This is a special steel and jasper chatelaine/equipage which has a small waist plaque and long steel tongue for placing behind a waistband. There is a further feature of three jasper balls – two with additional steel decoration and these are in very similar style to an example in the Victoria and Albert Museum listed as Wedgwood. The chains end in three screw-up steel swivels which currently hold the three steel appendages which came with the piece. In the centre is a wind-up tape measure with a red silk tape which currently does not wind; a double-ended pin cushion/emery and a steel covered notebook. These appendages are similar in style to those created in the late 19th century but do appear to possibly be of an earlier date. The basic chatelaine when worn would have a similar appearance to the so-called Macaroni chatelaine which was an example with a watch at one end and a long decorative chain. The watch was looped over a belt and the chain and appendages were a decorative feature on the gown. These were often accompanied with a similar example on the other side of the gown but without a watch. There is a known painting of Marie Antoinette wearing this style. The condition of the actual chatelaine is excellent. The tape measure no longer winds the tape and there is staining and some loss of the steel on both sides of the notebook. It would be very appropriate to replace these appendages if required with late 18th century keys and/or seals. The special feature of this piece is the inclusion of the jasper balls which were almost certainly made by Josiah Wedgwood and it is possible that the steel chatelaine was created by Boulton as these two masters often worked together. Maximum length 13 ins (33cm). Weight 80 grams. This item appears in my book, “How the Watch was Worn, A Fashion for 500 Years” on page 34.
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