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Cornet Nicholson's Writing Slope


Maker: William Day

Category: Archive

Subcategory: Boxes

This dark blue leather writing slope by W. Day is of book form.

Its rounded spine has a flush fitting brass handle and the leather is tooled for decoration. When the Bramah lock is released the box opens out to give a sloped writing surface with two storage areas above. Firstly is a desk tidy, lined in mahogany with a removable pen tray and space for inkwell etc. Above this is a mahogany lined compartment for papers that is covered by two flaps. The underside of one flap is fitted to take pens etc. while the other has a wallet. The underside of the desk tidy cover has a maker's label for 'W. Day, Manufacturer To Their Majesties, 353 Strand, London.'

Day are noted trunk and campaign furniture manufacturers who were established in 1812 (see British Campaign Furniture by Brawer). Their address changed in 1841 to incorporate 378 Strand, so the box's label allows us to date it to before this date. However, the brass Bramah lock plate is engraved with the owner's name of 'Gilbert Thomas Nicholson Esq. 9th Royal Lancers', which also helps to date the box. Nicholson purchased his commission and joined the 9th, or Queen's Royal Dragoons, as a Cornet on the 9th February 1838. A Cornet was a junior officer of the cavalry entrusted to bear the regimental standard. On the 15th January 1841 he was promoted Lieutenant and on the 24th October 1845, Captain. He last appears in the Army List of 1846. So it is probable that he bought this box as a Cornet, engraving his name without rank, as he obviously hoped to raise himself above his junior position. Circa 1838-41.

Dimensions closed are given.

  • Dimensions:
    H 8cm x W 36cm x D 30cm
    H 3" x W 14" x D 11¾"

  • Year: Circa 1838-41.
  • Medium: Leather on Softwood
  • Country: England
  • Signed: W. Day label
  • Exhibition: The Portable Empire
  • Reference Number: 6064