This is a rare and unique example in the shape of a ruche or beehive. This exquisite box opens to reveal a beautiful scent bottle. It dates from the Napoleon III period (towards 1860) and comes from a small collection in Paris.
The delicate detail and careful depiction of a real beehive is spectacularly created in this piece. The exterior is made of thin bands of metal, with alternating bands of gilded metal. They create a solid frame around a thick glass interior (which has a crackled effect, adding to the textural interest when viewed through the metal strips). The hive stands on three fancy legs which form the base (they have twisted rope spirals from top to bottom) for a bouquet containing one single enamel daisy and three gilded metal bud stems. The door to the hive has three bees in green and white and black enamel. Two other bees in the same fashion are crawling from the roof of the hive.There is a small "S" latch at the front center. At the very top, a festoon of enamel flowers push upward. A daisy, bluebell, buttercup and two forget-me-nots are accented by three gilded bud stems.
The lid opens to reveal a small scent bottle in white opaline with a gilded metal mount and lid. There are hand painted gilt leaves and grapes around the top edge. The hand blown bottle has it's original bouchon (stopper) but it has been fixed permanently (somewhere in it's history) and cannot be removed. The interior is lined with luscious deep purple silk.
The ruche is heavy and solid. It measures: 6 1/4" tall, 8 3/4" in circumference. The scent bottle measures: 2 3/4" tall and 4 5/8" in circumference. The ruche survives in excellent antique condition with no noticeable flaws. The glass interior is solid and without noticeable flaw. The scent bottle has no visible cracks or chips. The interior silk is in excellent condition.
It is a very fine example of the unusual and very intricate scent containers that were fashioned during a period of opulence and indulgence in French history.
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Fine 18th and 19th century French smalls: Layaways Welcome