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Antique French 1700s Vernis Martin Billet Doux, Etui - Spectacular hand painted figures, needle case
A wonderful antique French 'billet doux' (literally: sweet note), which is a formed case into which love notes and invitations of a romantic nature were traditionally passed in the 1700s, this case is probably truly one of the most romantic items the French ever came up with, and you know the French reputation and fixation on romance. Made in the 'Vernis Martin' layered paint and varnishes of the Brother's Martin, and popular in the time of Marie-Antoinette, this little case is a real show-stopper! While these would have been more colorful in their time, the darkening of the old varnishes used in layers with paint tended to darken over time so these usually have a deepened warm tone overcasting the images painted on them. Glorious historically - who knows what Courtier flirted and entice which Aristocrat (and vice-versa) using this very one billet doux to transport their note of love and plans for clandestine tete-a-tete and more. Perhaps Marie-Antoinette, herself. Someday maybe we'll decode molecular memory from objects. Won't it be ever so interesting then to have all these antiques! Beautiful, charming, in fine condition for its age (200-280 years old, after all). It is one from my own collection. Watch for a few more of my favorites to come into inventory. I'm shifting collections, as usual.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. Small enough to secret within the folds of a 1700s gown, I still think this one is a 'lucky' billet doux, don't you? You know, for those with only " Je t'aime " to say, back and forth, forever and forever? Collar is missing, and we believe it shows a loss of what was more likely a gold trim, or at the very least gilted metal. You can see the recess for it, and these are typically collared in 18k gold, or perhaps in fine silver. Other than that one issue, it is one of the most complete and undamaged of these we've seen in ages. Tempting to have the gold collar reworked, but we'll leave that decision for the next owner. Shell inside lining and lip - what a beauty! These are RARE! Don't miss it.
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San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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