A Victorian Tunbridge-ware parquetry games box, of rectangular form with a hinged lid opening to reveal nine compartments containing Chinese mother of pearl counters centred on a circular bowl, decorated in a parquetry of myriad woods with a large and intricate roundel both inside and outside the lid, the edges with tessellated mosaic borders. English, circa 1860.
Footnote: Tunbridge-ware became popular in the 1830s. It was a point of honour not to stain or dye any woods, and some 40 were in regular use. Soaking them in local spa waters at the Chalybeate Spring, no doubt due to the minerals present, turned sycamore pale grey, holly stark white and satinwood bright green. Tessellated mosaic was a development by James Burrows, George Wise and Edmund Nye. Minute tesserae (squares) were made by tightly gluing and binding rods of contrasting woods which were then cut off in thin slices and used for a wide variety of geometric and pictorial designs.
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