A charming little kiln-fired enamel coin purse dating to the Napoleon III era (Victorian) c. 1850-70, and either French or Vienna enamel, as both were producing similar beautiful little enamel items during that time. This process, which I've written about many times, is one only accomplished with the skill of years and years of practice. The enamel powders are various shades of muddy mauve, taupe, blues, not the least resembling the color they will become once the kiln melts them into the glassine or porcelain like finished product you see here. So an artist is layering on stroke after stroke, working quite literally blind as far as the colors and spacing of the finished outcome he/she hopes to achieve. It is the memory that guides the hand in this art. And subject to such whims of nature and memory, it's always amazing to me that they come out with anything but a glob. I've tried this art, myself, and believe me, it's very difficult. I mostly get globs. The nature of the process is part of the reason why these old kiln-fired objects have such a following and bring the prices they continue to bring.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, this one is enameled on both front and back panels, not a flawless example but a rare form in that we almost never see this type of work done on a coin purse. Perhaps they've all been lost to damage over time. We'll be sending this one to our enamelist for restoration but in case you happen to love it just as it is, we're offering it at a reduced price, as is, and when it returns without visible damage, the price will be $300 higher. If you buy, and it's at the enamelist's for restoration still, we can reserve it for you at the higher price. She does superb restorations for us! The interior and the leather sides (which are pleated to expand in width as the little purse is filled) are both in good to excellent condition as well, for age and type. Lovely foil-baked enamel with a superb bouquet there in the cartouche on front. Measures 3.25" x 2" and is .5" deep without contents (as you see it). Does expand a bit. Wear at the leather hinge, as you can see, but it is intact.