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Antique French Napoleon III Tulipwood Vanity Box w/signed Pastel Medallion and Bronze Ormolu
The absolutely exquisite tulipwood used for this box is of the utmost luxury. The box dates from the later half of the Napoleon III period, around 1850. It comes from Paris.
The expert workmanship (in the quality of the fine workshops of Paris, but not signed) of this box indicates that it was made in one of the great box making houses of Paris. Often houses such as Tahan and Giroux made boxes to sell to other shops, leaving their signature off of the bronze lock face. Fine tulipwood has been used, which was popular with master craftsmen for it's distinctive grain and rich coloring. The box has a scalloped shape, which is extremely hard to do with tulipwood, which has a dense quality that is hard to cut.
The lid has three tiers. The first is a brass framed glass oval which has a hand drawn (in pastel) bouquet of lilacs and bluebells (signed by the artist, but very faint to make out...bottom right corner). The bouquet is in lovely shades of periwinkle, pink and soft greens. The next tier is a scalloped band with a frame of bronze ormolu (in the form of tiny balls). The wood has been cut so that the grain forms a herringbone design. The last tier is a wide band with the wood grain cut (in "book match" form) to match the second tier. Beautiful bronze ormolu drapes down from the box edge with festoons and swags.
The body of the box has a scalloped form with much attention paid to the grain of the wood. There is a fine bronze lock (and key...working). There is a frame of bronze ormolu at the bottom which repeats the frame from the top with tiny ball shapes. There are four fine bronze feet with fancy scroll bottoms.
The interior is lined with sumptuous French blue moire silk. there is a bronze hinge and lock visible. The bottom has been covered with a black textured paper. The box measures: 3 1/2" x 7 1/2" x 3 1/2" tall. The interior measures: 1 3/4" deep. The oval pastel medallion measures: 2 7/8" x 2 3/8".
The workmanship of this box cannot be matched today. The exotic wood combined with the original pastel medallion are exceptional.
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