Fine English brass and agate writing box second half 19th century
Gothic strap adorned by agate cabochons binding domed and sloped brass-clad case, with top opening to reveal pen rest flanked by ink bottles, over fall-front velvet-covered slope; marked: Howell James & Co.
H4 3/4" W10" D7 7/8"
Other Notes: Makers were jewelers and silversmiths of Regent Street, London. Founded as silk merchants and retail jewelers, they rapidly expanded, employing over 100 staff by 1865. Noted for their variety and quality of stock, including items by designers and students of the South Kensington School, they exhibited in London in 1851 and 1862; in Paris in 1867; and at London in 1871 and 1872 when they showed jewelery by C.L. Eastlake, M.D. Wyatt, F. Leighton, and L.F. Day. From 1876, Howell, James & Co. held a series of popular exhibitions of ceramics painted by amateurs. The company's 1878 Paris Exhibition stand was designed by L.F. Day, who also contributed designs for Aesthetic Movement clocks along with the architect Thomas Harris. The firm stocked silver goods by J. Dixon & Co., Dresser's Linthorpe Pottery and Brannam Pottery from 1880 to 1889, when their employee, J. Llewellyn, moved to Liberty & Co. taking exclusive selling rights with him. The premises were reconstructed in 1881 incorporating art pottery galleries, where they held an exhibition of architectural faience made by Burmantofts to M. B. Adams designs.