Walker & Hall
English, active 1862–1920
Combined vesta box and coin holder, 1904
1.1 x 7.7 x 3.1 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift from the Estate of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Naylor
Silver, as an indicator of social class, was often the medium used for small luxury items such as vesta boxes, vinaigrettes, snuff boxes, and card cases. Once typical accoutrements of an upper-class gentleman or lady, most have since vanished from daily life, relegated to relative obscurity or collectible status. Vesta matches, first produced in 1833, were highly combustible, requiring their containment within boxes. This particular example marries the vesta box with a coin holder; others combine the match box with whistles or fanciful animal shapes. The maker, Walker & Hall (partners George Walker and Henry Hall), was a silver and electroplate firm in Sheffield, England. Their main showroom was in London, and eventually more rooms opened in several English cities as well as locations in Scotland, Ireland, Australia, and South Africa.