SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616. An English mulberry-wood writing box, stamped to the underside "SHAKESPEAR'S / WOOD / SHARP / STRATFORD ON AVON," the cover carved with mulberries around Shakespeare's arms,

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Lot 130
SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616.
An English mulberry-wood writing box, stamped to the underside "SHAKESPEAR'S / WOOD / SHARP / STRATFORD ON AVON," the cover carved with mulberries around Shakespeare's arms,
US$ 8,000 - 12,000
£ 6,100 - 9,200

Lot Details
SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616.
An English mulberry-wood writing box, stamped to the underside "SHAKESPEAR'S / WOOD / SHARP / STRATFORD ON AVON," the cover carved with mulberries around Shakespeare's arms, the sides carved with trellis pattern, cover hinged, enclosing divided interior, for quills, inkwells, with two glass wells (lacking stoppers), bottom panel with crack causing minor loss, bun feet removed, cover hinges replaced; L 178 mm; H 84 mm; W 48 mm.

A WRITING BOX CARVED FROM THE WOOD OF SHAKESPEARE'S MULBERRY TREE PLANTED IN 1609. Thomas Sharp purchased (or gathered) the wood from Shakespeare's mulberry tree, when it was felled by Rev. Francis Gastrell, the owner of New Place, who according to legend, in a pique about all the admirers stopping by to pay homage to the bard, unceremoniously chopped the tree down in 1759. He soon stumbled upon the idea of creating "memento mori" while burning some his valuable wood, and pulling it from the fire, turned to producing objects from the sacred tree.
The present writing box, stamped to the lower panel, "SHAKESPEAR'S / WOOD / SHARP / STRATFORD ON AVON," stands as one of the most resonant of all of those objects, being so closely associated with the art and act of writing.

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  1. Ian Ehling
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
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