A Pair of George III Hepplewhite Period Mahogany & Satinwood Inlaid Knife Cases with Original Interior
A stunning pair of George III Mahogany and Satinwood inlay knife cases or knife boxes. Dating to around 1780, these cases are of the best quality with serpentine fronts and classical fan motifs to the lid reminiscent of the neo-classical design work of architect and designer Robert Adam of around the same period. Constructed from the finest flame mahogany and satinwood with box wood stringing to complete the edge, the cases interior reveals another circular fan motif which remains almost as bright as the day it was manufactured and intricate boxwood and ebony stringing to the original interior. The interiors are rarely found as they were regularly converted for use as desk tidies by the Victorians.
As can be seen from the additional pictures, knife cases were at the height of their popularity during the last quarter of the eighteenth century although there are earlier examples. Both Hepplewhite and Sheraton included designs for them in their work although the cases in question are more closely related to Hepplewhite’s work. He (or his wife) remarks that,
“The universal utility of this piece of furniture renders a particular description not necessary. They may be made of mahogany inlaid, or of satin, or other wood at pleasure.”
A few years later, Sheraton remarks that,
“As these cases are not made in regular cabinet shops, it may be of service to mention where they are executed in the best taste by one who makes it his main business; ie. John Lane, No44 St Martins Le Grand, London”
The fact that Hepplewhite feels little need to explain the concept and that by Sheraton’s time, the item was so universal that one man could make it his sole business is testament to their popularity.
Sadly, they are fewer in number today but they provide wonderful examples of eighteenth century cabinet work. Visually stunning this pair emanate from the same workshop and by the same hand, however there are some very minor differences in dimensions which you may expect from an age where all work was carried out by hand.