit for a Queen…

From time to time an object can certainly grab your imagination, this casket of small proportions is no exception. The casket has a lovely hand-written note stating, ‘The jewel box originally belonged to Queen Elizabeth and came direct into the family’. Now, boxes of this form though usually veneered in oysters of Kingwood and
occasionally shagreen, is thought to date between 1675-1700 which would place this box around 100 years too late for the Elizabethan period. It is, however, possible that the casket belonged to Queen Elizabeth and could have been made some 100 years before this style became ‘mainstream’ given the quality of the silver braid, gold plated hand-cut metalwork and the quality of the once bright red silk velvet, not to mention, bright green silk interior. 

To our knowledge, this casket is the only example to be recorded of this exceptionally small size and in silk velvet, with hand-cut and filed, not cast, strap-work. Examples of strongbox or coffre fort can be found in oyster cut hardwoods, marquetry and occasionally shagreen, in the most important collections and museums, to name a few – Ham House, Victoria and Albert Museum, Met, Burghley House, Levens Hall, etc. A walnut example on stand was also supplied by royal cabinet maker Gerrit Jensen to Colonel James Grahme of Levens Hall in 1688.  However, it should be noted that this is not a coffre fort it is a casket. Coffre forts purpose was to transport items of importance from one’s estate to one’s carriage and to be screwed to the floor using large bolts housed in the side rails. This casket was most likely made to house a single item of importance and was possibly presented as a gift. 

The note states – “The jewel box originally belonged to Queen Elizabeth and came direct into the family. The cloak fastener is what gentleman in the olden times used to fasten on the left shoulder a long piece of cloth thrown over They have been many many years in the family. Mrs C Bradbent Granddaughter C Hobbs” 

Regardless of whether or not the casket was once the property of Queen Elizabeth, it is a beautiful, untouched and extremely rare item fit for the regalest of collections.

Condition

The piece is in exceptional original condition. Minor conservation to preserve.

Provenance


Literature
Dimensions
Height 4.5”, Width 7.5”, Depth 5.5”

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