Dressing Case and Fittings. Made by Asprey & Son, 1875. Gift of Danny J. H. Kauffman. 1984-133-1-a/i.

Fashionable cases fit for travel

Accessories were an important component of the well-traveled, and a number of travel cases in the collection exemplify the extent to which designers, and their patrons, celebrated their adventures and flaunted their status. Travel cases, made by companies such as Asprey & Son, became fashionable during the eighteenth century, when the Grand Tour was an essential part of a young man’s education. As travel became easier during the course of the nineteenth century, the popularity of stylish travel cases grew. Thus, a kind of combined traveling and dressing case evolved, often fitted with small safes and a writing desk.

This example from the collection is made of rosewood, with brass and mother-of-pearl embellishments. Silk fabric and leather line the inside of the case. The lid opens to reveal a tray with silver handles filled with cut-glass bottles and boxes with silver tops along with silver instruments. A gilt-leather-framed mirror fits inside the lid. When the lid is opened the effect of a miniature dressing table is created. There is a lockable drawer in the bottom for valuables such as jewelry.

Museum Number: 
1984-133-1-a/i