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Antique English Coromandel & Silver Dressing Case T Dalton 1849

Antique English Coromandel  & Silver Dressing  Case T Dalton  1849 | Ref. no. 08139 Sold

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This is a stunning antique Victorian lady's coromandel brass banded  travelling dressing case, mid 19th Century in date.

The hinged cover is centred by an engraved heraldic device and the initials C.M. The beautiful interior is fitted with silver mounted cut glass bottles and jars on spring release trays, opening to reveal a lower tier with mother-of-pearl and steel manicure accessories above a blue silk lined base drawer.

The sterling silver topped jars and bottles have hallmarks for London 1849 and the makers mark of the  silversmith Frances Douglas and the case bears a paper label of the manufacturer Thomas Dalton,


This dressing case is made of coromandel wood, which was and still is extremely rare and expensive and would only have been used on very high quality items.

There is a sprung concealed drawer on one side and another one in the bottom, they spring open when the brass buttons are pressed. The bottom one is lined with velvet and provides storage for jewellery.  The case  also has a secret compartment concealed inside the lid, which can be removed to reveal a secret tooled leather hiding place for letters and documents as well as a useful mirror.

It is a beautiful piece which will look stunning on your dressing table. 


In excellent condition, the silver with clear hallmarks and no dings, dents or signs of repair. Please see photos for confirmation. 

Dimensions in cm:

Height 19 x Width 31 x Depth 22

Dimensions in inches:

Height 7 inches x Width 1 foot, 0 inches x Depth 9 inches

Thomas Dalton  Established 1829.
65 & 85 Quadrant, Regent Street, London  and
6 Great Ormond Street, Queens Square, London.  

Travelling cases became very popular towards the end of the 18th century. They were manufactured specifically to accompany upper class gentleman during travel. Dressing cases were originally rather utilitarian but they spoke volumes about their owners’s wealth and place in society, as at that time, traveling was only done by the elite.

Gentleman’s dressing cases would contain bottles and jars for colognes, aftershaves and creams as well as essential shaving and manicure tools. As these boxes became more popular, many further traveling item options were offered for inclusion.

By the early Victorian era, ladies also began to travel and suddenly their requirements were anything but utilitarian! Ladies dressing cases could feature a wide range of decorative bottles and jars as well as a vast array of beautifcation tools, all designed with pure luxury in mind. The exterior of the box became almost as important as the interior and these boxes started being veneered with beautiful exotic woods from all over the world.

As demand for gentleman’s boxes lessened, the dressing case started to also become known by the more feminine term ‘vanity box’. These boxes, with their excessive price tags, were now considered as true works of art and beauty in themselves, and were often bought as status symbols rather than actual traveling companions.

Some of the finest examples of travelling cases made from exotic wood with gold and silver fittings come from: Walter Thornhill, Betjamann & Sons and Jenner & Knewstub.

Calamander wood or Coromandel wood is a valuable wood from IndiaSri Lanka  and South East Asia. It is of a hazel-brown color, with black stripes (or the other way about), very heavy and hard. It is also known as Macassar Ebony or variegated ebony and is closely related to genuine ebony, but is obtained from different species in the same genus; one of these is Diospyros quaesita Thwaites, from Sri Lanka. The name Calamander comes from the local sinhalese name, 'kalu-medhiriya', which means dark chamber; referring to the characteristic ebony black wood.

Coromandel wood has been logged to extinction over the last 2 to 3 hundred years and is no longer available for new work in any quantity. Furniture in coromandel is so expensive and so well looked after that even recycling it is an unlikely source. A substitute, Macassar Ebony, has similar characteristics and to the untrained eye is nearly the same but it lacks the depth of colour seen in genuine Coromandel.

Angelica Kauffman, RA (1741 - 1807)

was a Swiss-born Austrian Neoclassical painter who had a successful career in London and Rome. Though born as "Kauffmann", Kauffman is the preferred spelling of her name in English; it is the form she herself used most in signing her correspondence, documents and paintings.

While Kauffman produced many types of art, she identified herself primarily as a history painter, an unusual designation for a woman artist in the 18th century. History painting, was considered the most elite and lucrative category in academic painting during this time period. Under the direction of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Royal Academy made a strong effort to promote history painting to a native audience who were more interested in commissioning and buying portraits and landscapes.

Despite the popularity that Kauffman enjoyed in British society and her success as an artist, she was disappointed by the relative apathy that the British had towards history painting. Ultimately she left Britain for the continent, where history painting was better established, held in higher esteem and patronized.

The works of Angelica Kauffman have retained their reputation. By 1911, rooms decorated with her work were still to be seen in various quarters. At Hampton Court was a portrait of the duchess of Brunswick; in the National Portrait Gallery, a self-portrait. There were other pictures by her at Paris, at Dresden, in the Hermitage at St Petersburg, in the Alte Pinakothek atMunich, in Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn (Estonia).


is a hard and durable wood with a satinlike sheen, much used in cabinetmaking, especially in marquetry. It comes from two tropical trees of the family Rutaceae (rue family). East Indian or Ceylon satinwood is the yellowish or dark-brown heartwood of Chloroxylon swietenia.

The lustrous, fine-grained, usually figured wood is used for furniture, cabinetwork, veneers, and backs of brushes. West Indian satinwood, sometimes called yellow wood, is considered superior. It is the golden yellow, lustrous, even-grained wood found in the Florida Keys and the West Indies.

It has long been valued for furniture. It is also used for musical instruments, veneers, and other purposes. Satinwood is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales, family Rutaceae.

Our reference: 08139