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




A Georgian Mahogany Writing box in the military style Circa 1800.

This writing box is in the military style, in solid mahogany having good quality brass bindings, corners, countersunk handles, and edgings.  It dates to about 1800. 

It also has secret drawers,

Pair of original inkwells,

Velvet covered writing surfaces,

Working lock and key.

Dimensions: 14" wide 9.6 deep 6.5"high (closed).

Please click on the images for larger versions.


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The writing tablet is covered with embossed velvet which is probably original to the box. This does show wear consistent with its age especially near to the join between the two parts.

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There are compartments for papers under the flaps.

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When one of the dividers is pulled a sprung panel is released revealing two dovetail constructed drawers with turned ebony handles. 

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The box is constructed with full-blind dovetail joints. The brass is fixed with iron screws which have their heads ground down level with the brass. The result is a strong and stable box which has survived well the harsh environments it has had to encounter,

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Dovetail joints:

The dovetail joint is one of the wonders of woodwork. In the full blind none of the careful work is visible. If the joint is simply mitered it will not survive atmospheric change. A mitered joint is end grain to end grain. The glue soaks in, becomes dry and brittle and falls apart. 

The dovetail joint enables side grain to be glued to side grain. These joints would hold together without glue!

It is the true proof of these dovetail joints made by craftsmen 200 years ago that their joints are as they made them.

This image is courtesy of  Fine Woodworking Techniques 1978 Taunton Press inc. ISBN: 0918804027

You can order the  Fine Woodworking Techniques from Amazon  by clicking one of the links below:

 And from Barnes and Noble with the link below:



Extract: Choosing and Making the right joints by Tage Frid.

Fine Woodworking Techniques 1978 Taunton Press inc. ISBN: 0918804027

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Detail showing the hand cut dovetails used to construct the secret drawers. There are through dovetails on the back and half-blind dovetails on the front. The cabinet maker's marking lines are still visible.

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For the historical context of this writing 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 has been  published by  Schiffer Books USA.

  © 2004 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly