Saying it with flowers!

The equivalent of "saying it with flowers" during the Georgian period was the gift of a snuff box and snuff shoe boxes were very popular.

Cobbler apprentices were thought to make them as passing out pieces but this wouldn't account for all snuff shoe boxes that can be found today.

The two snuff shoes featured below are both Prisoner of War snuff shoes, near identical images are featured in the book, Prisoners of War 1756-1816 by Clive Lloyd. Many of these examples were made by prisoners in Sissinghurst castle during the late 1700s. They would be sold by the Prisoners of War at the markets surrounding the prisons to local people. Some were made to order. The example with the bone heart and diamond would have been a love tokem. These can also be found as a double shoe probably made for a marriage. The other example is carved with leaves and a buckle.Both shoes have the wire hinge typical in this type of snuff box.

Shoes have had a long association with luck, love and marriage going back to the Bible, shoes on wedding cakes, throwing old footwear after the bride and groom as they leave the church, tying shoes behind carriages, which still continues to date behind cars.

These wooden snuff shoe boxes tended to follow the fashion of shoes of the day.

The square toed snuff box shoes tended to date from the early 1800s whilst the high buttoned or laced female boots were Victorian.

The antique snuff shoes with brass pique work on the lids with maybe a date, initials or very unusually a place name are sort after.

The Mahogany snuff shoe above has the word LONDON in brass pique work to the lid which is very unusual, along with brass buttons and brass pique work to the sole.Note the square toe dating it to the early part of the 1800s.

This example looks quite simple but in fact is beautifully made with a small amount of brass pique work for the buttons, seams, sole it also has a bone inlaid diamond, another token of love. What I really like about this snuff shoe is the well thought added feature on the lid of a raised square this really helps to open the lid.

Sometimes solid wooden shoes were made, this pair photographed below were probably made as a marriage token, carved from a solid piece of wood and decorated with button holes and crosses on both sides of the shoes. Crosses were used to ward off witchcraft and evil spirits. They were hung near doors or chimneys as protection against any evil spirits.



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We first became involved in Antique Treen and furniture some twenty five years ago and since then a passion for Treen, small wooden snuff boxes and decorative wooden items has developed into Opus Antiques.

This web site shows only a  small selection of our current stock for sale, if you are looking for something you don't see, please contact us.


We are also interested in buying Antique Treen items. As well as using our Contact page, you can also email or telephone us on 07941 285532


The word Treen is derived from the word tree and is a term used to describe wooden household objects, all turned from one piece of wood e.g. a bowl, plate, gingerbread mould, and spoons, always having a function.

Nowadays when we talk about Antique Treen it tends to cover all small wooden items including antique snuff boxes, candle stands, spice towers, etc. often made from several pieces of turned wood.


When a piece of wood has been painstakingly turned or carved, handled, polished and loved over a few hundred years old, it can develop a wonderful colour and patina and becomes an irresistible piece of Antique Treen.

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Address: Bath, Somerset       Contact Telephone: 07941 285532       Email: