This lovely black forest table box was hand-carved in Switzerland, circa 1880. In the 19th century, black forest carvings were symbols of wealth and status. It Is probably not a coincidence that the bottom of the box is engraved with details of a previous owner, most notably that they resided in Vichy, France in 1910. During the late 19th to early 20th century, Vichy was a trendy resort town often visited by many celebrities.
It is apparent that this box was created by a master craftsman. Each side of the box has a bricked background, lying beneath floral and foliate carvings. The feet of the box are presented in the shape of large leaves and one of them is flowering. A mouse clings to the front of the box, looking up towards the lid. In the center of the lid is a songbird perched on the edge of a nest with three eggs. The wings are thrown back and its chest is puffed out as the bird stares at a second mouse nearing the nest. Behind the two animals are long strands of grass.
The top opens via a brass hinge, which reveals an interior compartment that is lined with a variegated orange fabric. The compartment measures 6 inches wide, 3 inches deep and 2 ¾ inches high.
Our late 19th century Swiss black forest table box would be perfect as a jewelry box, but it would also make a lovely accessory to place on any table surface.
CONDITION: Very good antique condition with minor buildup to wood. Rub to the fabric interior. Key is missing.