Walnut Lady’s Dressing Case with hallmarked Silver tops (1872)

Price: £1450
Stock No. 1228/2022/QSA


A fine quality mid-late 19th century Walnut cased Lady’s Dressing Box made by the famous London maker John Joseph Mechi of 112 Regent Street, London. With twelve hallmarked silver topped bottles and dishes. Each lid sports a blank rosette shaped cartouche to the centre, and is hallmarked for London, 1872, by maker James Vickery.

The well figured Walnut lid with its blank oval cartouche opens to reveal the twelve silver-topped bottles and dishes neatly housed in their own sections, surrounding a central blue-velvet holder for the six mother-of-pearl handled tools and a pair of scissors (replaced). Inside the lid is a ruched blue velvet panel edged in gilded leather. A secret button to the top releases the reversible panel, with a mirror on the reverse. The mirror can be relocated facing outwards. Behind the panel is an embossed leather letter wallet, all in exceptionally good original condition.

The tool section lifts out to reveal a further silk lined storage space underneath. The whole 3/4 tray (incorporating 5 bottles/dishes and the tool tray) lifts out by means of the two brass handles, to reveal a further mahogany-lined mid level storage space. The ornate brass Bramah patented lock is original but the key is missing.

To the rear of the upper section is a press button, which when pressed, triggers a spring release, revealing a lower secret mahogany lined drawer set out in sections in blue velvet with gilded edges. The makers silver tab (Mechi) can be found on the front edge of this drawer.

Dimensions:  w: 30.2cm. d: 22cm. h: 17cm

Dated: 1872


The silversmith James Vickery was known to work between 1851-1890 and moved his business three times during that period, starting at 4 Woodbridge Street, Clerkenwell. Then 20 King Square, Goswell Road (1855) and finally 11 Lavers Road, Stoke Newington (1880).

John Joseph Mechi was born in London in 1802. In 1827 Mechi started his own business as a cutler from 130 Leadenhall Street in the City of London. In 1830, he moved to a larger premises at 4 Leadenhall Street. Whilst Mechi manufactured a vast array of necessities and luxury items, his Magic Strop (an instrument to maintain and sharpen cutthroat razors) is what made him extremely wealthy. Through his membership of the Society of Arts, Mechi became a juror for the art and science department at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1855. Although his duties precluded him from competing for awards at the Great Exhibition, Mechi displayed an assortment of his wares to great fanfare, including dressing / writing cases and work boxes. In 1856, Mechi was appointed a Sheriff of the City of London. Moving up a rung on the political ladder, he was elected as Alderman of Lime Street Ward, City of London in 1858. Mechi displayed a selection of his dressing cases, despatch boxes and writing table sets at the International Exhibition of 1862. In 1865, the 4 Leadenhall Street location was closed and the business moved to 112 Regent Street. He died on the 14th December 1880.