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Antique French Kiln-Fired Enamel Jewelry Casket, Box, Raised Enamel "Jewels"
Exceptionally fine kiln-fired enamel jewelry casket, box, with copious amount of raised jewel-like enamel dots. A large (for these boxes), it has a rectangular form, 4.25" long, 3" front to back and raised on cabriole legs of heavy dore bronze, it is 2.5" tall when closed. The rarest of colors, the ground or main color on this one is deep emerald green and you can see that it is the type that has foil behind the enamel on parts of the convex copper plaque upon which the enamel is worked, to give it additional shimmer and shine.
Very good to excellent condition. I see only a single tiny imperfection to note and you'll have to go looking for it - it's a small hairline in the enamel top of the box, at about the 3 o'clock position in our greatly enlarge photo of the lid/top. Hard to see in normal size, it's one you'll never notice, but I'll point it out to you for inspection and full disclosure. It isn't bad enough to even send to our enamel restoration since it doesn't really show. Frame is strong, heavy and undamaged, too. A splendid one for any collector, it's also in very fine condition. Look our photos over to see - it's almost always the case that raised dots are lost to time, but I haven't yet found any missing. For safety, I'm going to say there might be one or two - you look it over, please. Lining is probably a replacement since the old ones would have been thick padding and tuck/tufted knotted style and this one is a flat silk satin lining, deep green. Nicely done, though.
In France these enameled boxes are almost always referred to as having been 'TAHAN' enamel boxes, even though only a few have the signature on the lock plate or inner rim. Tahan is a highly lauded name in France, both for excellence in cabinetry and furniture making (ebaniste) and for being an historical purveyor of luxury goods through much of the 19th century. You've seen us offer TAHAN signature boxes in fine woods, as well as these in enamel. The kiln fired boxes have an appearance more like fine high glaze porcelains or even glass, but in fact it is enamel powders that begin the process. 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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San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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