The Brass-Bound Buggery Box


Commissioned in 1725 by Peter the Great, this superb box was a gift to the Danish sailor Vitus Bering before he set out on his historic voyage to prove that Siberia and America were not joined by land. The channel between the two countries was named after him.

The quality of work on this superb box has never been in question. It is a fine example of boulle work, a style named after Andre Charles Boulle, a French cabinetmaker to Louis XIV. As afficionados of the furniture trade will know, every piece of boulle work had a counter-boulle at some stage in its life, a piece identical in every way except that the inlaid and intermingled patterns are opposite to one another.

Tragically, during the prigory of the Victorian age, the counter boulle buggery box was dismantled and made into smaller pieces such as writing slopes and inlaid jewellery boxes. The 10th Earl, however, had the erotic collection boxed up and locked away in a secure part of the attics above the Indigo Library. Had he not, this magnificent accoutrament would probably have met the same fate.

Let us dwell on the famous lines of the poem which probably inspired this fantastic piece of furniture.

"Take these boys away, they split
Bring me my Brass-Bound Buggery Box!"

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