An extremely rare little box from the early to mid 18th century that was made with pure artistry and skill. Having a penchant for straw work items from the 18th and early 19th century and having retailed many rare examples of Napoleonic prisoner of war (1793 to 1815) period items over the past 20 years, we are excited to have discovered a much earlier example that uses the very scarce straw weaving technique for decoration.
Produced in France or Italy this small circular box from the 1700 to 1750's period would have belonged to a wealthy lady, perhaps given as a love token to store her patches, pins etc. At first glance one would assume this box to be covered in embroidered needlework, on closer inspection you will be amazed to find that it is covered in minute, strips of split, dyed then woven STRAW!!! This box would have been made most likely at a fabric workshop more than a marquetry workshop at that time. See the woven fabrics from Perugia, Italy of this same period which are similar. Please also see an identical box at The Met Museum, New York (Accession Number: 91.1.918a, b), also similar pair of shoes from the same period using the same intricate straw work technique at both the V & A Museum London (item T.69&A-1947) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Accession number: 44.506a-b).
Our circular box has a lift off, slightly domed lid. The lid has a very attractive, symmetrical design of two birds flanking a spray of stylized Carnation flowers. The Carnation of Gillyflower was popular during the 17th and 18th century and its design was used a lot on furnishings, sweet bags, purses and pincushions. The fine lengths of straw would have been split using a straw splitter, then dyed and finally woven/couched under a fine backing support of linen type thread. The finished design is phenomenal. We see a very slightly differing design to the base. The sides of both lid and base again worked in an almost Florentine/flame stitch straw work design. One lifts the lid to reveal a plain straw plait lining to both lid and base.
Size: 2.5" (6.5 cm) diameter by 1" (2.5 cm) tall.
Condition: This box is over 250 years old, it is not pristine but it is in VERY good, sound condition considering that over two centuries have passed and of course the fragility and delicacy of the material. There is some minor fading to the lid when one compares it to the base. Minimal straw damage to the very edges of the lid. Wear to the edges of the straw base. The interior is in good sound condition.
A RARE, museum worthy marvel to add to your distinguished collection of 18th century antiques. We adore it, we feel sure that you will too.
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Rarest French Miniature 18th Century Woven Straw Work Box, Birds, Gillyflower, Circa 1700 to 1750 MUSEUM WORTHY
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