On 10th February 2013 WW suggests that the last two pictures are simply "tastes" and "met", so: -
The the first line upto the hat in line 2 is still not convincingly solved, but we now have: -
?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??
?? TO PURCHASE ALL YOUR BOTTLED SPIRITS, PORTER ETCETERA.
GLORIOUS PLACE FOR MEN CHILDREN AND
LADIES PALATES TO BE SUITED WITH PLAIN AND
FANCY TASTES MET.
IF YOU CAN, PLEASE DO SEND US THE COMPLETE OR A BETTER SOLUTION.
We will even offer more chocolates for a definitive solution!
31st December 2012 the metagrobological history : -
The Box of Chocolates was not claimed before 31st March 2012. The Rebus has been much discussed but the solution remains incomplete. Some people misunderstood thinking that the rebus had been created as a Christmas Greeting. We do not know for what purpose, when, or why it was created.
It is one of two original water-colour rebuses that came from a book-dealer who requested the solutions from us about 5 years ago. We had been unable to solve it hence our sending it out as an Xmas 2011 puzzle. (We may use the other one as a 2012 Xmas Card - It is longer but can hardly be more difficult!)
It seems unlikely that it is just a draft; because it is so well finished and skillfully painted. Maybe it is the final artwork for an advertisement.
Line 1: - Perhaps the first 2 portraits represent something like "Royals" the name of a grocers shop?
The wheel, whetstone, grindstone or what, at the end of line one has also eluded everyone.
Line2:- The hat has always been thought of as Hat/At but never been made sense of.
With hindsight I now believe the Hand-Clock-Era is undoubtedly "etcetera"
The bit of greenery in line 4 is interpreted as a withy for "with" but actually might be Rye or ...?
The last 2 riders on horses with docked tails remain rather speculative with such varied interpretations as hello, farewell, end, greetings, goodbye.
The Five Lines Line by line: -
US- ??? place ??? topping/top in to ?mill/?grind/?whet stone
JF- Royalty (queen & Duke) place you top on to ???
SB- We (royal we, Wellington) are well in town and place you top in ...
US- ??? to purchase all your spirits porter and ???
JF- ??? to purchase all you are importing and to use
SB- and had to purchase all your import
US- ??? ??? house for men children and
JF- ?to make home place for men children and
SB- glorious place for gentlemen children and
US- women's palates to be suited with plain and
JF- women's palates to be ??? with plain and
SB- ladies colours to besuit a ladies ?? plain and fancy tastes
US- fancy biscuits farewell/greetings/welcome
JF- fancy biscuits ?acknowledge
SB- fancy tastes
WW- fancy tastes met
US = Our original attempt over several years prior to sending it as an Xmas puzzle.
JF = John Flower who submitted the earliest and most complete attempt.
SB = Simon Bexfield who won a Mars Bar for spotting "Glorious".
Now try the 2012 rebus