A William and Mary walnut, featherbanded and olive oyster veneered dressing box
The rectangular hinged lid with a central oyster veneered oval surrounded by similar shaped panels enclosing a later pink silk lined quilted interior above straight oyster veneered sides, 51cm wide, 39cm deep, 12.5cm high.
Dressing boxes feature with some regularity in inventories of the post-Restoration period. They conform closely in form, materials employed and overall aesthetic with furniture of the period and can be dated with some accuracy by reference to certain cabinets, clock cases and so on.
Like the present example, the interiors would be lined with quilted silk which no doubt conveyed a sense of luxury as well as protection for delicate items. In the years immediately following the Restoration, boxes were veneered to the exterior in parquetry designs in kingwood, cocus, ebony or, like this example, olive wood.
Olive was much more readily available than tropical hardwoods and by later in the century became easily the most common material used for such purposes, but this is a notably early example of such use. The feather-banded pattern is particularly unusual for a box of such an early date, making this an interesting and possibly unique transitional piece.