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Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case
Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case
Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case
Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case
Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case
Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case
Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case
Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case
Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case

Antique c.1700s Shagreen Nécessaire, 18k Gold Mounts, Gentleman's Vanity Case

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A fabulous find! And a project if you want to search out the proper interior tools to finish this exceptionally fine c.1750-80s chatelaine vanity case, etui. The green covering is, of course, the finest belly leather of the stingray. The fittings and cartouche test 18k gold and elevate the museum quality case, as well. The top bale means this one would have once hung from an elaborate 18k gold chatelaine, which sets it apart a bit from the usual vest pocket necessaire. Sadly, it has come to us from France without a single interior fitted tool. Just the openings into which you would have placed them. It is obvious it would have held a pocket knife, a pencil, a small note pad likely and also a measurement tool. This fitted inset helps us visualize this as the necessaire of a gentleman who navigated, or designed, or was architect or military officer or Royal, as it's a writer's fitting. The folding knife would have been to cut a quill for the small pen, I think. Isn't it just exceptional. The interior fittings are not 18k gold. Only those outside and the lip of the top and bottom. Still, look how perfectly preserved it has been for these 250 years.

Very good to excellent as you see it, though it lacks the interior tools. Still a superb display etui. I collect these, and it's very rare to find a complete and well preserved shagreen (galuchat is the French word) necessaire. This one hasn't really much disruption at all to the fine stingray belly leather that covers the body of it so perfectly. A work of art, this. And while there is part of the one appliqué of 18k gold missing (see photos of the top half), it really doesn't distract from the overall beauty or importance. Just a bit from the price. One might even wish to have that appliqué re-cast. Such is the importance of this one. If I were younger, I'd take on the project of finding the fittings that will fill it out. Alas, you will need to do it yourself. Such fun, those projects. Get yourself to Paris markets and enjoy! Measurements noted directly on the photos for your review, but it is a tidy 3.75" long.