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.
Day started his business in 1812 and by 1823 is listed in the directories at 353 Strand. The 1828 directory gives a second address of 31 Holywell St, Strand and notes his patronage by the Dukes of York and Sussex. By 1841 he also had premises at 378 Strand and by 1865 the company name was changed to William Day & Son. Their last entry in the directories is in 1869. Interestingly, by 1880 John Pound, another trunk and campaign equipage maker, is listed at 378 Strand.
Like his contemporaries, Day offered a variety of trunks and military furniture. His work is good and although most is of a standard form he was innovative with his trunks. In the 1820s he sought patents for portable beds and he also patented a design for a Portable Shower bath in 1845.