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Antique French Made Souvenir Box, Eglomise Jewelry Casket for America: Eagle & American Flags, "E Pluribus Unum"
"Eglomise" is the term applied to the back-painted glass panels in these old French souvenirs. Most of them date 1800s, though they were made up through about 1910 in this manner, too. Later ones often have a photo set in instead. The early ones are our favorites, sometimes a screened ink-line like drawing that is then hand colored, or sometimes a full miniature painting original, all worked on the back side of a thick beveled panel or convex plaque of glass. There are sometimes open spots left and a final step is application of thin mother of pearl panels so that the windows shimmer with pearlescent light, or architectural details are pearl - you can see how fun those are. I'm listing a whole collection from this genre, one at a time, so will just give the barest detail of each as we move through the collection.
THIS one quite unique with an American theme rather than Grand Tour scenes of Paris or France monuments as we normally are thrilled to find. Definitely made in France but for an American market with the eglomise top showing the American eagle, flags and motto "E Pluribus Unum". Possibly made as a souvenir for the 1876 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence?? In any event, this is the first of these that I have ever found with an American theme, definitely one for the collectors, whether it be these fabulous eglomise grand tour miniature vitrines or Americana... Don't miss it!
Very good condition for age and type. I took the top glass panel out to scan the eglomise and noticed three small edge nips to the glass (not visible when in the box though as the tabbed frame enclosure covers them. The interior lining is still there, though the silk is tattered. The pressed brass ormolu framework has no breaks or flaws, some remnants of silver finish which make me wonder if it was originally silver or nickel plated over the brass. Hinges and clasp all working fine. Measurements noted on the photos.
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San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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