First of all, the boulle inlay is not tortoise shell, but is a casein material the French used by mid-late 1800s in place of shell. It does not have the same properties but does look like the boulle using tortoise shell from the 1700s. A marquetry method of interlocking hand cut brass against softer materials, the term "boulle" is in honor of the gentleman cabinetry maker who first created it, André-Charles Boulle (11 November 1642 – 28 February 1732). Incredibly popular from the start, you'll only find true A-C Boulle items in museums and very opulent private collections by now. But other cabinetry makers quickly copied the very popular work, and so we do have elegant boullework items surviving today, too. This is one rather unusual one: a fine French fireplace baffles or "souflet" that has survived the nearly 200 years since its creation in amazing good order.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. Most often boulle worked items end up with lost brass inlay or broken and lost inlays of whatever material used with it. This one has very little evidence of any loss, though I think there has been a little restoration to the shell-look casein down toward the mouthpiece end. The old baffles are in remarkably good condition, no holes and quite supple, so this is one you can certainly put to use to fan your flames. Some surface abrasion to the ebonized wood, and one old repair at the inside end of one handle, nicely done. Full measurement noted on the photos.
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Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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