Marquetry jewelry box, the beginning

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Blog entry by Longcase posted 09-22-2014 04:11 AM 3148 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few years ago while on vacation in England I bought 5 original marquetry drawings at an auction, they had come from the Gillows furniture company dated from 1910 to 1926. All of the drawing are of classical design but one in particular caught my eye, and I knew that this would make a great box lid. As the original drawing was about 9”x12” that determined the size of the jewelry box.
Here a pic of one of the marquetry panels ready to be glued down

I used the classic method of cutting , finishing with three panels.

The original drawing for this panel is dated Jan 1924 with the words WTG Liverpool No 2 car, the reference to a No2 car had me wondering if it was made for a railway car, I did lots of searching on the net to no avail.
Last year while back in England we went to one of the many wonderful preserved steam railway lines, while looking around the book store found a book on Pullman carriages written by Antony M Ford, Although I could not find any reference to my drawing in the book ,quite a few marquetry panels in the carriages looked similar.
After returning to Canada I got in contact with the writer of the books Antony M Ford and sent him a copy of my drawing, He confirmed that is was from the Pullman Carriage, “Marjorie” that was built in 1924. He also sent me a copy of his new book that actually included an interior picture of the carriage, on the wall is the”Gillows” marquetry panel made from my drawing, it is located at the side of the door and on the other side is a panel that is very similar but different, so if anyone has a copy of this one I would be most interested. The book also notes that the carriage was scrapped in 1964 and the marquetry panels were for sale from 10 shilling .

Back to the box,

Now the dimensions were set I proceeded to build the boxes, all the corners have secret mitre joints and you will also notice the spring that will push out the secret drawer.

Here is a pic of the box put together but not glued up yet.

I have been working on these boxes for over a year now on and off, I will post some pics of the front/back and side marquetry panels in the next posting.

All the best

10 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3243 posts in 3769 days

#1 posted 09-22-2014 05:09 AM


The marquetry looks wonderful. What an exciting find!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View shipwright's profile


8006 posts in 2854 days

#2 posted 09-22-2014 05:54 AM

I like the drawing and the history really adds to the interest.
Well done on the box as well. I did my first full blind dovetails last winter and while they came out fine, they weren’t as clean as yours.
Nice work, I’ll be watching for the next segment.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 3886 days

#3 posted 09-22-2014 01:40 PM

Awesome project Keith and great story. I applaud your diligence on tracking down the history. Great work on the marquetry, and the full blind dovetails. Love the shading too!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View helluvawreck's profile


31749 posts in 2923 days

#4 posted 09-22-2014 02:26 PM

Wow! Beautiful work. Congratulations and welcome to Lumberjocks.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View bbrown's profile


230 posts in 3609 days

#5 posted 09-22-2014 03:03 PM

What a fascinating story. Thanks for sharing with us. I’ll be following along as well.

I’d like to see more photos and description of the secret drawer – I’m not clear how it works. I use lot of secret compartments in my furniture and am always interested in these things.


-- Bill Micah 6:8

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3390 days

#6 posted 09-23-2014 09:08 AM

Excellent marquetry work Keith and with a very interesting background story to boot. The hidden dovetails look great too and I can appreciate that doing them so well makes for an interesting challenge.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View JoeMcGlynn's profile


219 posts in 2410 days

#7 posted 09-23-2014 01:18 PM

Great looking project, and really interesting history on the original drawings.

How does the drawer latch / unlatch? I really like the idea of a secret drawer in a special box like this.

-- Blog:

View Longcase's profile


97 posts in 1503 days

#8 posted 09-23-2014 11:41 PM

Thanks for the kind comments, I will post photos of the secret drawer in a future blog.
All the best

View tomd's profile


2160 posts in 3827 days

#9 posted 09-25-2014 04:48 AM

Terrific marquetry, love the panels. Interesting history. Can’t wait to see the finished box.

-- Tom D

View madburg's profile


207 posts in 899 days

#10 posted 10-23-2016 07:13 AM

Good to read the background to the designs now that I’ve seen the finished boxes and exceptional marquetry panels. It’s always good to hear where some one’s inspiration came from. By classical method of cutting, do you mean ‘stack’ cutting a packet of 12 veneers (may be more), which then gave you the three panels from one lot of sawing?

-- Madburg WA

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