The atelier of Alphonse Giroux was one of the most prestigious workshops in Paris in the mid to late 19th century. This family business (dating from the 18th century) produced magnificent cast metal accessories and fancy boxes. This breathtaking photo frame has provenance from this atelier, stamped on the tripod "Mon Alph. Giroux Paris. It dates towards 1870, at the latter period of Napoleon III.
The cast metal ormolu of this piece are fanciful and imaginative. Two full figure cherubs with fantastically large wings sit at the bottom sides, one regarding a mirror and the other holding a jewel chest. They sit on ethereal scrolling cartouche which extend to form long leaves. The bottom center joins the leaves and presents a large acanthus leaf cartouche at the center. The face of the mirror has a 1/2" wide band of fine champleve work. Enamel in hues of French blue, Kelly green, Crimson red, Midnight blue and White combine to form a repeating floral design which is interspersed by a floating gilded brass inlay. The glass of the picture frame is beveled (and has a blue silk lining where the photo would be placed). Atop the mirror a large full figure young lady is seated, regarding her countenance in a hand mirror. She sits on a curved chair which forms the central cartouche. Cascading ribbons and roses adorn the shoulders of the mirror.
The support is in the form of a tripod leg at the back. There is also a very large ring at the top for hanging. The back attaches with five small screws. The figural pieces attach with a small screw at the bottom; the angel on the right side will turn a bit as the connection has worn with age. The screw could be replaced but we respect the history of the piece and are leaving this decision to the final owner.
The measurements are:10" tall and 6 1/2" wide. The tripod stands out 5 1/2" deep. The frame measures 7" x 5 1/4" : the glass portion for the picture measures 5" x 3 1/2". The figures measures 2" tall. The frame is in very good antique condition with only the one small quirk of the bottom right cherub. The enamel is in good condition; the mirror has no cracks or chips. The tripod functions normally.
It is a spectacular example from this very respected atelier in Paris. Most likely designed for a young lady, perhaps as a gift from her fiancee, it has the utmost quality in luxury and design. Pieces of this caliber are just not found in today's market; this glorious gilded beauty is a precious treasure.
Magnificent Antique Napoleon III Champleve Gilded Bronze Cadre/Frame signed Giroux