Thomas Griffiths book box playing card casket, North Tamborine,…
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Thomas Griffiths book box playing card casket, North Tamborine, Queensland, circa 1925 inlaid with palm wood, blackbean, Queensland maple, casuarina, ebony, pine and Queensland walnut with original business card 'From Thos. Griffiths. Maker of the celebrated Jewel and Playing Card Caskets (in book form). They are made from Queensland's most beautiful timbers. During the Wembley Exhibition of 1925, their Majesties admired these novel caskets, and the commission presented the King and Queen each with a casket, which they graciously accepted' 24 cm high, 15 cm wide, 6 cm deep

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  • Circa - A Latin term meaning 'about', often used in the antique trade to give an approximate date for the piece, usually considered to be five years on either side of the circa year. Thus, circa 1900 means the piece was made about 1900, probably between 1895 and 1905. The expression is sometimes abbreviated to c.1900.
  • Maple - Maple, native to North America, is a dense heavy timber from light to yellow-brown in colour. It has very little distincive graining unless it is one of the variants such as birds-eye maple or burr maple, so was not used extensively for furniture in 18th and 19th century, where cabinetmakers and designers preferred timbers with more distinctive features such as mahogany, walnut, rosewood and oak.

    Birds-eye maple has a seres of small spots linked by undulating lines in the grain, is highly sough and is used as a decorative veneer. Burr maple has larger and irregular grain swirls than birds-eye maple.
  • Casuarina - Casuarina, is also known as beefwood (because of its appearance) she-oak, swamp oak, river oak, forest oak and Botany Bay wood. It is a native Australian hardwood, red brown in colour with dark flecks.
  • Ebony - Ebony is a close grained timber, black in colour. It has a fine texture which can be polished to a high gloss, making it suitable for venereering, inlay and stringing and its use as solid timber is resticted to small decorative items and ornamental decoration, such as chess pieces and musical instrument parts. The term "ebonised" means "faux ebony", timber that has been darkened during the polishing process to resemble ebony.

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