The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Tooth pick case
  • Tooth pick case
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • England, probably London
  • c. 1800
  • Ivory, gold, velvet and mirror glass
  • Object size: 1.2 x 8.9 x 3 cm
    Weight: 48 g
  • G73
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Boxes containing mirrors are frequently referred to as patch boxes but the elongated shape of this box indicates that it was intended to contain toothpicks. A mirror would be equally useful when picking one’s teeth as it would be in the application of patches.
    The use of ivory, with its simulated plaited decoration, is especially appropriate for a tooth-pick case, and it probably contained ivory sticks for use as toothpicks. The base is a plain sheet of ivory attached to the metal carcass by a gold mount.
    The low standard of the gold used in the decoration (approximately 15 carat) is more typical of pieces made after 1854 when such a standard became permissible in Britain; however, stylistically the piece is more likely to be of an earlier date.