This is a gorgeous old early-mid 1800s kiln-fired enamel box from enamelists working in the decorative arts community surrounding that of the old Sevres porcelain works or perhaps similar workshops of Bresse (Bressan). The processes are very much the same, really, and a dual-industry emerged in this distinct decorative style by the 1800s. They are NOT Manufactory du Sevres items, but from the village artisans, much as the enamels of Limoges emerge in the same village as later decorative porcelain work. The process is very similar, working with muddy porcelain 'slip' and then kiln-firing so that the finished decorative surface emerges upon melting. A very arduous and difficult process here, the emulsions are painted on copper plaques, in this case convex ones - 5 of them in all, and one like this would have gone through numerous kiln-firings to achieve the finished product. Jeweled raised dots of thick enamel add a jewel-like feature. The main purveyor of these in 19th century was TAHAN, a luxury good purveyor and cabinetry shop, and quite regularly I find them still with an engraved lock plate noting TAHAN links. On this one, you find the original TAHAN company paper label there on bottom. Some have it engraved on lock plate, as well. This one is not engraved. The box is large sized as this type of box goes, 5" x 3.25" and 3" high when closed. Beautiful more bronze framework on this one includes heavy solid cabriole legs. All in fine order. I did not polish this one, preferring the old patina. It will brighten to higher gold finish if you choose to use brass polish, however. Will leave that tot your discretion.
Very good to excellent. Just found this one in France, and it has no evidence of restoration. It does have a few very fine hairlines that show up in out photos but far less so to the naked eye so we're not inclined to have them worked over by our professional enamelist. Should our buyer want it perfect, we can offer to have the work done and will pass along the charges. Usually the enamel will show some evidence of mishandling such as hairlines or outright chips. And very often, a good deal of damage in form of chips, shattering. The enamel on these melts to a depth of about 2mm, and is like a glassine or porcelain surface adhering to the copper plaques, so it is subject to cracking or chips. This one hasn't lost so much as a tiny jewel dot as far as I can see. Look it over. Both hinge and clasp are doing their jobs well and are tight, smooth in fit. Interior lining is original and in quite nice form, not stained. No odors. A lovely find!
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Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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