English Dated Tobacco Box

Material: Gilding metal: copper alloy with 5-15% zinc
Dimensions: Length: 10cm / 4in, Width: 8cm / 3 β…›in
Place of Origin: England
Date: Dated 1741
Maker or Retailer: Unknown
Present Location: Private collection


This elaborately inscribed tobacco box is made of a very pink brass, indicating a high copper content. The base is engraved with the name William Phipps and dated 1741. The lid depicts a flask, a glass, a candlestick of an earlier period, an owl smoking a pipe, two more crossed pipes, the initials WP and the date 1741, together with the inscription WILL.YOU.SMOKE.BROTHER.


The body of the box is constructed of sheet brass; the hinge and bezel for the lid are more likely cast, while the reciprocal detail at the base has been worked into the sheet. This in turn is folded over to retain the engraved bottom of the box.


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