This magnificent bottle was top-of-the-line in it's day with its two compartments, hand engraved vermeil silver and multiple forms of enamel work. What makes it even better is it's wonderful overall condition as it appears to have spent most of its life in its original presentation box.
This amazing bottle had to have been very special to someone and was their prized possession. The enamel work has embedded patterned foil and is comprised of several different levels of gold foil as well as what appears to be silver foil covered with translucent green enamel for those leaves and green circles. The bottle also has enamel "jewels" which are those raised opalescent dots located on the horizontal lines of gold foil circles that border the flower motifs. You then find beautifully done, delicate flowers and leaves hand-painted on those two rows of white enamel. Even the base of the bottle has gold foil work. The enamel on this bottle is a work of art!
The enamel has no nicks, chips, cracks, scratches, abrasions or repairs. I found a couple of those smaller then 1/64 inch flea bites as well as some light surface wear to the bottom rim as would be expected. In the 1/8" wide green enamel band located at the top of the bottom compartment (see photo 8-red arrow) there is a 3/4" long area containing bruising with a spot of crazing or cracks under the clear top coat. The area starts under the center of the bottom compartment's flange and moves to the right. You can find 3 photo inserts in the last picture. The top insert green arrows show the flange with the red arrows showing the 3/4" long area location. The following 2 inserts have been over exposed to give a more accurate view of the spots. Those milky white horizontal stripes are reflection. The center insert's arrows show an approx. 1/16" triangle spot. To it's right is an approx. 1/8" unaffected area and then the beginning of the area shown in the last insert. The last insert shows a 9/16" long area that is bruising with some crack/crazing underneath in it's first 3/16". I have ran my fingernail at two different angles over the 3/4" long area and there appears to be no surface crack. If your nail hits the gold foil of the dot jewels you will as expected get drag.
The vermeil silver mountings are wonderfully designed and give a fabulous finished look to the bottle. The surface of the silver is just covered with hand engraved pattern work. Note the wonderful lid with its repetition of three different vertical panel patterns comprised of graceful curves, hand engraving and different levels of dimension. The silver mountings have no dents, cracks, scratches, abrasions or repairs. With close intense inspection you can find an original makers flaw of minute holes to spots in the silver where the engraving tool went to deep (see example in photo # 4). Both of the hinges are all original and in smooth working order. Both closures close with a loud click and stay firmly closed. The vermeil (a form of gold plating) is in excellent plus condition with a light but even toned subtle gold color. The bottom compartment's vermeil is also even toned, but a bit brighter and it may never have been used. The compartment was most likely for sweetmeats (breath mints) or snuff.
The bottle comes with its original presentation box as seen in the photo. The box is intact with it's leatherette exterior showing some wear and a surface crack to the box across the bottom. It's hinge is in smooth working order and the lid does not wobble. Both the interior lid lining and the velveteen base show discoloration. The one ribbon hinge (for want of a better word) has almost entirely broken loose from it's base. The box's push button closure closes with a loud click and stays firmly closed. The bottom of the box has an old label of unknown age and purpose.
I found a makers mark located in the base of the bottom compartment and two silver content marks one on a rim and one on the compartment's closure flange. It is the French Boars Head that originated in 1838 and is a guarantee for a minimum of 800 silver. The bottle stands 3 7/8 inches tall by 2 inches wide by 1 9/16 inches deep. This dual-purpose bottle would be a high point in a scent, snuff or enamel collection. It's numerous styles of high quality enamel work and fabulous hand silver work are a prime example why a Limoges enamel is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, in the antique world.
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