This splendid box dates from the mid-nineteenth century, from 1840-1870.
The structural body of the box is of wood. The wood has been covered in very fine citron (golden) morocco leather. The leather has been gilt tooled (hand-applied) and each panel had been embellished with wide dentelle frames, large and small central rosettes, and small fleurons. The hand tooled gilt work is magnificent. The lid of the box holds a coat of arms, with two central bands. The coat of arms is flanked on all sides by fanciful fleurons.
The box has a fine brass lock plate (no key) and a brass handle. The interior of the box is divided into three deep wooden pockets (the first pocket 3 1/2" deep the second one up 4" deep and the last one 4 1/2" deep). The pocket width gets wider from bottom to top, from 6" to 7 1/2". The interior is covered in very fine crimson silk. The bottom stands on four round brass feet (not original to the box). The back of the box is covered with a single sheet of morocco leather. At one time there were brass hinges (their location is easily seen in the photo). The fold line where the lid opens backward is fragile. It is intact, but would not stand up to constant use without restoration (we chose to leave the restoration decision to the final owner).
The entire dimensions are; 11" tall at very back descending down to 9" tall at the very front. The front flat panel measures 5 3/8" across, the two slanting side-front panels 2 1/4" wide and the back-side panel 3" wide. The flat rear panel measures 9" wide. The box is 2 3/4" deep. The lid measures 3 1/2" tall descending downward to 3" tall. The coat of arms measures 4 1/2" across.
The box is in very good condition considering the age and the purpose it was meant for (holding papers). The gilt tooling is very worn on the coat of arms panel, but otherwise remains intact, brilliant and shimmering in the light. The box lid sits slightly ajar of the bottom from years of use. The interior wooded sections are in good order (one small repair to the very top right corner (3/4").
This would make an outstanding accessory on an antique desk or library shelf.
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Fine French Small Antiques: Eighteenth Century Smalls, Gilded Bronze, Objets of Vertu, Napoleon III