A handsome Art Deco Gwenda compact with morpho butterfly wings decoration.
CONDITION: some wear to the back commensurate with age; inside and lid in good vintage condition
SIZE: 3 ins (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1930s
MATERIALS: metal, glass, butterfly wing
A 1930s vintage Brazilian blue powder compact by Gwenda. An unusual and rare powder compact in silver tone metal, round in form with blue morpho butterfly wings to background. It is overlaid with an illustrative design of a young “crinoline” lady with a basket and billowing skirts.
Marked to inner hinge Gwenda, England.
Inside the lid is a mirror and a compartment for powder with a spring up fitting. The hinge is not loose and the closure snaps shut and works well. There is a powder puff and sifter. The case has case has previously contained product but has now been cleaned out.
The collage photograph shows illustrations taken from contemporary ads for compacts, makeup and beauty products. Mid century advertisements were designed evoke an aura of glamour and romance.
Most of the compacts utilizing wings from the morpho butterfly for decoration seem to have been produced somewhere between the 1920s and the 1950s. Thomas Mott who exhibited at the 1924 Great Empire Exhibition is credited with the rise in popularity of this art form. It was used to decorate not only powder compacts but also jewelry, small pictures, trays and other vanity objects.
This type of jewellery is not instantly recognizable as being made from butterfly wings because the wing itself forms the background of the piece, rather than the main feature. The colour of the wings are often a vibrant blue, so it lends itself to a water or sky motif. Then, an artist may reverse paint the forefront of the scene to make the piece of jewellery or vanity item that you are viewing.
The pictures of crinoline ladies, children or birds are considered the most desirable, but tropical paradise scenes are also appealing.
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