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Antique Boxes in English Society
1760 -1900
Sewing  Boxes 
 Sewing Boxes




Antique Chinese Export Lacquer  Sewing  box, circa 1840.

A large export lacquer Chinese sewing box, decorated all over with scenes of oriental figures in gardens in raised gilded lacquer.

It measures:17 "wide by 12" and 6.5" tall. 


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Front view showing pavilions and plants. The gold is worn in places showing the background red lacquer. This is usual in old pieces of this work. 

Side view showing the side carrying handles. 

Top view showing an elaborate composition amongst Court buildings and gardens. 

Detail showing seated important figures being approached by "lesser mortals" kneeling. 

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The interior of the box has spaces for sewing equipment. The tray lifts out to reveal a large undivided section.  The two decorated lids lift out.

This image can be magnified by clicking on it.

Detail of the inside lid. The scene is painted in raised lacquer and gold. 

It is particularly well preserved because it is painted on the inside and has escaped wear. The scene, although in this example it is larger and bolder than in most, is typical of the themes painted on most export lacquerware. It depicts an oriental pavilioned garden with elegant figures sitting and walking therein, looking as if they have all the time in the world.

Detail showing a long ribbon with pin cushion on one end and scissors attached on the other end.

This box is featured in our forthcoming book on Antique Boxes

For the historical context of this box read the relevant part of Antigone's Online Antique Box Book. If you click here you will go there.

We have written a highly  illustrated book on Antique Boxes and Tea caddies  which is being  published by  Schiffer Books USA. 

  © 2002 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly