circa 1870 rosewood veneer sewing box w/ gilt tools

This 19th century sewing box is styled after a lidded trunk, with applied metal bands, geometric attachments and mother-of-pearl button decorations. The lid opens to reveal a vivid red-purple silk and velvet, and white paper interior. The lid features a mirror with silk swag-form curtains; the wider braided scroll pattern edging appears to be a newer replacement. The bottom has a lift-out tray fitted with velvet lined sleeves and two recesses.

Near-matching patterned gilt metal tools include two spool reels, knife, needle case, scissors, stiletto, along with a brass thimble and a steel bodkin. No hallmarks.

Tools are in overall very good condition. One thread spool has a bent top edge. The stiletto is 3-3/8″ long with minor rust on the steel tip. The knife is 3-3/4″ long with minute spots on the otherwise shiny blade. The needle case is 2-3/4″ in excellent condition. The scissors is 3-1/2″ long; one tip is a tiny bit shorter and has been re-shaped and sharpened. The steel bodkin is 3-1/2″ long and ornately detailed; it’s one of the prettiest I’ve seen. The brass thimble is marked “England” and is quite dented with warping at the bottom.

The interior is quite good with minor expected wear; slight losses to paper edges and a spot in the padded pincushion at the bottom, and light soil. The mirror is in good condition. The silk and velvet are quite good, although the loops on the tray (which hold the tools) show wear along the edges from repeated use.

The box measures 8-1/4″ by 5-1/2″ overall. There are a few small veneer chips and one bubbled, loosening portion of veneer on the left side edge of the lid. The bottom has a layer that appears to have been added later. The decorative steel and brass bands on the top are missing some of the small round-head nails that hold it in place, and all four mother of pearl discs are missing, as well as two bezels. The MOP discs on both sides of the base are intact. No key, so the lid does not latch tightly.

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