During the late 18th - early 19th century boxed sets of casts of engraved gems and of historical events and people were popular as a souvenir and collector’s item. They were made by James Tassie in Edinburgh, E. Burch of London and most prolifically by the renowned maker, Tommaso Cades of Rome (early 19th century). This set is made by Cades and contains plaster of Paris busts of early figures including Dante, Galileo, Michelangelo, da Vinci and Machiavelli. Similar boxes can be seen in the British Museum, the boxes often being in book-form. This box is covered with deep green paper with gold tooling – on the lid are the initials LB. Inside the lid is a label for the maker and a pencil annotation including the date, 1826. Inside is a paper catalogue closed with green silk, containing written details in fine script in Italian listing the famous people depicted in these casts. In the main section of the box are ten plaster casts fixed to a green paper base. Each bust is surrounded with a gilt oval. Also in the box are included some rough photographs taken by us of similar examples in the British Museum. The condition of the casts is very good for age. The box itself shows some signs of wear consistent with age and the hinge is intact but fragile. This is a fascinating complete box and would satisfy the curiosity of the modern day collector! Width of box 7.5 ins (19cm) x 4.25 ins (10.7cm) x 1.1 ins (2.6cm). Weight 292 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 259. Air Mail Post with tracking to the USA would be $33.00 USD - with no tracking is cheaper. This item is included in our own insurance policy. For shipping cost to other countries, please contact us.
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