Rare Antique Palais Royal Sewing Box, 11" Harpsichord, Grand Piano
Here is one of the most magnificent antique French 1st Empire sewing boxes we've had the pleasure to offer and this week we're lucky enough to offer TWO (sold separately). Each in the form of a piano, this one shaped more like a grand or harpsichord and the other actually closely resembles a clavichord. Both exquisite Palais Royal sewing boxes sans tools (or mostly so), both also fall into the category of miniature furniture which opens up the allure to several types of collectors....whether you're looking for opulent doll or doll house accents, salesman sample sized works or strictly Palais Royal sewing treasures. Originally, the lift out tray would have been filled with mother of pearl, sterling silver vermeil and/or gold sewing implements, some surely with the little enamel pansy, a hallmark of Palais Royal. This one is of very substantial size, and even without the sewing implements, which have likely been lost or sold off one by one, it is a splendid treasure. It retains the music box mechanism, which does play beautifully but is not activated by the opening and/or closing of the lid (we'll add a sound file link in text at the bottom of our listing). The box is, as said, larger than average and makes quite an impression on tabletop or in display vitrine. Lift-out tray, sans sewing implements, is in fine condition. The piping and metallic embroidery is somewhat tattered but one knows it would have been stunning! The old original mirror remains in fine condition within its place in the lid. A great project to take on (if you decide to replace the implements, glorious otherwise), these are worth upwards of $10,000 if complete. We loved it just as it is, however, and hope someone of you collectors will take it on as a labor of love - or simply to enjoy as it is. Splendid!
Anyone not familiar with the Palais Royal sewing boxes and vanity boxes, or just with the history and charm of items from the shops of Paris's historic Palais Royal, please enjoy spending a bit of time researching it on the internet. Far too much info for me to add here. Suffice to say, the items from that most elegant early 'shopping mall' of sorts, built in the promenades of the old Richelieu Palace that flanks the Louvre in Paris, remain most highly sought after - glass and china; finest French sterling silver; dressing boxes; sewing boxes and items; the most splendid trinkets and jewelry for hundreds of years. A rich and opulent history, well worth your time to read.
Very good condition. As mentioned, most of the tools are missing and there is some damage to the metallic thread embroidery on the fitted tray. The pearl implement that is there has a break in one side panel, the perfume bottle and thimble are of the same age but not original. No missing keys or inlay, one ball foot has been replaced on one of the turned legs. The music box works but does not activate when the lid is opened and is currently missing the key (we'll see if we have one that will work). Finally, there is a restoration to the wood just above one hinge, visible on the back side of the piece. See pictures for measurements.