Artist attribution: Jean-Baptiste PERRONNEAU* (c.1715/16 - 1793) (*or circle/apprentice thereof) or better. "Perronneau was, after Maurice-Quentin de la Tour, his older contemporary. Perronneau was the most famous specialist of portraiture in pastel in 18th-century France. The use of pastel as a medium had become fashionable in Paris after the visit of the Venetian artist, Rosalba Carriera in 1719-20." (National Gallery of Art). Perronneau is represented in many world class museum collections.
Perronneau was born in Paris and is thought to have been trained by Charles-Joseph Natoire and by the engraver Laurent Cars. He began his career as an engraver before turning to portraiture, in oil as well as in pastel. He became a member of the Academy in 1753. In France Perronneau was less successful than La Tour, who portrayed most of the leading figures of the age. Perronneau spent a wandering life, which took him to Italy in 1759, to Russia in 1781 and frequently to Amsterdam, where he died.
All that expression captured in a face just 1/2" from chin to hairline. This is a truly exceptional c.1750-70s portrait miniature, I believe it is a casual intimate portrait of ill-fated French King Louis XVI (see comparison image among our photos). Some time ago, I offered a similarly casual portrait miniature snuff box of Mme. du Barry, mistress of Louis XVI's father, King Louis XV. History tells us Louis XVI did not have a mistress, but this casual period portrait reminds me of hers. She sat in casual boudoir dress at a small table, with a blue and white tea cup and saucer. Likewise, in my collection was another portrait miniature of a famed author, silk dressing gown similar to this, fashion of their time. I have no proof of this being King Louis XVI, but my own visual knowledge of the features, so I'll simply mention the likeness. The rounded oval aperture mount is 18k gold, as is the front piece clasp, and the quality and condition of the superb tortoise shell rectangular table stuff also would suggest it's been in private collection for centuries. Beautifully crafted throughout - one can only imagine if it's an intimate gift for his queen (Marie-Antoinette). Full measurements noted on the photos.
Excellent condition for age and type, 2 minor flaws you will not ever notice but I'll point to them for full disclosure: inner thin lip has a small section chip, and below the hinge on back is a barely visible imperfection in the tortoise shell - not a break but a shadow like a flashing hairline (both marked with 'x' on our photos.) There is no loss or damage to the fabulous painting, its original cover glass and 18k gold trim. Note the unique oval form/polished presentation inside lid, a covering for the portrait mount. Exceptionally fine quality. Definitely a museum quality piece, yet we do not have an artist signature visible. I have never taken him out to examine outer rim nor backside for clues or signatures, for fear of causing some damage. The finish on the old tortoise shell is exceptionally fine, as well. Found in France.
IMPORTANT NOTE regarding antique tortoise shell or ivory: We are great supporters of protection for endangered species in our modern world. We never buy or sell anything 100 years or newer; we donate to anti-poaching organizations; we don't hunt; we conserve in ways that impact global warming (we're totally solar at home), knowing those measures also protect the animals in the wild today. We also recognize the vast cultural history we preserve with our care and reverence for these antique objects, and agree with CITES that objects over 100 years of age have nothing whatsoever to do with species depletion in our current world.
Our offering exceeds the age limitation of "more than 100 years of age", and is well within the exemption for CITES regulation. If imported, met the CITES regulation. This item will be handled and shipped from our Utah business, and is not available for shipment internationally, nor within the USA to California, NY, Nevada, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington if it contains ivory, sorry. Please see our small print for more details.