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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Prison-Made Antiques
by John R. Harper

(Article orginally published December 1928 by The Antiquarian)

Among the many curios of a romantic flavor which occasionally find their way to this country are rare specimens of the handiwork of French soldiers who were imprisoned in England during the early part of the last century. Little wooden boxes covered with intricate designs in colored straw, metal boxes with glass tops decorated with old prints, ship models carved from bone, not only tell an interesting story but are worth collecting in themselves becuase of their artistic conception and perfection in detail. Some of these prisoners were perhaps clever artizans who had followed the woodcarver's trade in time of peace. Others-hardened campaigners, whose powder stained fingers itched for the musket-found solace for their long hours of captivity in learning the more delicate tricks of the chisel and the saw. For time was now their chief enemy, and they sought to kill him with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on. To the poetically-minded collector, these beautiful rewards of their victory are as truly medals of warfare as those secured by their more fortunate comrades upon the battlefield.

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