At first glance, one can make argument for this being a period oil painting of French King Louis XV. Not a dead-likeness, however, and so I suspect it is another dignitary or Royal. I am not in doubt of the age of it, c.1700s. I've had and seen museum examples of oil paintings on copper plaque. The portrait is easier to date than is the box, frankly. I've looked at it for a long time, and I love the painting. I think it is not likely to have been originally mounted on this box. Perhaps it came from a frame, or maybe from a snuff box, but it is mounted oddly for the time period. I feel like it's a marriage. That said, both the oil painting and the large round box remain in fine condition. The painting has such a look of the Vernis Martin manner of painting and decorative objects from mid-1700s. The way it is layered with oil paint and varnish, and yet the colors remain vibrant. It's a lost art, and while objects were still created more than 100 years later (and more) in something similar, those darken more and in a way not the same. Something to do with the proprietary Martin Brothers' varnish which has not been found again. I digress. Even if it is a marriage, one of my favorites. Given research, I feel sure we could find exactly whom he is. Perhaps a Prussian Royal. I'll leave it to the next owner.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, there is a very small place on his forehead which shows light, as if the final layer of varnish lifted there. Otherwise, this painting rivals any museum piece, early to mid-1700s. As noted above, I do not think the painting belongs to this box, which I would date a century later in time. Lathe-turned ivory, nicely preserved, as well. If I could fine traces of an old Vernis Martin having ever decorated the exterior, it might feel more right to me. A snuff box of the era of the painting would most likely be fully decorated in layered oil painting and varnish, similarly to the painting. But additionally, slightly large for that era, and typically a snuff box would be entirely lined in tortoise shell. I've grouped it with some snuff boxes of the era, and also items decorated in the Vernis Martin manner and from the era of the portrait.
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.
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