A chocolatier's presentation box, finest quality, c.1850-70, Napoleon III era, Paris.
This is a truly fabulous and rare old box! Wonderful condition, the rectangular form and beautiful wood grain, nicely elevated on cast bronze cabriole legs. A working lock and while we have no key to fit at listing time, it's a simple lock and perhaps we'll locate one - will annotate our listing if so.
Made of light weight wood, or perhaps even pressed card, the veneer is worked like the popular wooden gloves boxes of its day. We've seen fine TAHAN boxes with this same type of hand painted floral bouquet preserved under glass on the top of the box. This one is made to look like those, but it is not solid hardwood. The lighter boxes were usually made to hold confections, and meant to be kept after the candies were consumed. The box was very likely one made for a confectioner, and the lighter weight of the box suggests that's correct. These sometimes came with the name of the chocolatier engraved on the lock plate (see some we've had from Boissier, for instance). This one has no engraving, but I'm quite certain it was originally the souvenir that was meant to remain once the very expensive confections (early to mid-1800s), were consumed. A memory of a gift. I would put this one at mid-1800, probably at the early point in the Napoleon III era (c.1850-70). Isn't it fabulous! We've sold a variety of the old confections boxes, from simple cardboard and glass ones of the 1700s, to one made for Boissier that was tortoise shell and ormolu and fabulous ($3000 range). They're highly collectable, always have a paper (papier) lining, and they're rather rare to find.
Very good to excellent condition throughout for this one. The interior is silk satin lined rather than just paper, which would guarantee it was a chocolates box, but I still think I'm right due to the lighter weight. Less costly to make in this way, they are more valuable today because they've become so rare to find. No chips nor cracks to diminish either enjoyment nor value. The interior is lovely and you'll be happy to either fill with confectioner's paper cup-held bonbons, or with your jewelry or small treasures. Boxes! My passion! This one is very special, indeed.
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