This is a HUGE Limoges hinged box, 20th century. It is painted and signed by Marcel Caffy, who is a well-known Limoges porcelain artist in France. The date is probably the last half of the 20th century.
The Limoges maker is La Porcelaine Limousine, or Porcelaine Industrielle Du Limousin, with the green mark on the underside. Marcel Caffy signed the box on the front, below the shovel in the landscape painting. The mark for his decorating studio is on the underside in red " Peint A La Main Maitre Artisan Caffy Limoges France."
The box is enormous. It weighs close to eleven pounds, and believe me, that is a lot of hard paste porcelain. The box is 16 ½" long, 10 ½" wide and 4 ½" wide.
Marcel Caffy is considered one of the most prominent Limoges porcelain painters in France. He graduated from the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs, which is linked to the Louvre. He holds another diploma from the École Nationale de Porcelaine de Limoges. He is also a member of the national associations for porcelain painting, including Association Arts, Sciences et Lettres de Limoges, the International Porcelain Artists and the Artistes du Limousin. He has held numerous exhibitions in France. If you collect Caffy's porcelain art, then you know this artist likes to paint really BIG pieces of Limoges. Caffy paints using the 18th and 19th century techniques of porcelain painting.
The box has an elongated oval clover leaf shape. The edges are bound in a bronze metal, hinged at the back, with a support chain on the right side, and a shell shape filigree clasp on the front. The lid is in pretty good alignment with the bottom, but not exactly perfect because of the weight.
The top of the lid is one entire French rural scene. Going from the left to the right, we can see trees and shrubbery. Next is a rustic shed, door ajar, and there is a spotted hunting or hound dog, paw uplifted, thinking about giving chase to the chickens in the yard. There are some wood barrels with a shovel leaning against the largest barrel. Next to the shed is a lean-to, out of which is emerging a white horse. The farm wife is carrying a bucket into the yard, perhaps to water the horse or feed the chickens. The farm house, or cottage, has two floors and a red sloping roof, with window boxes filled with flowers in the front. A rooster is perched on a grassy mound next to the woods, keeping an eye on his hens. Caffy used a lot of color: red, green, brown, pink, purple, red, black, yellow, white ... with some areas touched in raised enamel.
There is another landscape painting on the front, showing farm buildings and a rural road winding up to the farm house. There are ducks, a chicken and a cow drinking from a stream. Another rural lady, dressed in blue and pink, is watching the cow and enjoying the day.
The sides and back of the box are shaded in colors from blue-to-green-to-cream. There is a wide band of gold around the edge of the lid. The inside of the box is glazed white. The underside of the box is unglazed.
There are no chips, cracks or crazing. There is some small scratches and wear to the gold. There is age patina on the metal. There are a few glaze marks from the firing process, which are tiny little areas of discoloration. There is a small round circle on the underside, which is a blob of white enamel covering something.
The green mark is Limoges France with the squiggles inside that identify the company.