A stunning fine example of the reason these fabulous 19th century French enamel boxes are so sought after, this one rises above all in fine condition. These are usually referred to as Tahan, though only a few have the signature TAHAN Paris on the inner lock plate. This one does not have the signature, but we know they're ones that were marketed through that world class purveyor of goods to the King, elite of the 19th century world. They were, if you ask the French experts, kiln-fired enamels made by enamelists of Sevres, France, for the luxury goods maker/seller, TAHAN, Paris (one of the finest purveyors, on par with Tiffany here in the USA for 19th century quality, luxury). The enamel industry from Sevres is not the RMS or Royal Manufactory de Sevres you think of for porcelains, though the skill and talent as decorators working in slip or enamel crosses over between the two industries, therefore making it a simple art to reside among these artisans, after all. This box is not signed, but it is definitely of the finest quality enamel work, and consistent with those others we have and have had that were signed TAHAN, Paris. 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.
Very good to excellent condition throughout. Not a hairline or crack anywhere, and I find only a couple of those raised white jewel dot missing (look very closely - our images are enlarged so you can see them but it's truly not so easy to see in person. However, looking down straight upon the top lid, you can see in our greatly enlarged images that there are some tiny tiny imperfections on the outer perimeter of the enameled convex plaque. These mostly disappear beneath the heavy framework, but I wanted to point them out for your review. Elaborate and very elegant floral garlands on this one - some of the finest enamel work of the era. Plus, vastly made up for in that the interior liner is completely intact in fine form, all in place.
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Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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