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Antique 18th Century Love Letter Case Billet Doux Bodkin Case French Circa 1780 Georgian
Antique 18th Century Love Letter Case Billet Doux French Circa 1780 Georgian
We are delighted to offer, direct from France this wonderfully romantic love letter holder (billet doux - translated as "sweet note/ token/ ticket"). This stunning example is hand painted over a wood veneer base then lacquered. This form of decoration is very similar to the Vernis Martin technique. The hand inked/ painted figures are dressed in very detailed 18th century costume, we adore the gentleman's long coat with its many, many buttons and the young ladies open robe. This container would have been used for exchanging rolled secret letters or correspondence....it had to be very clandestine when all eyes were on you at court!!!
Measuring 5.5" by 1".
This letter case depicts two different scenes. The bottom scene depicts a young pair of lovers. The young man with cap in hand appears to be articulating his undying love for his beloved. The upper scene depicts the same couple in their twilight years, the gentleman bringing his elderly seated wife a love bird. So very sweet and very charming, surely a sign of intended commitment and loyalty by the original bearer of the love letter. To open this romantic etui you simply pull the two halves apart. Inside you will find the original horn lining.
Condition after 235 years is very good but not perfect. There is one small drying crack to the wood found on the tip of the upper section ( see image). There is some minor roughness, flaked lacquer to the central washer which also has a teeny surface crack about 1/16" in size only. The two sections pull and push together very snuggly just as they were intended to do.
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Victoria and Joseph Clark
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