1800s Writing Slope - Color Sergeant WIlliam Berry

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    2005: Last week I bought this Writing Slope as a present to myself for finishing the book project which I've been working on since the beginning of the year.
    When i got it, it was completely black, covered with dirt and muck! I could feel metallic bits with my fingers, so I spent a few days cleaning it up ... lo and behold, this is what i found! A wooden writing slope with brass, silver and ivory decorations. The silver rectangular bits bear an inscription that says that the writing slope was presented to a "Color Sergeant William Berry, 1st battalion 14th regiment" as "a slight mark of the respect and esteem in which he was held".
    It is not dated but his regiment and battalion date between 1795 and 1860.

    The brown parts of the slope are wood. The large rectangular plates are silver. The long strips and diamond shapes are ivory. The round pieces are a mixture of brass, copper and iron.
    The long rounded piece on the right hand side flips up, and then the other section flips the other way, like opening a book ... to reveal a felted writing surface. Inside, are also a compartment to keep paper, pens, a ruler and two ink bottles.

    2010 Research Update: I have found WIlliam Berry! He was born 1829 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England. He served in the 1st Battalion 14th Regiment (commonly known as the Buckinghamshire regiment) for 25 years, in Malta, the Ionian Isles and in the West Indies. He retired from his West Indies post in 1868, returning to England with his wife and two sons. This writing slope was a gift to him by his fellow officers and friends. William was 5'7" tall, had hazel eyes and dark brown hair. By all accounts, he was a very well liked fellow.
    Re: Color Sergeants - Historically, Colour Sergeants of British line regiments protected Ensigns, the most junior officers who were responsible for carrying their battalions' Colours (flag or insignia) to rally troops in battles. For this reason the Colour Sergeant rank was considered a prestigious one given normally to courageous Sergeants who had attained accomplishments in battles.

    shivanayak, lecercle, and 8 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. shivanayak 107 months ago | reply

      so rich is this..

    2. CellarDoor 107 months ago | reply

      classy!..it's so big..must be heavy.

    3. Celeste33 107 months ago | reply

      Yes, I think it's lovely too.

      Actually, it's not very big or heavy.
      It's about 33cm across (13 inches).
      I imagine that people used writing slopes when they were travelling and didn't have a desk ... it's not heavy. It was really dirty when I got it ... I imagine that he must have have been carting around the country with him, lol.

    4. Sun from Europe 96 months ago | reply

      That's great thing! :)

    5. maureen18 88 months ago | reply

      Very interesting What a find.
      I'm into Family History /Genealogy. I got hooked about 5 years ago.

    6. Celeste33 88 months ago | reply

      I'm hooked too :)

      Everyone who sees this writing slope finds it fascinating but when I contacted the family of the man that I thought it might have belonged to (William Berry) (I found them on a family tree website) they didn't seem very interested. I find that quite bizarre ...

    7. maureen18 88 months ago | reply

      I always love things antique.
      I watch the Antique roadshow whenever i get the time.
      I'm fascinated with the old books, postcards and anyhing to do with writing.

    8. happydancer4 78 months ago | reply

      Gorgeous! Thanks for the history, too.

    9. kadhine - Hi friends! 57 months ago | reply

      Wow, this is beautiful! I want a writing slope for myself, it doesn't have to be anitque, just well made, but they are so hard to come by!

    10. Celeste33 57 months ago | reply

      Yes, very hard to come by and much sought after!

    11. IDHOME Antiques 53 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Antique Boxes, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    12. IDHOME Antiques 52 months ago | reply

      Celeste, if you ever want to sell this box then please let me know. Please also send me details of any other interesting boxes that you see! Thanks Nick

    13. estilar1 48 months ago | reply

      Hermosa pieza, pronto subire algo de mi colección. Me podrás dar una idea del precio pagado? Agradecido!!
      (Great piece!. I 'll add some box I have in my collection. Could yoy give an idea about the price you have paid? Thanks )

    14. Celeste33 46 months ago | reply

      I paid $100 australian dollars for it on eBay in 2005. I was the only person who bid on it and when i got the box, it was covered with a thick payer of black dirt, so that it looked completely black and we could not see the metal bits at all.

    15. Celeste33 43 months ago | reply

      Update! I have found William Berry, the original owner of the writing slope!
      Details in item description at the top :)

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