This little box nicely represents the favored designs from the period of Napoleon III (1851-1870). The ebony inset with gilded metal designs in the forms of neoclassic ladies, cherubs, cornucopia and arabesques bespeaks the opulence and elegance preferred by the Parisian wealthy and nobility. The box comes from Paris and dates from 1860-1870.
The box is heavy, formed from gilded cast metal. The wide (1 1/4") band has an extravagant cast design of Greek urns, flower baskets, flowers and arabesques. The design shapes stand out from the band, giving a beautiful textured appearance. The lid has a double curved handle for opening at the middle front. There is a black metal domed paned set into the center; it is framed by a 1/4" wide textured band (arabesques and flower buds). A fanciful design has been molded and then hand cut, to be applied onto the black background. Beautiful neoclassic ladies float through the air with floral garlands to which they are attaching to the large cornucopia filled with fruit. A central cherub stands on a Roman column little wings outstretched and bow in hand. A very delicately hand cut arabesque pattern forms the base for the entire design.
The interior of the box is lined with green velvet on the bottom and green felt under the top metal tabs. The interior measures 1 1/8" deep. The box measures: 5 1/4" x 3 1/2" oval, 1 1/2" tall. It is in good and sound condition. There is some very light fading to the ebony (from years of polishing) but otherwise there is no loss to the richness and sheen of the gilded and ebony patina.
It is a fine and gorgeous example from an elegant era.
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French Antiques: 19th Century French Smalls: Gilded Figural Bronze Accessories, Majolica, Engravings, Chocolate Molds