A 17th Century William and Mary Kingwood Strongbox, with Gilt Brass Straps.
This strongbox has to be one of the most charming and certainly the smallest example we have encountered, at just 17.5cm high, 28cm wide and 18cm deep.
A strongbox of similar merit form and style resides at Burghley House in ‘The 1st George State Room.
The box appears decorative, but it was also very difficult to break open or steal. It has a strong lock to the centre and two bolts concealed in the sides, so that it could be screwed down into floorboards if necessary or that of a horse-drawn carriage.
Strong-boxes veneered in oysters of Princewood such as this were luxury objects. The Cabinet-makers who would have constructed and veneered the carcase apparently sold them, often using tropical hardwood veneers, and mounted it with sets of mounts, handles and locks bought in from brass founders. The elaborate veneering and conspicuous gilded brass mounts show that the appearance of these objects was important.
Thomas Pistor, Of Ludgate Hill, London worked with the renowned cabinetmaker Gerrit Jensen. Gerrit Jensen supplied a walnut-veneered ‘strongboxe’ to Colonel James Grahame in 1668, Levens Hall. It is recorded that Thomas Pistor’s remaining stock was sold off post his death in 1711, included ‘three fine Priceswood strongboxes’.