A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert
Lot 150
A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert
Sold for £8,750 (US$ 13,800) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert
Other Properties
A rare mid 19th century New Zealand various specimen wood Kauri, Rewarewa, Totara and Kohikohi marquetry writing box by Anton Seuffert
The hinged lid with central oval panel inlaid with a fern within 'Maori' style marquetry and a riband banded border, enclosing a baize lined hinged writing surface with Greek key marquetry border, enclosing a well and secret sliding compartment enclosing two drawers; with a chequerbanded stationery compartments, one lidded, pen tray, and two ink bottles; the sides inlaid with Gothic cartouches in various specimen woods, labelled to the interior A.SEUFERT, CABINET-MAKER, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, 53.5cm wide, 30cm deep, 18cm high (21in wide, 11 1/2in deep, 7in high).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Bisham Abbey, Berkshire, by descent to the current owner.
    Bisham Abbey was the home of Sir Henry James Vansittart-Neale (K.C.B), (1843-1923) who was made Assistant Secretary to the Admiralty in 1902. His father was Edward Vansittart Neale, BA, MA (1810–1892), a barrister, co-operator and Christian Socialist, who inherited Bisham Abbey in 1885.

    Anton Seuffert (1815-1887) was a Bohemian born cabinet maker who settled in Auckland in 1859. Seuffert had originally worked with his father in the Vienna firm of Carl Leistler & Sons and oversaw the installation of the firm's exhibits at the Crystal Palace in 1851, including the spectacular cabinet presented to Queen Victorian by the Emperor Franz Joseph I, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Seuffert was again in London in 1855 and married Anna Pliz, by 1859, together with his wife and two children he was bound for Auckland, arriving in May. He established premises in Wakefield Street but by 1861 had moved to Wellesley Street, where he remained until 1867.

    During 1861-1862 Seuffert was engaged in making a marquetry secretaire for the 1862 International Exhibition at South Kensington, subsequently accepted by Queen Victoria from the inhabitants of Auckland. In 1869 Seuffert received further patronage form Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. When Seuffert died in 1887 the business was continued by his son William and later commissions including a desk for presentation to Colonel Robert Baden-Powell in honour of the Defence of Mafeking 1899-1900.

    The above lot appears to be a unique and unrecorded example of a writing box by Seuffert, it has the pre-1869 label where Seuffert spelt his name with only one 'f'. His naturalisation papers recorded the single 'f' spelling, as did his signature at that time. After his Royal Appointment a shaped label stating his new status and full address renaming himself 'Seuffert' is used.

    Brian Peet in his book, The Seuffert Legacy, New Zealand Colonial Master Craftsmen, The craft of Anton Seuffert & his sons William, Albert & Carl, 2008 illustrated many examples of Seuffert's work, with an in depth study of various boxes produced, of differing sizes and marquetry patterns. The larger boxes appear to have been intended to be used as storage of pressed native New Zealand fern specimens and the smaller boxes for storing gloves, jewellery or handkerchiefs. Most of them constructed with kauri bases, rimu sides and rewarewa veneer on the insides of the lids.

    It is interesting to note that the above lot has the characteristic fern inlay seen on Seuffert's fern boxes and which were also heavily featured on a large oval table now in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Ibid. p.104 & 105). This was displayed at the Colonial & Indian Exhibition in London in 1886. Many of his boxes use the 'Gothic arch' patterns around the side which is evident on this writing box. Brian Peet op. cit. p. 131 illustrates a jewellery box with similar 'Gothic arch' inlay made by William Seuffert (Anton's brother) for his niece as a wedding gift in 1923, which includes a key to the various veneers used.
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