This small 18th century wooden document trunk with brass mounts would have been owned by a Dutch sailor or government official. The trunk is associated with the V.O.C. of the Dutch Golden Age, likely putting production in the early 1700’s.
Vereenigde Nederlandsche Oost Indische Compagnie (V.O.C.), or Dutch East India Company as it is known in English, was a government-mandated consolidation of rival trading companies. Founded in 1602, the V.O.C. was the first conglomerate, with operations in trading, production, shipbuilding, and shipping. The massive organization helped usher the Netherlands into becoming an international force. After the death of William III in 1702, the Dutch lost their standing as a world power, and combined with poor financial management, resulted in a slow decline of the VOC between 1720 and 1799.
VOC antiques are interesting in that they exhibit stylistic cues from the homelands of the Dutch sailors mixed with that of the indigenous cultures in which they worked and lived. This pretty trunk has European foliate shell carvings mixed with Asian brass ornamentation.
The corners of the lid on this trunk are adorned with sinuous, pierced brass mounts. The lid opens on two hinges, revealing the roughly one foot by two foot interior. A small, lidded till sits in the upper right corner, near the opening of the trunk. On the front edge of the lid, there is another brass embellishment that is centered above a similar lock plate on the frontage. Both sides of the facade are covered in undulating brass attachments. All mounts are affixed to the wood by floral rosettes.
All four sides have shaped bottoms with bracket feet. The side aprons consist of two S-scrolls flanking the bottom of a curled leaf. The back of the trunk is similarly shaped, but without any additional ornamentation. The front apron is also carved in the same style and adorned with a lovely acanthus rinceau that mirrors the flowing form. The sides of the trunk have been fashioned with box joints.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor nicks and wear to surface. No key.