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S/5076 Antique Treen 19th Century Mauchline Ware Sycamore Spice Box made for the Czech Market

An interesting 19th century Mauchline ware cylindrical spice box, having an inset lid with a central knob handle, that is decorated with cartoon prints of a portrait of a man and woman and titled in Czech and German meaning wedlock, matrimony and engagement. Also on the lid is the word Korenka indicating matrimony. The interior comprises of seven circular sycamore spice pots with fitted lids, having titles in Czech which translate to cinnamon, clove, ginger, pepper, all spice etc. The exterior has a floral foliate transfer of a town image and labelled Sedmikorske Wartenberg. Wartenberg is the German name of the town of Straz Pod Raiskem in Sudetenland now located in the Czech Republic. The whole retains a patination.

The production of box work or Mauchline ware took place from the 1820's until 1933 by the firm of W & A Smith. These boxes were extremely collectable. They ranged from the basic transfer as on small vases, with each piece having the view of the place of purchase. These went from Mauchline to the Isle of Wight. Tartan ware was also extremely popular as a result of the smiths inventing a machine for weaving tartan designs on paper. Fernware was introduced in the 1870s. This involved applying actual ferns to the wood, which was then stippled in dark brown, the ferns removed and the wood varnished. The wood used was sycamore. These products were sent all over the world. A fire in 1933 stopped production, which was never restarted.

Mauchline, located 11 miles inland from the Scottish coastal resort of Ayr, was the center of the Mauchline Ware industry, which at its peak in the 1860s employed over 400 people in the manufacture of small, but always beautifully made and invariably useful wooden souvenirs and gift ware.

Provenance: Reckless Collection

4 in. (10 cm.) High
6 in. (16.5 cm.) Diameter Scottish Circa 1860