A beautiful woman who would have lived during the reign of French King Louis XIV, XV and perhaps XVI, this hand painted miniature dates c. 1740-50s and is beautifully preserved for such advanced age, atop the lathe-carved tortoise shell snuff box. Lots of individually set pique decoration in 18k gold (acid-tested), nickel silver (lower than .800) and a lower grade gold or perhaps brass. Complicated, the pieces incised one by one and cut, set into the tortoise shell. The painting is shown in our photos only through the convex cover glass, as I didn't want to dismount it. The cover glass is quite clean, and it shows the painting is also clean and undamaged. No signature and no ID, but her fashion and that of the box each assure the date. Box is 3 1/8" in diameter, 1 1/8" tall, closed. It does close smoothly over a silver and 18k gold vermeil lip. There are no gold marks. We have plenty of examples, museum and our own, from this period that have that thin (but not foil) 18k gold front on the typical brass mount - rather usual for this era and quality. Her face is 3/4", chin to hairline.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, it has what I think is an 18k thin mat facing surrounding the painting, which is housed under the original convex cover glass. I did not dismount the portrait, and prefer not to scratch enough on a surface to do acid test. I did test the gold pique and it does test 18k. Such intricate work! Sometimes these pique incisions weaken the old shell, and you can see there is a hairline on the bottom (easier to see on the photo of the interior) as well as a shrinkage hairline on the side of the lid, each detailed in the photos for your review.
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.