Enamel Box. I'm not sure if this is an English Battersea/Bilston or French Samson box. Anyway, made late 1700s or early 1800s.
Condition: Inside lid repair (painted), hairline cracks and chips. Please see photos.
63 x 50mm
Few antiques create the same warm emotional response as the enamel box, -an object of beauty and eloquence. Enamelling is one of the oldest of the decorative arts and one of the most permanent. These boxes have been known throughout the the years by the magic name Battersea. Yet the Battersea factory closed in 1756, and for every box made in Battersea, thousands were made elsewhere. From the 15th century onwards magnificent painted enamel boxes were made at various times by English, French, German, Austrian, Swiss, Italian and Dutch artist-enamelers. Almost always there is hairline cracks and chips to the enamel. This is a sign of age, and only add character to the box.
Perhaps one of the reasons that people find small boxes so fascinating is just because they are small boxes, for we are always intrigued by the miniature, impressed by the craftmanship implicit in a tour de force way on a small scale. But there is another explanation of the obvious attraction these boxes have for the casual visitor to museums and to the dedicated collector alike. Many people sense the associations of these boxes, even if they are larly those exquisite confections, a mode of life remote from ours, a period that seems in retrospect more romantic and more leisured then the mundane present in which we are condemned to live. These boxes belong to a period that seems strangely mannered to us, when etiquette was no mere formality but a way of life. They recall the Versailles of Louis XV. They call to mind Strawberry Hill where Horace Walpole built his rococo grotto and wrote letters interminably. They conjure up that strange court of the schizophrenic Frederic the Great, the St Petersburg of those amorous Empresses of Russia, and Bath under the spell of Beau Nash. Sacheverell Sitwell wrote that; we have the memory of those who handled them so that they become little personal things of ghostly evocation. At their finest they are among the most lovely and entrancing objects made by human hands.
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