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Stunning French Limoges Enamel on Copper Miniature Portrait, Gilt Dore Bronze Frame
Fine antique 19th century French enamel on copper miniature portrait plaque set in an ornate gilt bronze frame. The portrait is a smaller artist's representation of Jean-Jacques Henner's iconic image of Saint Fabiola, painted in 1885, depicting the saint in a classical pose with head and shoulders cloaked in a red veil. Her rich red veil shimmers beautifully in the light, done in foil enameling (enamel applied over gold or silver foil) providing beautiful glimmering effect. The enamel is done on a convex copper plaque, which is then kiln fired. It takes a very special skill to produce such quality work, as the enamel is first applied as a powder which then melts and hardens to a glassy sheen. Quite difficult to work with and to convey imagery such as this fine portrait of Saint Fabiola is not an easy task. Such work illustrates the level of craftsmanship and superb quality that resides in this piece offered here. It is evident that the artist was quite proud of this miniature masterpiece, for the enamelist signed the work with his or her initials of AG or GA in gilt paint. The enameled portrait is housed in a gilt bronze frame. Decorated with four ornamental appliques in the form of grape leaves on a vine. The frame having a patterned frieze of acanthus leaves. Topped by an ornate finial in the form of a quiver of arrows crisscrossed by a flaming torch, festooned with sprigs of laurel. Has a hinged metal easel for table top display as well as a ring loop for hanging on the wall. This plaque measures approx. 3 3/8" in diameter. The frame measures 7 1/8" in total height (including the opulent finial on top) x 5 1/2" in width. Bears an old label to back of the copper panel with the name 'Fabiola'. In overall good antique condition. The fabric covering the front panel shows wear commensurate with age. The fabric mat covering the back of the frame is a replacement.
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Tobba Ascano, Canutillo, TX
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