A circular box with a gilt metal body with slightly flared sides and an enamel lid with a steel convex mirror inside. The lid is transfer printed in black on a white ground with an urn with palm sprays crossed beneath, inscribed in arcs above and below with 'I prize the Gift Because I Love the Giver'.
Gallery text panel Harold Raby Collection Harold Raby was charmed by English enamels finding them 'dainty and pretty, quaint and curious'. As a boy, he inherited a tiny, battered enamel box which inspired him to collect over 400 more items during the first half of the 20th century. These enamels were mainly made in Staffordshire and were fashionable from about 1750 to 1820. For Raby, they evoked a lost age of elegance and gave an insight into outmoded social customs. A local bank manager, Raby only had moderate means but he tried to buy examples of every type of object produced by the short-lived English enamel industry. He acquired boxes for face patches, snuff and tobacco, candlesticks, perfume bottles, tea caddies....... He even risked air raids to attend sales in London. Eventually, boxes outnumbered every other item and gave his collection an obsessive quality.
patch box: 1.6cm
Place of creation
Harold Raby bequest
© Manchester Art Gallery