Rare Edwardian Ostrich Leather Travel Case with Vintage Miniature Hand-Painted Color Portrait - Circa 1900-1910 - Unsigned
The Ostrich leather covered case could be either wood or gutta percha underneath. The round picture frame appears to be brass. The metal edges to the case may be copper. The outside edge of the Ostrich skin covered matting around the picture has been faux stitched in gold paint. The inside top of the case is covered in a silk material. Both the case and image frame hinges are spring loaded. A small ribbon pulls out the paper backing behind the picture to allow access and replacement. There are no manufacturer markings on the case, and the portrait image is unsigned. The painted image is on an old plastic or cellulose material. Folded- up, compact-style case measures 4-1/2" x 4".
Ostrich leather is the result of tanning skins taken from African ostriches farmed for their feathers, skin and meat. The leather is distinctive for its pattern of bumps or vacant quill follicles, ranged across a smooth field in varying densities. It requires an intricate, specialized and expensive production process making it costly as well as beautiful.
The first commercial farming of Ostriches began in South Africa in 1850. At the time raised primarily for their feathers, that industry collapsed after World War I . Ostrich skin has only recent become globally available as a luxury item in high-end demand. A pre-World War One ostrich skin covered accessory item like this one is exceptionally rare .
PHOTO NOTE: Photos often distort the clarity of the image and the intensity of the colors. The muted "grainy" look to the surface texture is also photo distortion, and the color is somewhat more muted than the pictures suggest. Delicate brush strokes under glass are hard to capture in a photograph. Minor soiling, small blemishes and slight defects are exaggerated by the photo process, and are usually much less noticeable when viewed in person. Photos of objects with a shiny finish often show color distortions and reflections from the flash.
CONDITION NOTE: In excellent condition for its age. The leather is tight and in place, and the photo frame stitching is undamaged. The silk cover lining is intact and in place. The hinges are undamaged and work correctly. The ribbon for opening the photo case is fully attached but somewhat frayed. There is ordinary aging, wear, tarnish and discoloration on the brass trim. There is one small spot near the edge of the ostrich leather matting that is visible in the photos, but much less noticeable in person. The spring-loaded case cover closes completely but not tightly.
Item ID: 25-0626D
Exclusive Ruby Lane
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New London, CT
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