Victorian Painted Deed Box for Viscount Clifden's Estate Office
A late Victorian deed box belonging to the estate office of Viscount Clifden.
The deed box bears the makers label for Thomas Harrison & Son of Nottingham to the front with the number 4 below to denote that this box was once part of a larger set. It is further painted to the top with “Viscount Clifden’s Estate Office below a Viscount Coronet. The red interior has a further trade label for Christ & Co Manufacturers of No12 Henrietta St Covent Garden, suggesting that it was this company who undertook the decorative work to the box on behalf of the Viscount.
Owing to the age of the deed box, it would have belonged to the 6th Viscount Clifden, Thomas Agar-Robartes (1844-1930) who was a liberal politician for Cornwall East and later a member of the House of Lords following the death of his father. At this time he was thought to have owned at least 3% of Cornish land.
The estate referred to on the lid of the box is the Lanhydrock Estate in Cornwall. Now a National Trust property, the house was devastated by fire in 1881 and the 6th Viscount undertook rebuilding activities with the family moving back in to the property in 1885. The period between the rebuild and the First World War is seen as the golden age of Lanhydrock House until the untimely death of the Viscount’s eldest son during the Battle of Loos. His second son succeeded to the title where he was an active member of Winston Churchill’s war-time coalition.