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Early 18th Century Gilt Metal Needlework Chatelaine/Equipage with Five Pieces, c1720
This very rare and special chatelaine or equipage is of a style worn in the 1720s. These characteristically have the classic waist hook with five chains passing to individual containers for needlework tools. This style pre-dates the later versions that have central larger étui with two smaller side étuis. This fact can be verified from trade cards of the era. This particular example has plaited mesh chains passing to a central container for a pair of scissors. On each side are cylindrical holders – one for needles and a longer one for bodkins. At the two sides are more squat holders and one of these would most likely have been for a thimble and the other to contain a wad of wool soaked in an aromatic solution. The individual containers do not currently hold their tools but these can occasionally be found to complete the item – a fascinating challenge. The condition is good for age although there is an old well-done repair to the top of the waist hook and some wear to two of the chains at the top but they are still acceptably sound. All the étui close securely. It is now becoming incredibly rare to find examples such as this and it would be desirable for a significant collection of early needlework tools to include such an example. Similar examples and trade cards can be seen in my book, “Chatelaines, Utility to Glorious Extravagance”. Maximum length 7.75 ins (19.2cm). Weight 116 grams.
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Genevieve Cummins, Sydney, Australia
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