Offering this matching pair of c. 1870-80s French made gutta percha frames made for the old cabinet card photos of that period. Gutta percha was a very early cartable material of rather mysterious content. I've read it was super-fine sawdust in a suspension of proteins like casein and perhaps other blood products, as well. It was perhaps the world's first "plastic", and was moldable into the fine detail you see here, in a time when hand carved wood was both very popular and also expensive. The thrilling bas relief achieved with moulds was an early industrialized production method and you'll find objects and primarily early photograph cases and frames like these. We've had hand mirrors, desktop items and inkwells, and perpetual calendars, a cigar case or two and even a couple of barometer cases of this material over the years. These two frames, lovely as they are in an inventive 2-tone, are elegant remainders of the Napoleon III decorative era, and they will remain together in the sale.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. While it's amazing to have these without breaks and chips, I will point out that in the casting or some time afterward, there has been a little bowing the the thick cast material and one is slightly more warped than the other. I've had a photo of it on its back so you can see what I mean. In display it really isn't distracting. They display beautifully. But we want you to know it's got some arch to it. Easel backs remain fully intact on both frames and the cover glass is still with each one. The overall measurement of each is 10.5" x 7.75" and a heavy .75" thick. The aperture shows a 5.5" x 3.75" rectangle. The backs are wood with wood easel, all original.