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Antique Battersea Enamel Etui, 2 Crystal Perfume Flasks, Bottles Inside.
While there is a possibility this is a mid-1800s Samson "replica", we think it's the earlier original 1700s Battersea enamel work. In fact, the Samson "copies" or early to mid-1800s reproductions of earlier porcelains and enamels and sculptures were of such fine quality, they are valued at or nearly at the price of the older originals which often are of slightly lower quality than the Samson versions. That said, what we have is an exquisite kiln-fired enamel work of art, not a chip or crack nor hairline to detract from its beauty or value. And it's rare to find these complete with the flasks inside, though we will point out that one stopper is stuck inside and was broken off as noted in our images (x). The little bottles are crystal, really gather the light. Bright ornate fitting is in excellent condition with working complete hinge and a clasp that holds closed well.
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.
Very good to excellent condition, as noted above and in our images. The one flaw to note is that one stopper has been broken off with the stem stuck in the neck of the bottle. I'm sure a good glass man can soak it out and cut a new stopper. We have one, but it takes him quite a while to get to the task, so we'll list it this way both as disclosure and also in case you have your own excellent glass worker locally. Of course, even as it is, it's a fabulous item. So rare to find these old ones without any loss to the kiln-fired enamel work. I just found a matching patch box, same artist's work, though. Will be listing it soon.
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Susan Dean, San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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