Historical information

Dressing tables (also known as Vanity Tables in the U.S.A.) have been around since the beginning of the seventeenth century, however it wasn't until the early to mid 20th century that they began to be found in the homes of the middle class and they were often a matching part of a bedroom suite.
Dressing tables often featured a variety of objects such as combs, brushes, hand mirrors, perfume bottles, cosmetics, nail buffers, ring holders, jewellery and trinket boxes and trays.

The origins of this tray are unknown however its design is reminiscent of trays (and Dressing Table Sets) produced by two English firms in the mid 20th century - "Delina" and "Regent of London". A paper (written by the Warwickshire Industrial Archeology Society) notes that the products items produced by "Regent of London" in the 1940's "satisfied a demand for previously unattainable items, offered to the general public aching for change after wartime privations, post war austerity and years of having to 'make do and mend'."

This tray is composed of several decorative elements and materials. The metal border is gilt brass with two filigree bow handles, the main part of the tray is two pieces of circular glass and the encased doily is a mix of embroidered net and petit point. It was suggested in the paper written by the Warwickshire Industrial Archeological Society that the different pieces would have probably been produced elsewhere and brought to the factory to be assembled into the finished product.


This vanity or dressing table tray is significant as it is a rare example of an accessory available to and used by women in the mid 20th century. It is also significant as an example of an everyday household item which would have been a valued possession and was made in a style that reflected the importance placed on it to be decorative as well as functional.

Physical description

Round footed dressing table tray with a gilt brass border, filigree bow handles and an embroidered net and petit point doily encased in glass. The gilt border is decorated with a stylized leaf design on the side and a floral design on the top. The petit point embroidery in the center is of five flowers in pink, mauve and yellow surrounded by buds and leaves.