This is one of the most whimsical and unusual boxes that we have seen from the late 19th century. It originates from the south of France and dates towards 1880.
It served as a watch holder and trinket box. The wooden structure forms the shape of a dressing chair. The structure is covered in padding, then fine French blue velvet. There is a pretty beveled mirror at the top center with a small floral hook to hold a lady's pocket watch. There is delicate brass (not polished) ormolu adorning the lid (a floral bouquet and a fanciful cartouche which was meant for engraved initials. A very pretty two part latch (the latch no longer closes completely because of the changes made in the space between the lid and the box due to humidity, cold, heat, etc.) is mounted at the center. There is a figural bronze cat at the top right front who appears to be jumping out from the interior of the box. The verdis gris and the glints of brass give an additional interest to the figure. There is a band of brass fleur de lis at the bottom front.
The interior of the box is lined in velvet and fine silk brocade. The pretty cushion is tufted with pink silk covered buttons. The back is covered in fine silk brocade. The bottom still bears half of the original store etiquette. It measures: 8 3/4" tall (back center) 3 1/2" tall (front center to lid) , 4 3/4" across and 4 1/2" deep. The box interior measures 2 1/2" deep. It is in very good antique condition: The original mirror shows no cracks, the velvet has darkened with age, some staining at top right lid under ormolu cartouche. The paper covering the underneath bottom has cracked at the center with age. The interior and back are remarkably fresh: one small tear at the bottom left of the back: wear to silk tufted buttons. The velvet retains the wonderful "hand" of old velvets that just cannot be compared to today.
The mischievous kitten with it's little bell around it's neck gives such personality to this dresser piece. It is a bewitching accessory from the late 19th century.
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French Antiques: 19th Century French Smalls: Sewing, Religious, Bronze Figures-French Books and Bindings