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Three Colonial Indian Silver Desk Boxes by Hamilton & Co.

Calcutta, India
circa 1820

length of pen box: 18cm, width: 3.2cm, height: 2.6cm, weight: 202g; length of other rectangular box: 9.3cm, width: 4.6cm, height: 3.5cm, weight: 159g; height of cylindrical box: 3.6cm, diameter: 2.5cm, weight: 32g; combined weight: 393g



UK art market

These three boxes would have been part of a bigger set either for the desk or as part of a gentleman’s travelling kit. Nowadays, the items would most compliment a desktop to be used as a pen box and small desk tidies.

The lid of each is very finely engraved with a family crest. The underside of the base of each is stamped with three marks typical of Hamilton & Co. silver – the ‘H&Co.’ mark, an elephant, and the capital letter ‘A’.

Hamilton & Co. was founded in Calcutta around 1815. The style of the boxes here suggests that they were made around 1820.

The walls of each are unusually thick, so that each piece is surprisingly heavy in the hand. Each lid fits well. The set is free of dents or repairs. Overall, the three boxes are early and high quality examples of Colonial Indian silverwork.


Wilkinson, W.R.T., Indian Silver 1858-1947,1999.

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