This one has a very tiny silver mark that my photographer missed capturing. It's there on the inner lip of the bottom half, where it closed into the upper hinged top portion, and it's a small profile mark that guarantees it as a .800/1000 purity of silver, made in France between 1818-1838. It is in the earlier style favored by Marie-Antoinette, and developed by the brothers Martin, which was a method of layering paint and varnish to get a depth of image and for decorative objects like this one. Your visit to Versailles might have been your first experience with such decorative style, and it's there en masse in the rooms mid-late 1700s, from large wall panels to small vanity items. The style has come to be known as Vernis Martin. The eventual darkening of the varnish usually has given this vibrantly colorful painting style a warmth in yellowing and you can see that result in this lovely small item. The outer wrapping is probably leather, most likely fine shagreen (skin of sting ray) based on the age of this one. And it is the leather that holds the painting. The item is an etui (small case) or "necessaire" which item would hold items necessary such as the note card that is still in place within this one. That card might have originally been a dance card or carnet du bal, or might have been just a daily agenda for a lady's (or fine gentleman's) visiting schedule of the day. Something like a forerunner of our daytime's of the 1980s and our iPhones of present time. A charming collection item, we find these in almost all museum collections. I'm writing this listing from Berling, and just saw a collection of these on display in the palace here. Most were not as nicely preserved as is this one.
Very good condition for age and type. You see that there is some loss to the layered paint and varnish , but not a lot of loss considering the type item (used often and in vest or hand) The silver is marked, is .800/1000 pure silver and is French made, as noted. The silver is not damaged though it could use a good polish. The inner card, original and 1700s, is without cracks, chips or loss. Rare to find it complete as original, which this one is.
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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