A handsome Art Deco Coty compact with morpho butterfly wings decoration.
CONDITION: some wear to the back commensurate with age; inside and lid in good vintage condition
SIZE: 2 inches round (5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1930s
MATERIALS: metal, glass, butterfly wing
A 1930s vintage powder compact by Coty. An unusual and rare powder miniature compact in brass, round in form with blue morpho butterfly wings to background. It is overlaid with an illustrative design of a tree placed against a rural landscape
Marked on the back COTY, Paris. Very good condition, contains puff.
Inside the lid is a mirror and a compartment for powder. The hinge is not loose and the closure snaps shut and works well. There is a powder puff but no sifter. The case has case has previously contained product.
Initially make up was regarded as rather daring and most compacts were imported from France. However attitudes were changing in the early 20th century and Coty was one of the great French perfume houses who began producing compacts in the 1920s and 1930s. These compacts usually have a base with a design on the back which resembles watered silk and are signed with COTY, Paris in a cartouche.
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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