This antique 19th century French metal box is finely etched with a scene after a painting by Jean-Honore Fragonard. The top of the box is titled...LES BONS ELEVES which translates to 'good students'. Two women and a man seem to be trying to get two dogs to 'stay'. Seems like the dogs are the 'students' here.
The box was probably intended to hold cigarettes as the inside is lined in wood. The highly decorated sides and top are copper on silver-plate metal. The inside of the lid shows both copper and silver. The recess there probably once held a mirror or decorative lining.
The box measures 3 3/4 by 2 3/4 inches across the top by 1 3/4 inches high. The top is signed D' A P FRAGONARD and L.B. GR (for Gray).
Condition: There are slight bumps to the lid corners. Overall, the box is in very good condition with a warm bronze-like aged patina (we haven't polished it). The box weighs 9.4 ounces.
About the artist: Jean-Honoré Fragonard (April 5, 1732 – August 22, 1806) is known as one of France's most significant painters of the eighteenth century. Fragonard was one of the favorites in the courts of both King Louis XV and King Louis XVI. His Rococo style was characterized by a fluid technique, exuberance, spontaneity, and a delicate hedonism. Painting over 550 works (only 5 of which are dated), not including his various drawings and etchings, Fragonard's canvases were often delicately colored scenes of gardens, nature, and romance.
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Antique 19th Century French Etched Metal Box Fragonard