French Napoleonic POW Box


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French napoleonic prisoner of war box circa 1790-1810. The box regular in shape with delicately crafted panels, hand made hinges and lock decorated extensively with straw work marquetry. Likely to have been made in England by prisoners of war within the Dartmoor Norman Cross. This box is particularly interesting due to the start crest across the centre unusually this brings a representation not usually seen on POW boxes. The rest of the box decorated with bow style ribbon decoration to each side.

Lot Notes: Norman Cross Prison (1797-1814) were the world’s first purpose-built prisoner of war camps or “depots” built during the Napoleonic Wars by the Navy.

The first ever ‘Norman Cross’ was located near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Traditionally in Huntingdonshire, it gave its name to a hundred and, from 1894 to 1974, the Normal Cross Rural District. The junction of the A1 and A15 roads is here. Prisoners were at full liberty to exercise their industry and crafted artefacts such as toys, models and games made from wood or animal bone with straw marquetry of which they were permitted to sell at local markets twice a week or at the prison gates daily. Pieces from the depot can be viewed in museums locally including Peterborough museum and a collection of model ships at Arlington Court in Devon.

For further information please see an online e-book titled The Depot for Prisoners of War at Norman Cross Huntingdonshire 1796 to 1816.

Condition: Good, some losses and ware throughout. Cosmetic issues all consistent with the age. Lid is slightly warped thus does not quite shut properly within a centimetre . No key and lock untested.

Measurements: 36.5cm Wide x 23.5cm Deep x 16cm High