Maker: Aucoc ainé (Louis Aucoc, Paris - see final image for information about the lauded French firm, silversmith), leading Parisian jeweler and goldsmith, silversmith, c.1850s. Counting the immaculate hardwood chest, lift-out trays and all pieces (lid/jar = 1 pc), there are over 50 pieces to this monumental c.1850s French nécessaire. The dressing box is overly large at 14" x 10 1/4" and 7" tall, and the total weight would require a valet for sure - nearly 40 lbs! The condition of this one is just immaculate for age, with every original item still inside and in unused and fine condition, more than 170 years old. The chest is solid old hardwood, deep chocolate with a bit of cognac showing up top. Engraved inlaid brass, heavy pencil edging and finest fittings, including fully recessed handles. The photos show you levels and contents, to include vanity jars, scent and perfume bottles, huge array of vanity and sewing implements in perfect condition, a full Coffee service, including heater. The lift-out vanity mirror is a work of art, as well, with easel stand and hanging loop, and the drapery hanging hook among the implements on tray. The crest above the monogram is an eagle with a crown, and the 2 comprise the cartouche. Working lock with original key, with metallic thread and bead passementerie tassel - such elegance! Imagine traveling with this set, or just enjoying it in your own dressing room. Truly a work of art worthy of King, Queen or museum. I would lean to it having been created for a Noblewoman, but only because there are not razors in the mix. The lift-our tray with embroidery set is in fine 18k gold on sterling silver (vermeil).
Very good to excellent condition throughout. This magnificent travel chest appears to have never been used at all. Not a bit of loss nor damage to note. All handles are pristine, all heavy sterling silver items, caps are without ding nor dent. There is not a tiny nip on any of the 10 fine bottles and jars and vanity boxes, one of which clamps closed for snuff. The nested coffee service is quite incredible, as well. Riser, heater, pot with elegant tortoise shell handle, carat for coffee, and the timbale from which to drink it. Every bit of silver has Minerve #1 (900/1000 pure silver) and the maker mark for Aucoc ainé, silversmiths, Paris, a lauded company in various generations from 1821 through 1932, when it left Aucoc family's ownership.
This chest has come to me from a private collection, a customer of ours, and is written up in various books and websites noting the world's finest boxes. I quote a prior owner (who wishes to be unnamed) here: "
Taking over from Pierre-Dominique Maire, the highly respected ‘Nécessaire de Voyage’ manufacturer, the company of Aucoc was started by Jean-Baptiste Casimir Aucoc in 1821. Based at 154 Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, Casimir worked primarily a silversmith, his speciality also being in the manufacture of ‘Nécessaire de Voyage’ dressing and travelling cases. His reputation for fine work gained him the appointment to King Charles X. In 1835, he moved the business to 4 & 6 Rue de la Paix in Paris, expanding into goldsmithing. Casimir was joined in business by his son, Louis around 1850, and they went on to win a prize medal for their dressing cases at the Great Exhibition of 1851. By 1854, Louis was at the forefront of the business after Casimir’s retirement that same year. On the birth of Louis’ son (also called Louis) in 1850, Louis (the father) was then referred to as Louis Ainé (the elder)".
"Louis Aucoc Ainé kept up the the great tradition of manufacturing and retailing Nécessaires, whilst also expanding further into the production of decorative jewellery. By this time, the business had acquired appointments to King Louis-Philippe I and then Napoleon III, as well as other members of the royal family. It was during the mid 1870’s, that Louis’ son took over the helm of the business. In 1876, a sixteen year old Rene Lalique was given an apprenticeship by Louis Aucoc, which was to last two years. On the purchase of the Parisian jewellery business of Lobjois in 1877, Louis renamed the family business to La Maison Aucoc. In 1900, Louis’s younger brother, André, was in control of the business, returning it to its roots by focusing again on silversmithing."
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.