Georgian Knife Box
A very handsome George III mahogany veneered knife box with a flower basket oval inlay on the slope of its lid. The serpentine front is banded in satinwood, and it has a compass star decoration with rope cross-banded inlay applied to the underside of its lid. The base is felt baize covered, and it has a copper escutcheon and matching lid pull. Originally it would have had a pierced wooden liner to hold knives. Most likely this was removed a century ago when cutlery drawers and canteens of cutlery became de riguer, and the knife box was put to better uses. Our knife box now contains wooden divisions - most likely for the filing of papers and letters, yet it could still be used to hold flatware, as shown in the further images.
By the mid 18th century, British cabinetmakers and joiners became prosperous in the manufacture knife boxes. Valuable cutlery and flatware of the nobility had to be housed under lock and key, and owning a knife box was all part of upper echelon social graces. Georgian flatware was owned by the wealthy and required special cases for its storage and display. The knife box became a symbol of importance in the 18th century dining room, since owning silver was a matter of great prestige. Craftsmen designed and made knife boxes in the Hepplewhite and Sheraton styles with slant fronts, hinged lids, and beautiful veneered surfaces, such as the knife box we offer here.
Year of manufacture: c.1790
Country of origin: UK
Material: mahogany veneer, wood and brass
Dimensions: Height 38cm Width 23cm Depth 27cm
Condition: a little battle scarred with chips and knocks, and with tiny sections of the veneer stringing missing here and there - yet all character building. It is missing its internal liner, and its lock - and there's some damage near to where the lock barrel was fitted. See images. The base inside has been raised, making the maximum height for cutlery to be 27cm.