A very fine and interesting late 17th century English work box or travelling case
English Circa 1680
Of conventional form with slightly domed lid, this piece has acquired a magnificent patina and colour-the leather showing all the wear one would expect and gaining much more character as a result. The central plate escutcheon is large and impressive and is inspired by the strapwork designs utilised so effectively on silver of this period.
The unusual latches to the left and right of the front suggest that this piece was perhaps designed for travelling, providing additional security as the piece was bumped up and down in a carriage or on board a ship. They are also highly decorative. The other mounts are designed to protect the corners and reinforce areas where the leather might be subject to additional wear and tear.
The leather has aged in such a way that it is highly reminiscent of polished burr walnut-the most sought-after timber during this period and so likely not entirely coincidental. The original hinges are strong and without repair and the interior is partially lined but otherwise plain as would be expected. The lock on the piece is very well made and of stronger than usual construction, signifying that this box was clearly intended to be used to carry valuable items when necessary.
A charming and unusual example of its kind and a very rare survival from this early period.