This object is currently resting in our storage facility. See our image rights statement.

Traveling Dressing Table Set (England), 1875

This is a Traveling Dressing Table Set. It was silversmith Thomas Whitehouse and retailed by Asprey & Son Co.. It is dated 1875 and we acquired it in 1984. Its medium is coromandel-veneered joined wood, lined with silk, gilded and tooled calfskin leather, raised, chased and engraved silver, cut glass, mirrored glass, carved mother-of-pearl (handles), cut and engraved brass (hinges and tools), gilt-metal, forged steel (imp. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Unlike today, when air travel requires carry-on toiletry liquids to be in clear plastic bags and other containers, in the 19th century, this elegant dressing-table box would have held stylish and functional implements. The owner probably had someone to carry it for him or her, so considerations such as weight and sturdiness were not paramount. While both sexes availed themselves of such boxes, with minor variations of implements, this example appears more likely to have been a man’s. In 1870s London, a man might have had creams for his hair and wax for his moustache, colognes and manicure equipment, and buttonhooks and other items needed for dressing. The leisure classes were likely to communicate by mail as well, often several times a day, so this traveling case provides pouches for stationery, pen, inkwell, and sander, as well as a surface in a concealed drawer for composing (and perhaps hiding) correspondence.

This object was donated by Danny J. H. Kauffman. It is credited Gift of Danny J. H. Kauffman.

Its dimensions are

Open: 38.4 x 32.4 x 30 cm (15 1/8 x 12 3/4 x 11 13/16 in.) Other (-1d, mirror): 29 x 1.3 x 20.2 cm (11 7/16 x 1/2 x 7 15/16 in.) H x W x D: 21.3 x 32.4 x 23.3 cm (8 3/8 x 12 3/4 x 9 3/16 in.)

It has the following markings

maker's mark T.W in a rectangular punch for Thomas Whitehouse (this mark registered in 1862), with gothic lower case 'u' for London, 1875-76, the London leopard head, the sterling lion passant, and Queen Victoria's head duty mark on the silver on the case; the hinges and lock plates engraved . The lockplate signed "A? BRAMAH LONDON" The case with ASPREY -166- BOND STREET in a circular arrangement, the leather on the lid document holders stamped in gold leaf with ASPREY & SON, MAKERS, 166 BOND ST. LONDON"

It is inscribed

the silver lids engraved with a monogram of overlapping "EA" within a "D"?

Cite this object as

Traveling Dressing Table Set (England), 1875. coromandel-veneered joined wood, lined with silk, gilded and tooled calfskin leather, raised, chased and engraved silver, cut glass, mirrored glass, carved mother-of-pearl (handles), cut and engraved brass (hinges and tools), gilt-metal, forged steel (imp. Gift of Danny J. H. Kauffman. 1984-133-1-a/i.

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

This object may be subject to Copyright or other restrictions.

You are welcome to make fair use of this image under U.S. Copyright law and in compliance with our terms of use. Please note that you are responsible for determining whether your use is fair and for responding to any claims that may arise from your use.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18802401/ |title=Traveling Dressing Table Set (England), 1875 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 September 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

If you would like to tell us more about an object or have found an error in an object record, please let us know!