COLLECTION: Household Accessories

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Rolled Paper Work Box

1696 (dated)
Origin: Great Britain, England
OW: 19 1/4" x OD: 15 1/4" x OH: 6 1/2"
Rolled paper, wood, mirror, glass, silk, marbled paper, leather
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Miodrag R. Blagojevich
Acc. No. 1984-298,A
This is a box whose exterior is entirely covered in rolled paper work. The rolled paper is protected by modern glass and is bordered by a black half-round molded frame. The box rests on four ball feet and has been preserved by its original wooden traveling box which is covered with very old paper with painted Arabic-type inscriptions.

The lower middle portion of the lid shows the coat of arms of the Braddeler family, described as "Az. a bend invecked or." in heraldic terms. In lay terms, it can be described as a blue shield with a gold sash running across it diagonally from the top left to the bottom right. The sash has scalloped edges. Above the coat of arms is a knight's helmet and atop that is a creature's head with its tongue out. Both the helmet and the creature's head are gold. Below the coat of arms is a narrow, waving blue and white band that looks like it would be inscribed with a family motto if the object was larger and there was more room. In the center of the lid is a medallion flanked by four birds, potted bouquets of flowers, and scrolling designs. In the bottom two corners are chickens. At the top of the lid there is a design that resembles raised theatrical curtains, with two swags framed by two vertical lines. Inside each swag is a crown flanked by two trumpeting men in red and gold paper.

The front of the cabinet is divided in two by the black wooden frame, which camouflages the box's keyhole. Both sides have central medallions surrounded by flowers and scrolling designs. The (viewer's) right side of the box also shows a central medallion surrounded by flowers and scrolling designs. The back of the box features two rolled paper work birds framing the initials "EC" and the date "1696," also done in rolled paper work. The left side shows a central medallion surrounded by flowers and scrolling designs.

Opening the lid reveals an interior of salmon-colored silk. The interior of the lid has a looking glass framed by two rectangles of quilted salmon-colored silk. The interior has a large well at the right with smaller compartments on the left. On the left are a series of salmon-colored silk dividers. Below this is a small leather case that can still be opened. There is a compartment next to this that is decorated with white bias tape stitched with black thread. It can be opened to reveal a cavern lined with marbled paper. A secret drawer can be pulled out, in which a brush remains. Also in this cavern are the broken remains of an old clay pipe from an unknown time period. Next to this is a series of five open spaces, one larger space framed by four smaller ones. Next to this are two larger open spaces, one of which holds a glass bottle. To the right of this series of spaces are two narrow, vertically-oriented spaces used to hold paper or letters.
Label:The decoration of this rolled paper work box is formed by an astounding number of narrow paper strips, rolled tightly and adhered to fabric to form symmetrically-arranged flowers, birds, and the date "1696" almost hidden among the profusion of decorative elements. While the box's interior salmon-colored silk, secret compartments, mirror, and marbled paper match those of needlework boxes made by girls and young women earlier in the seventeenth century, the box's larger size and rolled paper work exterior illustrate the transformation of women's storage spaces in Early Modern England.
Provenance:Ex. Collection: Mr. and Mrs. Miodrag R. Blagojevich
Mark(s):"EC 1696"