I can't say enough about this fabulous, one of a kind piece. Suffice it to say that I went shopping in an upscale shop in London, where pieces are expensive, but always right. Of course, I had limited funds, so I picked out several items about which to think. An English friend , and fellow dealer, spotted this piece right away. I added it to the list, walked down the hall a few steps, and then went right back to buy it. I knew if I could only buy one piece, this is the one. I knew if I never sold it, I wouldn't care because I would love to have it in my own collection. It's the first portrait miniature I've seen for sale, of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Most of the likenesses I've seen of him are of him as an old man, but here he is as a dashing young ruler. Most likely this a portrait miniature by Jean Petitot, 1607-1691, who is the artist who was the most distinguished painter of miniature portraits in enamel working in the seventeenth century. To be on the safe side, I can tell you this is in the style of Petitot, but both I, and my dealer friend, believe it to be the work of this miniaturist. One of the most fascinating aspects of this piece, is that it is clearly in a Georgian frame, which fits it perfectly, but the miniature is one hundred years or so older than the frame. Most likely this miniature was an heirloom that someone had reset in this lovely Georgian frame. The frame itself is one of the reasons I so love this piece; it was obviously commissioned just for this miniature round 1790. It has the white enamel bow, so typical of my favorite Georgian sentimental pieces, and there is a ruby in the knotted area of the bow. Written in gold, on the white enamel, are the words "Amez oui vous Aimee." The dealer from whom I purchased this piece loosely translated this for me as "You are loved by those you have loved." It's always the sentimental phrases which I love the most about these early pieces, so the frame and the words is as important to me as the miniature. The miniature and frame are in excellent condition. The frame is 18 carat gold, unmarked but tested. Most likely there was a glass bezel on the back, and one could easily be made for this piece , to hold a lock of a loved one's hair. The plain gold back is the way I purchased the piece though. The locket measures i inch and 1/4 North to South (not counting bale), and a little over 3/4 of an inch East to West, It weighs 5.24 grams. This piece is truly a museum piece, and I will sell it, to pay off debts from my last buying trip, but I will be sad to see it go, and will decide to keep it if it stays around very long. I know I won't see another piece like this one. I have taken about 50 photos of this pendant, but I can not get a clear one of the words on the enamel, so I guess buyers can take my word for what the French words are.
Portrait Miniature, Enamel, Petitot, in Pendant Frame, of Louis XIV, Georgian Frame,