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Fabulous Watch-form Staffordshire Enamel Patch Box Macaroni Chatelaine with Chain, late 18th Century
In the late 18th century, there were several styles for ladies to wear their watch. One was the so called Macaroni chatelaine where the watch was visible and the chain was draped behind the belt to reveal the remaining section of the chain and the trinkets. The Macaronis were the dandies of the era. Sometimes, two items were worn on either side of the skirt – one being a watch and the other possibly being a fausse montre or ‘false watch’. This is such an example. This very special fausse montre is of delightfully naïve Staffordshire enamel with a scene of two children playing and chasing a butterfly. The watch face is of white enamel with numerals and a solid pair of hands which are independently movable. There is also a non-functional aperture for supposedly winding the watch. The surprise comes when this is opened in classic 18th century watch style. It reveals an interior that declares itself as a patch box as the base is of white enamel and it has a polished steel mirror. The metal of the watch is likely to be a base metal and the bow of the watch is of typical shape for the era. This attaches to a linked chain which holds an attractive seal with an apparent carnelian, which is not engraved, and a fairly basic style watch key. The whole piece then can be called a Macaroni chatelaine. Images of Marie Antoinette show her wearing visible chains and trinkets on either side of her skirt and these could well have had a watch at the top. The condition of the watch and patch box is very good for age but there has been some skillful restoration of the pink enamel surrounding the dial. The chain, key and seal are in very good condition for age. This is therefore a special and desirable watch-form Macaroni chatelaine concealing a patch box. Maximum length 12 ins (30.5cm). Diameter 1.75 ins (4.5cm). Weight 62 grams. This item can be seen in the book, "Chatelaines - Utility to Glorious Extravagance", on page 111 and in "How the Watch was Worn - A Fashion for 500 Years", on page 211.
Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: Gold, Size: Maximum length 12 ins (30.5cm). Diameter 1.75 ins (4.5cm). Weight 62 grams.
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Genevieve Cummins, Sydney, Australia
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