This listing is for an adorable and RARE 18th Century Battersea Bilston English enamel on bronze bonbonniere or patch box in the shape of a pug's head and face with brown head and eyes with black nose and red tongue extended from mouth. The face is realistically hand painted giving this little guy lots of personality. The lower lid (bottom) of the box is a solid color as the pug's head. The interior of the box is covered with white enamel and the inside of the lid (base) has a hand painted floral bouquet design. The box has gilt bronze banding on both the top and bottom with a "clasp" in the front and hinge in back. The hinge is in excellent condition and the box opens and closes tightly (properly).
These boxes are generally unmarked as is this one. They were originally made in Europe from the early to late 18th Century and this box is an original piece dating to that period. Bonbonnieres were small candies that only the aristocracy or very wealthy would have been able to afford. Women often used them as a container for holding small patches of felt or other substances that would have been used to cover blemishes on the face of the owner. The boxes were also used as containers for snuff or patches (beauty spots) as well as bonbonnieres, etuis, etc. They were originally viewed as an essential fashion accessory by the 18th Century aristocracy. Most often these miniature novelty boxes were decorated with verses or sayings. Boxes with molded animal head features were produced in less quantity and are considered rare, therefore, they seldom come available in today's market. Those that are offered are rarely found in excellent condition due to the nature of the construction of a product that was intended to be routinely used.
Dimensions: 2 1/4" high with the base measuring 2" wide. Weighs 2.2 ounces.
Condition: This stunning box is in good Estate condition with the following minor issues. There are a couple of rubbed areas on the pug's chin and neck and some very faint scratches on the bottom of the lid from normal wear. There is a cut through the pug's left eye (facing) although there is no chipping or flaking of the enamel in this area. The interior has numerous faint cracks and one pitted area, however, none of these areas show through and are not visible on the exterior.
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