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Antique French Kiln-Fired Enamel Jewelry Box, Casket, Cobalt Blue with Jewel Dots, Sevres, Tahan
This is a stunning and fine old early-mid 1800s kiln-fired enamel box from enamelists working in the decorative arts community surrounding that of the old Sevres porcelain works. 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. This one is not engraved. The box is nice-sized, 4" x 3" and 2.5" high when closed. Beautiful more bronze framework on this one includes heavy solid cabriole legs. All in fine order.
Very good to excellent. Just found this one in France, and it hasn't any loss to the enamel (rare!!), no restorations, and with exception note to the slightly age-tattered but original silk lined interior, is one of the very finest we've found. Usually the enamel will show some evidence of mishandling such as hairlines or outright chips. 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. A lovely find!
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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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