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Antique French Parquet Desk Box, Cigar or Jewelry Casket, Napoleon III era, Lock w Key
During the Napoleon III era in France, beautifully crafted desk top boxes seemed to hit their apogee of popularity, and we have many truly fabulous examples of them that remain today in all forms. I'm a box collector from way back. I think my very first treasured antique was a pretty simple 19th century box I bought while in London as a grad student, in fact, and I am quite sure I still have it as my souvenir of that first trip "abroad". The one you see here is one I helped my brother choose when he and my sis-in-law joined me last autumn for their first visit to Paris. So it's not only a gorgeous old thing, but is also one that comes with memories of its own. We chose it because of the fitted interior. That cover inside is a later adaptation, but it makes this a perfect serving box for fine cigars or even tea - and the fact that it has a working lock and the old key just adds to the fun. The box is a glorious example of the cabinetry maker's art. Look at the fine parquet work in elegant exotic woods. It is of fine quality, evidenced by the canted corners and the brass pencil edging that define's it's top, as well as the lack of any lifts to the old veneers. Superb! Ready to become your favorite box for your own treasures, love letters, mementos of special meaning. Dates c. 1850-70s, and could well be an unsigned TAHAN or Vervelle (a couple of the most lauded ebeniste firms working in Paris in 1800s.
Very good to excellent condition throughout for age and type, it retains it's working lock and key, and has a later addition of a compartment lid inside. A paper-lined interior, it might well have originally come as the presentation box for an upscale Paris confectioner's shop, initially filled with bonbons. A light stain can be seen on the interior, but should you wish to, you can certainly line it to fit your desire. Nice size at 8.5" x 5.75" and is 4" high when closed. The interior lid still has a fine mirror, by the way. No chips or cracks. No lifts of loss to the exotic wood.
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Susan Dean, San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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