Mauchline what is it

January 23, 2021

Mauchline what is it

Firstly its a small town in South Ayrshire, which a bit like Stilton, Cheddar or Honiton lace, gave its name to a particular type of treen wooden boxes, frames and souvenirs.

James Sandy started making fine quality boxes, games compendium and fine cigar & snuff boxes, in the early 19th century he lived 1768-1819. He invented the enclosed hinge, a type of interlocking engineered hinge that worked on a spindle offering strength and longevity. These items were decorated with pen work or painted designs of the highest quality often with the owners crest and made to order, often marked with the name Stiven.

So as with all thing the Victorians inventors of almost everything including mass production, also through the increased wealth of the middle classes etc invented mass tourism, I grant you the super rich did the grand tour in the late 18th & early 19th century, but mostly men and then limited to only a tiny proportion of society. Aided by the trains, tourism especially day trips became popular, and in common with most visitors people like a memento or souvenir of where they has been, plus these item made great presents and of course in turn great items to collect.

In 1880s the town of Mauchline in South Ayrshire gave its name to normally fairly small items such as boxes, frames needle cases, nib boxes, stamp boxes etc. Made from sycamore a strong light wood, that with the addition of a transfer or paint made a useful and collectable item.

Like all manufacturers Smiths of Mauchline made items that people wanted, making items in Tartan with the clan named, made popular by Victoria's love of all things Scottish. Fern ware collecting ferns was a massive Victorian pastime, the souvenir ware with a transfer of a local monument or castle normally with a name written on, or later on in attempt to be commercial with the times a smart black lacquer to keep up with the growing aesthetic movement with a love of all thing Japanese.

These make great things to collect whilst in last 15 years or so fallen a bit out of fashion, the rarer items such as a fishing reel, train, novelty items still sell well and as in the last year the antiques business has really turned the corner after 20 years of minimalism, collecting is defiantly coming back into fashion giving a new life to these well made little gems.

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