A sumptuous vision, this highly gilded and curvaceous box originates from Paris. It dates within the period of Napoleon III, 1850-1870.
The frame is an outstanding piece of expert metal workmanship. The very fanciful "skirt", to which the legs are attached has a pretty little row of scallops at the top. There is a continuing vine, encircling the bottom skirt, which is embellished with plump round globes which resemble grapes. Each leg is formed from a large cartouche (with elements of acanthus leaves, arabesques and scrolls). Attached to the skirt is an inner box frame (you can see the bottom band slightly above the scalloped edge of the skirt. Four hand cut diamond shaped medallions follow the oval form of the inner box. Each medallion has a central hand cut design of scrolls and arabesques. There is a framing band at the top. The opening to the box has a mounted cap which has a bottom scalloped edge.
The lid of the box is rounded upward. There is a large hand cut diamond shaped medallion which crosses the center. Arabesques fill the entire center; a small chased circle is at the center. There is an encircling ring with alternating globes mounted to the edge of the lid. The open areas of the outer box are lined with crimson silk. This is a unique accent typical of the period. The interior of the box retains the original lock works. It is lined with creme silk (a later lining than the box frame). There is no key surviving with the box.
It measures: 4 3/4" high, 5 3/4" across and 4 1/2" deep at the widest point. The interior measures 2 1/4" deep. It is in very good antique condition: some missing (very tiny) pins which attach the metal together, but these are not crucial to the soundness of the design or box.
The heavy gilding and very unusual combination of design elements give this box a dramatic countenance. It is a wonderful example of the extravagant taste of the period Napoleon III.
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Fine French Small Antiques; Gilded Bronze, Objets of Vertu, Antique Books, Napoleon III, Porte Montre, Cast Bronze