1770 - 1820 Antique French Necessaire, Mother of Pearl Etui - Palais Royal 'D'Amitie' Carnet du Bal
A tiny companion tucked in the folds and pockets of one's gown, essential for keeping social engagements, notations of appointments or caller's address, the little item you see here is a splendid example of the famed French 'necessaire' - sleeves of thin wafer hinged to comprise a notepad of sorts, then tucked inside a beautifully appointed case whose only purpose is to hold the ivory sleeves. The epitome of excess that led to the French Revolution is, essentially, found here in metaphor. These date to the era of French Revolution, as well, and would have been owned by ladies of the court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, both of whom lost their heads over such excesses. What might well have been noted on simple paper, the extra cost well spent on feeding the masses of starving French, went instead to baubles of this type, little gifts of friendship and love that passed through hands of history we'll never identify, and noted clandestine meetings between lovers who may well have later lost all fortune, perhaps even their lives. Frivolous tiny treasures - imagine. Wonderful to collect now, and wouldn't we like to hear it tell its story! Don't miss this complete and original piece.
Very good to excellent condition, age and type considered. None of the shaped mother of pearl veneer is missing or chipped or cracked. The silver foil inlaying the engraved parts of the shell do suffer some losses, as noted in our images, but very little over time. The wafer notepad is original to the etui, fits perfectly and is unbroken, no cracks or losses. Three leaves/wafers in all, well hinged. A magnificent bit of history!