With a remarkable array of traveler's tools, dental hygiene implements, items still perfectly preserved within, this late 1700s French travel vanity case is a fabulous find. I just love the old sets like this - "necessaire" as they're called, because of course they house all the necessities of vanity within the smallish and elegant travel case. Leather outer, it's still intact with the original old mirror in the lid, the original perfectly fitted and matched tools of vanity "pour le toilette" (for the grooming), to include toothbrush (missing) tooth powders box or case, a perfume flask (missing) and fingernail file. Also room for another nail tool or perhaps it was an ear wax spoon and tweezer combination tool (missing). PLUS the most rare of all - a tongue scraper. Yes, that long thing you might decide is a paper knife or something is actually a dental/oral hygiene item of the 1700s, and to use it you would hold it and 'bow' it between thumb and index finger so it forms almost a 'U' shape, then use that to reach in and scrape the tongue clean. Odd, isn't it. But that's what it is. In all my years of collecting and dealing, I think this is only the 5th one I've ever seen and 4th we've owned. The 5th was in a museum collection. Isn't it wonderful to see a set like this, even partially complete. Who would have owned this? Well, more than likely it would have been sold to a Royal who visited France, or to a high military officer under Napoleon, and would have been offered for sale along with similarly exquisite French sterling silver sets and boxed 'necessaire' from among the boutiques that flank the gardens and promenade of the old Palais Royal. That was a gathering place for such wealthy titled people of around the world, and the goods from there are always most sought after today. The quality is the key. No ordinary French person or European would have ever been able to own something so grand as this. It's been tucked away for about 2 centuries now, and comes forward in such fine form, we suspect it has been used not much at all, if at all. A real treasure!
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, the set is filled with 4 remaining tools, box and tongue scraper of 18k gold, and Palais Royal shield cartouche on each is also 18k gold. called 'vermeil'. Marks are Pre- 1809. The only flaw I have to note is slight wear or polishing rubs to the gold here or there, and the placement of a leather hinge panel on backside so it will close tightly (seam would have been thin leather like the cover, has long since split and is now operative again). As you see it, 4 tools with the box, and 5 missing, all noted above. A fabulous set for display, or go ahead and use it if you wish. All original implements are still with the set.
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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