Antique Early 1800s French kiln-fired enamel handled tussle-mussie (known by the English) or porte-bouquet, as the French refer to these. Meant to hold a small nosegay or bouquet, anchored in place by the pin on chain, then carried about with the elegant kiln-fired enamel and pressed brass handle. We know this enamel to be by the artisans of Bresse, France, or of Sevres, France - both of which artisans produced items like this in late 1700s to earliest 1800s. The book we found ours in, quite by chance, is a book specifically about enamels of Bresse. We recently sold a wax seal that has this exact same enamel work, and I have also just listed a letter opener from the same decorator, period - all sold separately. A single piece that is a work of art. Not only in the fine kiln-fired enamel handle (see note below about the process) but also in that lovely pressed gilt brass holder. All sides are splendid works of art. The item is 5.75" long. Other measurements noted on the photos.
Very good to excellent condition, for age and type. The very same item that was pictured in the book we show it with; a French reference book about the enamels of Bresse, France (often made for distribution via TAHAN, Paris, as in the case of some of our boxes that carry that top-drawer name on the lock plate or on stickers affixed to the bottom. The handle has no chips, but you can see very fine hairlines in our greatly enlarged images for your review. Not enough to diminish either enjoyment nor value. A superb piece! Put it with your desktop collection of French enameled boxes - we can help you build one if you haven't yet begun. The look is superb!
NOTE: 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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