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Exceptional "Gem" Set Casket with Hand Painted Portrait, Ormolu - Circa 1900
This exquisite Dore Bronze oval casket features a beautifully rendered painting depicting Marie Antoinette. She is "framed" in elaborately raised engraving and set with glass jewels and pearls. The jewels continue down the sides and ends of the box.
The painting follows the shape of the oval box and bears a signature that is illegible to my eyes. It is under what looks to be its' original glass. This was likely painted in the 19th century after a famous 18th century Work that was one of the Queen's personal favorites and by her favorite artist, Elizabeth Vigee LeBrun. LeBrun's canvas, circa 1783 is 130cm x 87cm and was painted in the gardens at Versailles. It was titled 'Marie Antoinette with the Rose'.
The casket itself is a work of art. Aside from the elaborate ormolu work, it is hand set with several hundred colored glass gemstones in raised collet mounts and separated with little cup set pearls. Large & elongated oval russet stones add a wonderful texture and dimension to the box centering each of the 12 panels along the sides of the casket. The ovals are surrounded with symmetrical set stones and pearls. The panels are separated by rows of square and oval raised collet set stones. Craftsmanship is exceptional!
Interior lining is unremarkable in simple dark burgundy velvet, but remains in clean & overall decent condition with no tears and only age appropriate wear..
Measurements: Box is approximately 6.5" x 5.5" it stands 4" high on 4 blue cabochon cut and set feet. Oval painting measures approximately 4" x 3" (visible).
Boxes like these were made in France and Austria around the turn of the century through the early 20th. Most of the Austrian pieces I've seen have stamped plaque marks. This piece has none. My guess considering the painting - is that one is French.
CONDITION: In overall excellent antique condition. We find no missing stones. Ormolu finish remains bright with no evidence of fading. Painting: Very well rendered with excellent attention to all the detail. Minor loss of paint is well in keeping with age. Signature in brown ink is illegible to our eyes. No warping. Hinge and clasp are sturdy and work as they should.
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A rare and wonderful collector's box!
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