The Kent town of Tunbridge Wells established itself as a fashionable spa town during the Restoration.
Among the souvenirs and gifts on sale to its many visitors were "Shops full of toys - and all sorts of wooden ware which this place is noted - in both white and Lignum Vitae wood". Diarist Celia Finnes 1697.
By the early 1800's these had developed into highly decorative boxes and all manner of other objects characterized by complex inlay work in various coloured woods forming pictorial and geometric designs. The most notable work was made from about 1830 to 1900. In 1840 there were nine manufacturers of Tunbridge ware in Tunbridge Wells and one in Tonbridge. Production declined as public tastes changed, the final firm, Boyce, Brown and Kemp, closing in 1927.
The objects are highly collectible today. As might be expected the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery has a large collection.
Wikipedia has a page on Tunbridge ware with some good external links.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunbridge_ware
Photos Copyright © 2017 Amherst Antiques.
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Tunbridge Ware Caddy Spoon.
Tunbridge Ware Stamp Box.
Made by Edward Nye (died c.1863)
Tunbridge Ware Trinket Cabinet.
A four drawer trinket cabinet veneered in figured ash and with a view of Tonbridge Castle to the lid and floral panels to the doors.
Attributed to Henry Hollamby.