A rosewood veneered and mahogany, Portable Desk or Writing Slope with labels for Mattress of 85 Fleet Street.
The box is unusual in that rosewood veneers have been used for the areas of the box that are most on view, whereas the sides are mahogany or walnut. Aside from the brass edging, this large sized box is profusely decorated with inlaid brass. It has inset brass stringing with coronets to the corners surrounded by lines of circles with ringed stars to their corners. The escutcheon and blank engraving plate are also decoratively shaped.
The box has a standard drawer to the side, unlocked by a brass pin to the interior edge. The top of the box has a compartment for an inkwell to each end. These have a leather base which may or may not be original. Between the inkwells are three lidded compartments, the larger to the centre for pens. There are also two brass lined holes to take removable candlesticks, long since missing.
The writing surface is made up of two boards, one to each half of the box, covered in a faded blue velvet. The top board is opened by key whilst the bottom has a ribbon tab and two brass slide catches. Both boards cover a compartment for papers and have a Mattress label to the underside. The top board has crossed ribbons for holding notes etc. but the ribbons have been removed from the bottom board.
Like most Writing Slopes, it has secret drawers. With the top board opened, a facia board below the desk tidy area can be seen. Lifting a divider to the top compartments releases the facia board that hides four secret drawers.
The box has a patent lock by Tompson, stamped GR for the monarch. William Tompson of Bull Street, Birmingham patented his lock on the 29th of December 1808. The labels to the box give John Mattress’ earlier address of 85 Fleet Street, with him moving to 84 between 1832 and 1839.
The box is interesting not just for its combination of woods but also for the fact that it was sold by a Hairdresser and Perfumer. Circa 1830.
Closed size is given.