Chocolate was a precious commodity in the nineteenth century. The fine Parisian chocolatiers created beautifully designed works of art to present their decadent chocolates with beauty. This charming box features a mirrored frame and a poignant central color lithograph inset. It dates from 188-1890 and comes from Paris.
The box itself is made of hardened paper board, which has a wooden feel. The sides and a 1/4" frame on the lid are covered with paper (in a ribbed design with a repeating Greek key). The lid is glass, with a silvered, mirrored frame (1/2"). There is a 1/4" reverse painted blue frame which opens to clear glass. Underneath the glass is an exquisitely detailed and colored lithograph scene.
Lithographs had become the "new" invention in color printing during the late nineteenth century. Each color was applied separately, creating incredibly detailed and clear images. The lithograph scene here depicts a noble gentleman placing a floral wreath on the head of a young lady who is kneeling. A young gentleman stands to his side. There is a beautiful chateau in the background. The scene is curious and encourages the viewer to imagine the story that is unfolding.
The interior of the box is covered in apple green paper with a Greek key border around the top. A paper floral bouquet die-cut is placed in the center of the inside of the lid. The bottom of the box is covered in marbled blue paper.
It measures 5 1/2" by 4 1/2". The interior is 7/8" deep. The central lithograph measures 3 1/4" x 2". The box is in incredible condition for it's delicate nature and age. There is no chipping or cracks to the glass, only minor darkening to the silvering (normal for mirrored glass of the era). The color lithograph is in perfect order. There is slight wear to the paper on the outside of the box, but only wear that is normal with age. The box is sound and opens and shuts properly.
It would make a lovely desktop box to hold stamps or small items.
Fine 18th and 19th century French smalls: Layaways Welcome