George III pink enamel patch box, the cover with a transfer print "A Present from the Iron Bridge" The mirror is intact but the body is chipped as seen in the photo.
England c. 1790
Condition: Fair condition. The base is chipped with an associated crack, as seen in the photos.
Travelers and tourists in the 18th and early 19th centuries purchased small boxes like this one as souvenirs or gifts. Whereas today we might buy coffee mugs or ball caps, these tokens contained beauty marks or patches, which necessitated the little mirror.
The opening of the Iron Bridge in 1781 marked a major technological achievement. Its 100' span across the River Severn at Coalbrookdale was the first major bridge built of cast iron, ushering in a new era of construction and engineering. News of the opening swept England and the Iron Bridge attracted thousands of visitors, many from overseas, giving rise to the market for souvenirs like this one.
The Iron Bridge still stands today, open only to foot traffic. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.