What is Bilston enamel

September 28, 2020

What is Bilston enamel

Where is Bilston, its in the West Midlands near Wolverhampton, an area known as the black country, and the production hub of the UK yes really at this time in the world. Birmingham and the black country were producers of most of the worlds fine goods, including silver, gold jewellery, guns and many other fine articles. Cast iron was invented in Telford, Shropshire with Thomas Telford's Ironbirdge proving cast iron was a viable strong versatile material to use for a myriad of uses.

Bilston enamel was started in 1760, and used the local iron workers to make the boxes. Then Bilston added the pretty enamel decoration making every day items into an item looking far more than a utilitarian item. Bilston started by making candlesticks and desk stands to emulate like Battersea enamel who started a little before in 1753, Chelsea and Meissen and other fine china.

In the eighteenth century snuff taking was popular, snuff for those of you who don't know is a kind of tobacco derivative often flavoured inhaled through the nose "a pinch of snuff " and the other popular activity was patches, these were black paper dots used to be applied as beauty spots to men and woman's faces hence why a patch box has a mirror inside the lid to apply your patch.

Often due to the age, the mirror made from mercury gilded glass tend to be blown or very foxed however as long as present wont affect the value of the box neither will the odd chip to enamel . 

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