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Rare Antique Charles Roberson Mahogany Locking Artists Colour Watercolour Box (Code 1715)

  • £49500


A rare Charles Roberson art colour box dating to the Victorian period c1860.  The mahogany box is lockable and comes with key, the lock also still works.  The interior retains the Roberson label with some detailed assistance on use and colour mixing.  The top tray with colours lifts out to reveal a ceramic mixing palette below which also has the Roberson mark.  Originally it would have had tablet paints, but of course these are used over time, and it currently has late 19th or early 20th century Reeves ceramic pot colours

Charles Roberson was one of the foremost colourists of the 19th century, and his paints and pigments were used by such luminaries as William Morris, Turner, Whistler, DeMorgan, Walter Crane, Queen Victoria and later by Churchill.  The paint recipes were kept secret and it is believed some are still used today.  This has made his antique sets particularly correctable and sought after today.

A couple of interesting features is the impressed stamp to the top 'Art & Science Department Reward' and the label to the interior base.  There is some suggestion this mark was used on examples given to budding artists by Charles Roberson.  The interior label suggests it was later given as a school prize, perhaps to F.L.Johnson of 1A (pencilled to label) of the Harborne Junior School (in Birmingham, UK).  The box is of course much older, and already around 70 years old when awarded as the art prize, which is an interesting piece of provenance.

Examples of Charles Roberson paints and boxes are kept at various internationally significant museums and collections including the Fitzwilliam, Museum Victoria (Australia) and the Tate, and this is your chance to acquire your own example.



Some damage to label, see images.  Lock and hinges working fine.  Paints are later replacements as usually found.  Ribbon pulls for tray are replacements.  Tube paints are dried and hard.  Some of the thin paint divider wood slats are missing.  Box with usual knocks, indents and marks for period, but sound and nicely polished.

Approx Dimensions

Length: 24 cm ( 9 1/2 inch )

Depth: 9.5 cm ( 3 3/4 inch )

Weight: 632 grams (before packing)

Stock Code:  1715  MY19-2



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