This elegant antique cotton or thread barrel is carved of ivory and has a beautiful old patina and grain pattern. It has smooth sides and turned bands. The top unscrews from the barrel and inside is a little spool/ spindle which was to be wrapped with thread. There's a hole in the side to feed the thread through and the knob on top winds in the thread. The condition is excellent with no chips, cracks or other damage.
It would have graced an English workbox of the early 19th century. It measures 1 5/8" high by almost 1" in diameter. Some are shown on p. 44 of Nerylla Taunton's "Antique Needlework Tools and Embroideries" and she also shows the style of workbox it would have been part of.