Tunbridge Ware Boxes

Everyone needs storage of various sizes but that doesn’t mean it has to be purchased at IKEA. For something a little more individual try a Tunbridge Ware box to add some extra style and substance to your space.

For about two-hundred fifty years, local artisans in Tunbridge Wells (UK) produced a variety of wooden articles decorated with wooden mosaics. For the boxes, banding from the back of the lid down the front of the box was used. I have even seen example where the entire back and front was banded. These items became known as Tunbridge Ware (sometimes written Tunbridgeware).

When looking to purchase one of these boxes, avoid pieces that have suffered significant damage or loss of veneer (difficult to repair) and it doesn’t hurt if the original key also comes with the item.

But keep in mind, as the last of these items was made in the 1930’s (and many more from Victorian times), wear is inevitable. If you have to choose, I would focus on the quality of the exterior as the interior can be easily relined if necessary.

For further reading consider Tunbridge Ware as the definitve text on Tunbridge Ware.

Victorian geometric band maquetry erroneously called Tunbridge Ware

True Tunbridge Ware

Joseph Fields