During the c.1848-70 reign of Emperor Napoleon III (Louis Napoleon), Empress Eugenie's tastes in decor and fashion were closely followed. She was the Jackie Kennedy of her time. Decorative objects in the Chinoise and Japonaise, Empire revival, dark colors and red and black coalesced into the main Victorian aesthetic of "too much is not enough". The Industrialist era opened the world to Grand Tour tourism, spurring markets for decorative objects in that era, as well. This exquisitely formed wood chest, hand decorated in those wonderful themes and forms, and elevated not only by aesthetic but also by the 4 glass-eyed carved dragon feet, would have been a coveted treasure in its time, and it remains so today. Measurements are noted on the photos.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, you will note its lacquered exterior has some loss to the hands which opened it with those front lobes (the ones at back retain their beautiful paintings). While it's rather unusual to find them with all 4 of the original carved dragon feet, 3 of these each have small chips on the wings. You won't notice it until you turn it upside down. It displays beautifully, and age showing does not hurt the value or popularity of these, after all. Gorgeous columns on the 4 corners. There is some loss where the hinges are, and 1 hinge has only 1 screw and could benefit from addition of another. We'll see if we have an old one to fit. A little roughness here or there, but the overall quality exceeds any flaws. Quite a beauty, and just in from France. The interior is empty, does not show any fittings indicating it was not always thus. I think it is a jewelry box, given size, though would be a wonderful sewing box if you'd like it to be, or fabulous for cigars, as well.