These small Souveniers of the 19th and early 20th century are to be found everywhere from smart antiques shops to boot markets. The variation and the production of the little wooden items was prodigious.
Started in the mid 19th century by W and A Smith in Mauchline Ayrshire, the pieces are made from pale wood them decorated with monochrome transfers of places all over the world to be purchased as a souvenier of a visit.
These modest little items were exported to locations as far away as Australia and the United States, many making the return trip to the UK with keen travellers. Here at Top Banana we have a piece from the home of Washington in the US, one from upstate New York, one of the 'Hotel de Ville de Calais as well as several from the UK.
The objects took many forms, not only boxes but letter openers, watch stands, and needle cases being just a few.
By the 1860's the factory was employing up to 400 hundred people to keep up production, declining only in the 1930's.
Mauchline was not only famous for the production of souvenier ware but was the home of Robert Burns. One of the items illustrated features a picture of 'Burn's Cottage' and proudly proclaims 'made of wood from the land of Burns' 'Bought in Burn's Cottage'.
Mauchline ware is now quite a collecting subject and the more locations illustrated can fetch quite respectable figures.