Rowland Ward, Piccadilly, Custom Made Elephant / Rhino Hide Box, c.1930s.

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A Rowland Ward, Piccadilly, box bound in elephant or rhino skin. The box bears Rowland Ward plaque to the interior. The lock bears the name 'F. Rest, Maker' with addresses '64A S. Audley Street' (Mayfair), and '199 Sloane Street'. 

James Rowland Ward is regarded by many as the finest British historical taxidermist of his time. Rowland Ward was born in 1847 and was the eminent English naturalist and specialist in big game, who was primarily responsible for the firm's worldwide renown. He died in 1912, but his company has a long and prestigious history and remained for many years the market leader and finest British taxidermy firm in the world.

In the 1930s, Rowland Ward developed a treatment for rhino skins which turned them into semi-opaque material that could be polished, creating a very thick slightly flexible plastic like material, orange in colour. An expert in Rowland Ward pieces has concluded that this is the technique used for the binding of this box. 

The box itself is not featured in any Rowland Ward catalogues and as such, it is thought to be a custom made piece for travelling, c.1930s. Another has never been seen, nor is there any suggestion (eg. in advertisements) that wooden boxes could be modified in this way by Rowland Ward Ltd. Making this a one-of-a-kind piece. 

The box is substantial, weighing 2.1kg. 

Length - 25cm
Width - 17.5cm
Height - 11.5cm