Beautiful old 19th century kiln-fired enamel work on this small vase, or votive candle holder, trimmed out in raised enamel dots for 'jewel-like' gadroon border. I want to say this style of enamel is French, but search as I might, I have not yet found this particular fashion of enamel work linked to any locale. Experts out there, if you can lend a hand (or brain & Info), it will be much appreciated. This and another item or two in similar kiln-fired enamel process have come to me out of France and yet the enamel work is different from most we see, short of the very old Limoges enamels, which do resemble this. So, lacking clarification, I would stretch myself to say it is a 19th century Limoges enamel work with a nod to those enamels produced in the 1500s in France. In any case, it's a beautiful piece, and whether on display or in use at table or wherever, it's a piece that will gain many looks and compliments. The enamel is on copper or similar alloy base, as we have one small area of chips on the bottom rim, noted in our photos, which reveals metal below to look like copper. Very beautiful!
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. I see nothing to report apart from a general patina consistent with age. These old kiln-fired enamels have a surface much like porcelain or glass, and are subject to chip or crack if mishandled. It is the rare piece of this type of work that has no flaws at all. This would be wonderful with a thick candle in it at bedside, by the way.
NOTE re KILN-FIRED ENAMEL: This process, which I've written about many times, is one only accomplished with the skill of years and years of practice. The enamel powders are various shades of muddy mauve, taupe, blues, not the least resembling the color they will become once the kiln melts them into the glassine or porcelain like finished product you see here. So an artist is layering on stroke after stroke, working quite literally blind as far as the colors and spacing of the finished outcome he/she hopes to achieve. It is the memory that guides the hand in this art. And subject to such whims of nature and memory, it's always amazing to me that they come out with anything but a glob. I've tried this art, myself, and believe me, it's very difficult. I mostly get globs. The nature of the process is part of the reason why these old kiln-fired objects have such a following and bring the prices they continue to bring.
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Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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