An exceptional c.1750-70s French table snuff, nearly 4" in diameter, and a splendid work of art in the Vernis Martin decorative style (layering of paint and varnish to achieve a dimensional painting. Marie-Antoinette's favorite decorative style, it is in evidence in her personal quarters in the Palace of Versailles and turns up typically on small items like snuff boxes and billet doux, though in its time, decorated walls, furniture, carriages. This is an extra large 'table snuff', which would never have been carried in purse or pocket, which might help explain its fine condition. Also, though, upon close inspection it appears it has had some professional restoration. I can see a few chips to the painting along the outer sides, yet none on the top or bottom, all of which is elegantly painted in still life, florals and bugs, a bird's nest with eggs, all worked on a machined surface (guilloche) which shines and shimmers through the semitransparent red - do you see it? The interior, typical of snuff boxes, is tortoise shell and is in very fine condition for age, as well. The edging at top and bottom looks like 18k gold but is French vermeil, 18k gold on silver. The center rings, however, which join and encircle the entire box beautifully are solid 18k gold (acid tested). What a spectacular beauty this one is. Show stopper, opulent!
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. The box is lathe-turned wood, lined in fine tortoise shell (typical for snuff boxes), and decorated in the painting process known as Vernis Martin. As noted above, I can see a few chips to the Vernis Martin paintings around the sides/perimeter, here or there. They seem to me to have had restoration, but you can find them if you look closely, an affirmation of its advanced age. In those spots you can also see the guilloche (machined) surface over which the paintings have been done. Truly magnificent miniature still life paintings, both top and bottom and around the entire perimeter, making it a museum worthy work of 18th century art. Size makes it a stand-out, as well.
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.