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The beautiful figural red-throat bird which graces the front of this pieces appears to have just landed with his packet of letters. The letter holder originates from France and dates towards 1880-1890.
It is a solid piece, of gilded bronze. The circular base has a 1/2" wide embellishment of engraved circles and curves which have painted white enamel accents. Small emerald paste stones enhance this design. The base is layered upward and is accented with another row of emerald paste stones. The pedestal has lovely curves and supports the very fanciful letter holder nicely. The holder is made up of three leaves. The front leaf is highly embellished with engraved circles and curved (accented with white enamel). There are emerald paste stones glittering within the design (one stone missing). A large 2 dimensional bird, wings outspread, elegantly ornaments the panel. He has exquisite detailing in his feathers and muscles. He has been painted to depict the exact coloring of the French bird, "Gorge Rouge".
The center panel (slightly shorter) has been left plain. The back panel has a 1/2" interior design which matches the front panel (enamel flowers/scrolls, emerald paste stones). There is 3/8" space between the front and middle leaf and 1/2" space between the middle and back leaf. The measurements are:5 1/4" tall, the letter holder 5" wide, the diameter of the base 3 1/4" wide. The piece is in very good antique condition, it is solid with minimal wear according to age: bits of enamel missing as is typical with use and age, slight paint loss to the figural bird, There is one missing stone as mentioned above. The gilded patina remains bright and shimmering.
It is an unusual piece, which could be used to display a treasured photo or small letters on a lovely antique desk.
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Antique 19th c. French Gilded Bronze Porte Lettre/Letter Holder
French Antiques: 19th Century French Smalls: Sewing, Religious, Bronze Figures-French Books and Bindings