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Antique Victorian Colonial Camphor Wood & Brass Rolltop Metamorphic Lap Box Writing Desk (circa 1850)


£945 | $1,317 USD | €1,101 EUR
Item Number: SA649332
Date of manufacture: 1850
Current Status: For sale
Seller: Yolanda Gray Antiques
This antique has been viewed 49 times in the past month with the most views from France.


This is a rare example of a beautiful antique colonial camphor wood brass bound military roll top writing box, circa 1850, in excellent condition.

• Item: Roll Top Writing Box
• Circa: 1850
• Wood: Camphor Wood
• Period: Victorian
• Provenance: Hong Kong
• Cabinetmaker: Kwong Man Shing
• Brass bound box
• Brass inset side carrying handles
• Ebonized string inlay
• Large drawer below box
• Sliding roll-top section
• Fold out hinged writing slope
• Internal pop-up cabinet
• Multiple pigeon holes & compartments
• Working lock and key
• Original camphor wood “straight edge” ruler
• Secret compartment
• Central locking cupboard
• Dovetail construction
• Original polish & patination
• Excellent condition
• Free delivery to England, Wales & southern Scotland*
• Free 14-day UK returns period

This is a rare example of a beautiful antique colonial Camphor wood brass bound military roll top writing box, circa 1850, in excellent condition. The box boasts a ¾” brass binding to the corner edges, a central brass plaque to the fall, flush brass inset carrying handles to the sides, with one smaller brass inset handle to the front lower drawer. The lower drawer features a working lock and key. The fall and the front of the box incorporates ebonised string inlay. There is a stunning grain configuration and colour to the wood on the fall and front of the writing box.

As the lower drawer is pulled open, this activates the roll top mechanism at the top of the box to slide back to reveal a pop-up cabinet. Opening the front fall reveals a sloping writing station which has been lined with green baize. The interior features the original “straight edge” circular wooden ruler (used for writing) along with a variety of inkwells and a central removable pen tray. A secret compartment can be accessed by lifting up the top edge of the baize. The secret compartment boasts a maker’s label, which reads “Dr. to Kwong Man Shing, dealer in furnitures, curious and Japanese ware, No. 63, Queen’s Road, next Victoria Hotel”. (The address could refer to Queen’s Road in Hong Kong, where it is likely to have been made.) Lifting the cabinet upwards, until the wooden spring levers either side lock it into place, locks the pop-up section to reveal a bank of pigeonholes. Pressing the side levers inwards lowers the pop-up section.

Condition Report:
This writing box is in excellent condition, which is commensurate with its age. Nominal old use marks to the exterior and leading edges of the box and brass strapping, but nothing significant considering the age of the item. As it boasts the original polish, it has a fantastic colour and patination. There are no missing compartments to the box. The box boasts the original wooden ruler. The box also features the original working lock (with key). The pop-up mechanism is original and in excellent working order. The hinges to the fall are also in good working order. The fall has been re-lined with green baize some time ago. This item is solid in joint and ready to use.

Height = 23cm or 9”
Width = 45.8cm or 18” or 1ft 6”
Depth = 40.8cm or 16” or 1ft 4”

Free UK Delivery*:
We offer free delivery to mainland England, Wales, and Southern Scotland. *We do not offer free delivery to locations north of Stirling in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or any British Islands off the mainland. If you live in one of the areas, please contact us for a delivery quote.

Free 14 Days UK Returns & Refunds:
A free 14-day “no quibble” returns policy is available if you are not happy with this item. We will collect the item free of charge from you.

International Buyers:
Please contact us before purchasing the item, so that we can obtain an accurate shipping quote and delivery lead-time.

Ref. 38340

Please contact us on 01829 458 070 or 07960 738 212 to arrange a viewing. Alternatively, please email:
Internal Ref: 38340


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as 1850.


Height = 23 cm (9.1")
Width = 45.8 cm (18.0")
Depth = 40.8 cm (16.1")

Seller Details

Yolanda Gray Antiques
Unit 4
Organsdale Farm
United Kingdom

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