Antique Boxes & Collectables
QUALITY Betjemann Coromandel Writing Box. 100% Original c1870
REF: LA4183 / LA336698
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Very fine quality coromandel writing box made during the mid Victorian era by one of the most respected box maker’s of the period, G. Betjemann & Sons of London. The company enjoyed an excellent reputation throughout and beyond Victorian times, was responsible for many patents, exhibited at large international exhibitions in London and Paris and manufactured for the high end retail establishments such as Asprey’s. A great many of Betjemann boxes were veneered with very high quality walnut or coromandel, the latter generally regarded as the Rolls Royce of veneers. This particular example slope fronted writing box features high grade coromandel to all aspects of the exterior adorned with applied pierced brassware. The box has not been stripped back and refinished and sports the much valued unspoilt patina not only to the veneer but also to all brassware. The box opens to reveal an office section to the rear comprising of three lidded storage sections, dished pen tray with storage space beneath and twin inkwell sections complete with the original inkwells in very good condition....one totally unused. The three lids feature applied brassware to complement the box exterior and coromandel to the upper surfaces. It is always good to see any writing box with the original surface on the writing platform. It is of course split along the fold line between the two halves of the box with some wear but this matters far less on a writing box of this style as the lower section is ‘fixed’ and does not have a storage section beneath like the more common rectangular writing boxes therefore the section does not fall out of place when opening and closing the box. More importantly, the fold line of the material along the top fold line is fully intact therefore the‘flap’ remains in position when accessing the storage section beneath. To the underside of the ‘flap’ is an inlaid brass plaque engraved ‘Chas Henry. Manchester, in all probability the original owner or possibly the retailer. The velvet could easily be replaced but it should be good for many more years use and in my opinion it would be a sin and the box would certainly be devalued. The mahogany lined interior features the original surface lacquer. The hinges, lock hasp and lock are all in superb condition. It looks as if all of the screws are original and have never been touched….all slots pointing in the correct direction….a nice finishing touch. The lock is clearly stamped ‘G Betjemmans & Sons London.’ Two replacement working keys are supplied. Aside from the keys every aspect of this box is original. Sadly the Betjemann company finally ceased production during the late 1930’s after enjoying approximately 100 years of producing very high quality items. The company was handed down within the family from start to finish and finally, I understand, came under the ownership of two family members that had little interest continuing the business. One of those, Sir John Betjeman went on to become one of the most respected and highly regarded Poet Laureates. (The family dropped the last ‘n’ of the surname during the 1st World War due to the seemingly German spelling). An extremely desirable item, obviously of the quality associated with such an esteemed maker with the degree of original features actively sought by keen collectors and one that has not been devalued by the stripping of the patina. There are other boxes virtually identical on the web....compare the prices!!!!! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Unpacked weight 3.2Kg
Antique Boxes & Collectables has clarified that the QUALITY Betjemann Coromandel Writing Box. 100% Original c1870 (LA336698) is genuinely of the period declared with the date/period of manufacture being C1870
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