A 17th century stumpwork box, together with some contents and a written history of box and contents.
Lot 283
A rare Charles II embroidered needlework writing and sewing casket, circa 1670 Decorated with scenes from the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah
Sold for £2,500 (US$ 4,100) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare Charles II embroidered needlework writing and sewing casket, circa 1670 Decorated with scenes from the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah A 17th century stumpwork box, together with some contents and a written history of box and contents. A 17th century stumpwork box, together with some contents and a written history of box and contents. A 17th century stumpwork box, together with some contents and a written history of box and contents. A 17th century stumpwork box, together with some contents and a written history of box and contents.
A rare Charles II embroidered needlework writing and sewing casket, circa 1670
Decorated with scenes from the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah
Worked in silk threads, the hinged lid showing Samson killing the lion, the two doors to the front depicting an angel and a lady in courtly dress, the left end showing a man and a woman walking with travelling staffs, the right end with a man in courtly dress beside a striped tent, and decorated to the rear with Delilah cutting a stricken 'Cavalier' Samson's hair, he lying in her lap, she with a pair of shears, between two armed Philistines, decorated to other compartments with animals, including a cockerel and a snail, a hunting scene with stag, hound and bowman, all set against flowers and plants, the hinged lid enclosing a vacant compartment with canted sides, the doors concealing drawers and sliding panels and secret drawers, including a ring tray, the canted section also hinged and enclosing divisions for stationary and sewing implements, with original pounce pot and further secret drawers, all lined with original coral silk and plush, the original bale handle to the left end, also sold with some accumulated contents, all originally found within the many secret drawers, to include a 17th Century silver gilt small pendant Charles I supporter's medal, with the face of the executed Charles I to the obverse, two coins, to include a George II copper coin and a Roman-style coin, a child's thimble, and a chatelaine, 19th Century, of cut steel and glass beads, (significant losses to the front and side panels of the casket) 25.5cm wide x 18cm deep x 27.5cm high, (10" wide x 7" deep x 10.5" high) (5)

Footnotes

  • Provenance: By family repute the property of Harriet Douglas-Robinson, resident of Henderson House, Mohawk Valley, New York State, USA, and brought to England in 1881 on the occasion of her marriage to Mr H. B. Wolryche-Whitmore of Dudmaston, Shropshire, and thence by descent to the present owner.

    Prior to Miss Douglas-Robinson's ownership of the box, its history is unknown, although it is possible that it was bequeathed to her from her ancestor Harriet Douglas, great grandaughter of Dr James Henderson, a Scottish physician, who was gifted the land on which Henderson House stood, for his services to George II. Harriet Douglas was a wealthy heiress who travelled extensively in Europe and was interested in both literature and history. She knew Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott, and was presented at the Court of William IV. She and her husband, who built Henderson House, did not have any children, so the house was inherited by her niece, Francis (Fanny) Monroe, daughter of her sister Betsy Mary Douglas and James Monroe, a nephew of the President of the same name. Fanny Monroe married a distant cousin, Douglas Robinson, of whom Harriet Douglas-Robinson was the daughter.

    Literature: Several types of embroidered needlework casket were made in the late 17th Century. Many were simple rectangles, with hinged lid - often concealing a mirror - and a pair of doors to the front. The one offered here is of the more sophisticated type, with an extra canted layer beneath the lid. There are two similar examples in the Victoria & Albert Museum. See also Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture (1986), Vol. I., p. 107 - 109 for further examples. Figures 22 & 23 on pages 108 - 109 have hinges, handles and escutcheons similar to the lot offered here.

    A Charles II silk-embroidered picture showing Samson and Delilah was sold Christie's, New York, 21st January 2006, Lot 654.

    The thimble in this lot is accompanied by the following note: 'Thimble belonging to cabinet - M.F., A.F.V and A.M.J learnt to work with it'.

    The chatelaine in this lot is accompanied by the following note: 'Chatelaine. Hereford L..., Miss Wolrych'.
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