Dating from 1884, this impressive antique dressing case is veneered in Coromandel and edged with brass. Patented by George Betjemann & Sons, the box features a mechanical design that allows it to cantilever and open out into six compartmented sections.
The interior of the box is lined and ruched with blue velvet and contains thirteen cut glass bottles and jars. The solid silver lids with elaborately pierced and engraved sides, are hallmarked London 1884 by George Betjemann & Sons. The engraved 'AMG' monogram belonging to Alice Mary Gibbs (see provenance below) is apparent on all the lids.
The front flap of the box holds a set of three monogrammed ivory hand mirrors. The largest mirror is fitted standard mirror glass and the two smaller mirrors hold convex (wide angle) glass and concave (magnifying) glass. An engraved nickel-plated makers plate on the front edge of the flap reads, 'Jenner & Knewstub - 33 St James's Street & 66 Jermyn Street - W'.
The top two sections of the box swing outward at right-angles, revealing two further sections underneath that are fitted with twenty two vanity tools; these comprise a mother of pearl handled corkscrew, four pairs of scissors, a retractable tooth pick, a mother of pearl handled stiletto, a solid silver double-ended medicine spoon by John Aldwinkle and Thomas Slater, a napkin hook, a mother of pearl pen knife, a mother of pearl handled nail file and cuticle scraper, a mother of pearl handled pair of tweezers, two bodkin/ ribbon threaders, a solid silver Mordan & Co retractable pencil, a hinged perfume bottle corkscrew, a mother of pearl handled crochet hook, a hinged glove buttoning hook, a pencil lead case, a needle case, a wax seal stamp and a silver handled button hook. These sections are spring-loaded, and cantilever out automatically by pressing a sliding button at the base of the box. When fully opened out, push buttons on the vanity tool sections release concealed spring-loaded front drawers. These drawers, made from solid Satinwood with intricate dovetail joinery, have velvet-lined compartments and full width ring/ cuff-link channels.
The rear bottle section of the box has a decorative Nickel plated fretworked gallery frontage, beneath which is a concealed leather-bound pull-out drawer with matching velvet lining. The leather-lined base section of the box contains a matching monogrammed ivory shoe horn, glove stretcher and two hand brushes. Plaques inlaid into the rims of the base section, read 'Betjemann's 151' and 'Patent 151'.
A matching pierced framed mirror in the lid springs forward to reveal a secret leather-bound wallet behind. The beveled glass mirror has a ruched velvet panel to the reverse that opens out as a stand. The main right-hand hinge has incremental adjustments to allow the mirror's viewing angle (when stored inside the lid) to be tilted.
The Bramah lock is fully working and comes with its original Bramah key.
This box was acquired directly from a descendant of the Gibbs family, who kindly supplied the following information, as well as an original mounted photo of Alice Mary Gibbs taken just after her wedding in 1887.
Alice Mary Crutchley (1860-1942) married Henry Lloyd Gibbs (1861-1907) on the 17th August 1887 at St Michael and All Angels Church, Sunninghill, Berkshire. Her married name changed to Alice Mary Gibbs.
This dressing case was given to Alice as a wedding present by her parents, General Charles Crutchley and Eliza Bayfield Crutchley at their Sunninghill Park estate in Berkshire.
Henry Lloyd Gibbs (son of Henry Hucks Gibbs, 1st Baron Aldenham) held the post of Lieutenant of the City of London. After their marriage, Henry Lloyd Gibbs and Alice Mary Gibbs resided at both The Manor House in Elstree, Hertfordshire, and, the then newly completed, 10 Lennox Gardens, S.W London.
Alice had five children: Captain Maurice Antony Crutchley Gibbs (1888-1974), 2nd Lt. Ronald Charles Melbourne Gibbs (1894-1914), Helen Bridget Gibbs (1896-1978), Christian Louisa Gibbs (1898-1899) and Sibella Mary Gibbs (1899-1900).
Separate envelopes containing locks of hair belonging to all Alice's five children, along with an original photo of her son Ronald as a child, remain in the concealed leather-bound wallet, as Alice had left them. ... READ more READ less
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