Tunbridge Ware Writing Box
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This stamp dispenser was made in 1845 by Thomas Barton (1819- 1903). He worked for Edmund Nye, a Tunbridge Ware maker. Barton was known to have a fondness for the use of dark veneers, in particular ebony and coromandel. Barton is considered to be perhaps the finest maker of Tunbridge Ware in the 19th century. In 1864 Barton was awarded first prize in the First Class for skilled manufacture at the Tunbridge Wells Industrial Exhibition. This piece is a fine example demonstrating his extraordinary design skills and tessellated mosaic work. More than 180 different woods were used, many were native to the district, and others were imported. These gave a wide variety of shades. Only natural colours were used in the manufacture of Tunbridge Ware. After the introduction of the Penny Post in 1840, stamp boxes were in demand for the new stamps which were relatively expensive at the time and needed suitable containers.