One of the largest of these old late 1700s to early 1800s Palais Royal caskets, and this one with a working lock (no key at listing) and compete with all the original steam-shaped panels of brilliant old natural shell. Just in from France A full 5 inches across, and we're used to seeing these in small dainty half-this-size form, perhaps fitted out as a sewing casket or scent casket with tiny implements and/or bottles inside, this one does appear to be all original as a jewelry casket or perhaps a very early bonbonier or chocolatier's presentation box. We once had a larger one that was engraved with the signature of Boissier, one of France's premier and most historical names in chocolate. This one is not so different from that thrilling find, and is certain to thrill its next owner nearly as much as it does me. I've got this one in prime-spot display in my own home right now, and enjoy seeing it each time I walk through the room. RARE to find these so complete and so damage free. Yes, it does have one ding on that upper front panel above and right of the lock, but it's a crack and not a full break. There are no missing pieces and actually, no other cracks. The method the French used to make these left them quite vulnerable to damage and ruination, leaving so few behind that they are truly rare to find. The shell, unlike more substantial boxes and caddies that used shell as a veneer over wood, gives the full light to the natural shell by steam forming it and not backing it with anything at all. The relatively thin shell forms into the framework of brass ormolu, as you can see, and is compliment in age and style to the much loved opaline eggs. All hail from the shops of the late 1700s to early 1800s promenade of the old Richelieu palace which had been converted to one of the most opulently fitted shopping and dining and theatre centers in the world, and from which the items are called, in reverence, 'Palais Royal'.
Very good condition, age and type considered. One dinged spot as noted above, but no missing shell or losses otherwise. The lock is a working lock on this quite large casket (for this type) but we do not have a key at listing time. The keys to these old ones are often very simple and not terribly difficult to find replacements, or to just have one made. But at listing, we do not have one to fit. Fabulous! RARE in this large size.