It almost certainly hails from the south German city of Augsburg, where craftsmen specialised in the making of luxury table cabinets intended for the storage of small, precious objects from exotic shells to commemorative medals.
Most were decorated to top, front, back, sides and interior surfaces with intricate sycamore and fruitwood marquetry scenes and ornament drawn from contemporary German prints.
This particular box, measuring 19in (48cm) across, carries a scene of a lion being slayed and other characterful vignettes of flora and fauna.
It was included in Fonsie Mealy’s March 5 on-site sale of the contents of a house in Oxmantown Mall, Birr, Co Offaly, although in fact came by descent from a former owner of another of Ireland’s finest addresses: the Castletown Cox estate in Co Kilkenny.
The house, designed on Palladian lines in 1767 for the Protestant Archbishop of Cashel Michael Cox with rococo plasterwork by famed stuccodore Patrick Osborne of Waterford, was sold last year.
The box attracted international admirers at its estimate of €1500-2000, ultimately selling at €36,000/£32,000, plus 20% buyer’s premium.