George IV Brass-inlaid Lap Desk, ca. 1825
It belonged to my father, and I inherited it when he passed away. I believe it's European. I don't know the correct name for it. I consider it sort of a traveling writer's box.
Uh-huh. It is an English box. It is what we would call a lap desk or just a folding writing desk. It's dated from between 1820 and 1830. This is the reign of George IV. George IV actually had a lot of interest in furniture which had brass inlay on it, like this. We call this Boulle marquetry, and it's all over the top of this box, as we can see. And on the front, as well. The wood itself is sapele wood, so it's a tropical hardwood, and it's used a lot in these sorts of boxes, because it was very highly prized and had a wonderful figure. There's a lot more to see inside. So, we've got a clue here which indicates to us that it is definitely English. And that's the lock. "G.R.," here, and the crown patent. So that is a period lock for George IV. You would have had your pen tray here. Sadly absent, now. And a couple of other bits missing. We also have this wonderful inlay. See how tight this is.
This is a tropical inlay, and this actually would have been done probably in Tunbridge Wells. It's known as Tunbridge ware. So this could be, uh, the original red leather—Morocco, red Morocco leather gilted writing surface, which has been later replaced with this rather, dare I say, unfortunate green velvet. This has not really seen much light. So this is pretty much as it would have been at the time. We actually see pieces like this on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW a lot.
Like, these lap desks were really... They were produced in really, really large numbers, so... Because everybody needed them, they used them. I mean, you mentioned that they were like traveling desks, but really, they mostly did their traveling within the home. I mean, they were like portable...
Writing stations, if you like. We see a lot of these on ROADSHOW and most of them are pretty also-ran. This one isn't that. This one is a very, very high-quality one. At auction, I would estimate it for between $1,500 and $2,000.
Oh, right, okay. Thank you, very nice.
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