A handsome mid century enamel embellished powder compact from the Mad Men era.
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 3 ins (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1950s to 1960s
MATERIALS: metal, glass, enamel
This is a pretty and unusual purse shaped compact whose base material is brass. The lid is brass and has an inset enamel design. The motif features a gold sunburst set against a pale blue enamel ground.
Marked “Stratton” on the back.
Inside the lid is a mirror and a compartment for powder. The hinge is not loose and and the closure snaps shut and works well. There is a powder puff but no sifter. The 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.
The British firm of Stratton began production in the 1930s, but the heyday of the company was during the 1950s – 1960s. They produced compacts in a wide range of styles and materials. However by the 1980s the company was in decline and was sold in 1997. Although the name Stratton survives the compacts are no longer made in Britain.
By the 1950s the makers of compacts and similar vanity items were competing to satisfy the demand for luxury goods. Manufacturing confidence soared in the mid century, and the production of such items was at its height. Many compacts were given a luxurious appearance by the inclusion of exotic materials (whether genuine or faux) such as mother or pearl, tortoiseshell, jade and coral. The lids and cases are often encrusted with fancy decals set with rhinestones and faux pearls.
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