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A handsome Art Deco foil embellished powder compact from the 1930s
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 3 ins (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1930s
MATERIALS: metal, glass, metallic foil
This is a pretty compact whose base material is brass. The lid is brass and has an inset pictorial design of a figural “crinoline” lady with billowing skirts and a parasol. She is depicted in a garden against the skyline which is composed of ice blue metallic foil.
Marked Gwenda on the inside.
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 no powder puff or 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. Metallic foil was also used, as here, as an alternative. Both foil and butterfly wings were used to decorate not only powder compacts but also jewelry, small pictures, trays and other vanity objects.
In this type of object the wing or foil forms the background of the piece, rather than the main feature. It is most often used as 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.
In foil or butterfly wing decorated compacts pictures of crinoline ladies, children or birds are considered the most desirable, but tropical paradise scenes are also appealing.
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Gwenda powder compact 1930s foiled, crinoline lady
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