The mull of naturalistic form with richly gnarled lid, the verso
with a three quarter integral hinge
opening to an inscribed interior :
George Sinclair of Bonnington was apparently the son of Archibald Sinclair,
uncle to Woburn's George Sinclair (1786–1834), as described below.
Archibald was the head gardener at the Bonnington Estate,
as was his son George - the maker of this box.
George was born about 1811 and can be found at the Bonnington Estate
in the census from 1851 to 1881, which also lists "Occupation wood turner".
He died there in Feb 1887.
“Burrs are shallow excrescences, sometimes of large
circumference, which occur on many trees,
most commonly at the junction of the trunk with the ground or
They are caused by a number of small shoots which are unable to
break out, and form an interwoven,
contorted but unusually stable mass.
Burrs of certain species are highly ornamental,
and greatly valued for veneers, snuff boxes, shallow drinking
Condition : Excellent; the lid retaining good detail and patination;
lid and hinge with a tight fit; interior inscription clear
PRICE : PLEASE INQUIRE
SINCLAIR, GEORGE (1786–1834),
botanical writer, was born in 1786 at Mellerstain in Berwickshire,
and was descended from a Scots family
which had long been devoted to
gardening. His father, Duncan Sinclair (1750–1833),
was gardener to the Hon. G. Baillie of
Jerviswood. His uncle was superintendent of the grounds, gardens,
and farms at Bonnington(near
Lanark) until his death in 1833. George Sinclair continued in the
becoming gardener to the 6th Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire (1807-25).
instructions of the Duke of Bedford, and under the direction of Sir
Humphry Davy, George Sinclair conducted an extensive series of
experiments, the results of which were embodied in the costly folio,
‘Hortus Gramineus Woburnensis', or an account of the results
of Experiments on the Produce and Nutritive Qualities of
different Grasses and other Plants used as the Food of the more
valuable Domestic Animals,’ London, 1816.
In Gardener’s Magazine, Sinclair’s Hortus gramineus … is
described as the most important work of its kind ever published; he
"will hold a conspicuous station in all future times, as the
introducer of a new and improved system of laying down lands in
grass." Throughout the 19th century it continued to be cited as a
valuable reference in the cultivation of grass. In another obituary,
published in the Quarterly Journal of Agriculture, G.W.
Johnson wrote that Sinclair "must be classed amongst the great
modern benefactors of agriculture.”
In On the Origin of Species Darwin wrote, “It has
been experimentally proved that if a plot of ground be sown with one
species of grass, and a similar plot be sown with several distinct
genera of grasses, a greater number of plants and a greater weight
of dry herbage can thus be raised.” He was referring to the
experiments conducted by Sinclair at Woburn Abbey.