~ French Prisoner Of War Straw Work Decorated Writing Box c1810 ~
A fantastically detailed example of a straw work box dating to around 1810 made by a French prisoner of war
captured during the Napoleonic wars.
The box is of wood and straw work with inlaid decoration to each side.
The lid features a fabulously detailed scene of a ship with sails billowing, coming into a port with buildings and trees.
There is a carved cow bone keyhole surround to the front of the box.
Inside the box is a lift out tray, again highly decorated, with four lidded compartments for papers, pens etc. and two open compartments in which are housed two brass lidded glass inkwells.
The inkwells are each marked to the lid with the initials ‘S.O.’ with crown atop. They are both marked ‘Made in
Underneath the tray are two larger lidded compartments.
All the compartment lids are decorated with brightly coloured flowers in straw work.
The inside to the lid of the box has simple border decoration with a plain centre which has four pieces (scraps) of
paper with writing upon them. The writing is contemporary to the piece and looks to be from a log book/ledger of
The base is covered in paper with a mottled pattern.
~ Dimensions ~
The box measures 32.5cm (12 ¾ inches) by 24cm (9 ½ inches) with a height of 10cm (4 inches).
It weighs 1.85 Kg.
~ Condition ~
As is often the case with this sort of delicate item the box has sustained some damage over time.
There is a large split to the top which has had a non-professional repair job.
There are various chips and some wear to all sides, mainly the edges.
The lid panel has a gap along the lower edge.
The box shows quite a bit of wood worm damage but this has been treated now.
The inside of the box is in much better condition.
There is the odd bit of minor wear and a few bits of the straw work has risen due to heat and moisture.
The majority of the floral decoration is in really great condition.
The inkwells are in good order.
The ribbon handles for the compartments are modern replacements.
One of the compartment panel lids has a broken hinge.
Overall for an item of this nature the piece is in a really well preserved condition, still retaining its vibrant colours and
is a testament to the skill and workmanship of the prisoner who would have made it.