Fabulous antique French Boissier marked chocolatier's or confectioner's box, meant to use as a jewelry casket after the confections that would have come inside have been consumed. An early 1800s one in the old kiln-fired enamel with a decidedly French Romantic Era figural and forest scene that is quite unusual. As close to perfect as any antique ever is, and wonderful visual & decorative appeal! Boissier - The Rembrandt of confectioners. Many apprenticed there and went on to become famous chocolatiers. One of Paris’s oldest sweets shops, Maison Boissier was founded by Bélissaire Boissier. At the time, the shop was located on boulevard des Capucines. Boissier has been making chocolate in Paris since 1827, and its packaging was the most spectacular of all the chocolates. Its reputation for fine confections has endured for nearly two centuries. Specialities include delicately scented wafer-thin chocolate petals in milk, dark, white and pink chocolate, and “bonbons boule” (fruit candies), favoured in his day by Victor Hugo himself." Boissier is still in business (since 1827) and still make a big deal of nice keepsake boxes for their confections, by the way: 184 Avenue Victor Hugo, 75116 Paris, France. A marvelous piece here, don't miss it!
Good to very good condition, and that all-important confectioner's engraved signature on the lock plate. We'd date this one mid-late 1800s, and can't say enough about the quality and unique enamel work on this one. Foil-backed on the gown of the woman, it's a shimmer of brightness. There are no chips, no cracks nor hairlines of importance to the 5 old panels of kiln-fired enamel (on copper plaques). Prone to such damage, it's all the more lovely to see it in such fine shape (look our photos over well). Overall it certainly shows you the aesthetic of the era. Heavy frame, and a very nice original red silk satin lining make this a must have!
ENAMEL NOTE: This process, which I've written about many times, is one only accomplished with the skill of years and years of practice. The enamel powders are various shades of muddy mauve, taupe, blues, not the least resembling the color they will become once the kiln melts them into the glassine or porcelain like finished product you see here. So an artist is layering on stroke after stroke, working quite literally blind as far as the colors and spacing of the finished outcome he/she hopes to achieve. It is the memory that guides the hand in this art. And subject to such whims of nature and memory, it's always amazing to me that they come out with anything but a glob. I've tried this art, myself, and believe me, it's very difficult. I mostly get globs. The nature of the process is part of the reason why these old kiln-fired objects have such a following and bring the prices they continue to bring.
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Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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