From the largest trunk-sized travel compendiums that traveled along with Royals as they moved from palace to palace, completely fitted with every conceivable necessity for luxurious living en route, to the tiniest little vest pocket etui of barest essentials like ear wax spoons and button hooks, the French seem to have topped the market over the centuries when it comes to fitting out the traveler. Sold through the shops of the old Palais Royal (former residence of Cardinal Richelieu) and ranging from the simple elegance of function for a military officer or soldier, to the expanded opulence of sterling silver teapots and Sevres dining china - the range and intricacy employed in these travel 'kits' astounds. Here we have a very dainty vest pocket etui, dating to 1700s, made of natural shell and silver, fitted interior retaining 4 of its 5 original travel tools, and exterior retaining some if not all of the 22K gold leaf and silver leaf that were once inpressed into the shell as decorative effects only. So form and function were never truly alone - always elegance, as well. The etui we offer here is from the Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette era, perhaps to slightly after they lost their heads. Wonder whose vest pocket or silk purse this one graced, don't you?
Good to very good condition, no chips or cracks or loss to the losenge shaped shell etui other than surface decoration of 22K gold leaf that would have been pressed into those incised markings. The etui frame and hinge/clasp work fine, fittings inside are tiny but charming. A great set for the serious collector. Museum quality - there is a case full of this very type of French miniature etui, to be seen in the newly rennovated and reopened 'Musee des Arts Decoratif' which is in the rue Raspail wing of the Louvres and enters from that street - don't miss it when you are next in Paris! We stop in each visit to see just how 'museum quality' our smalls truly are! And they are!