One of the gold rims on this stunning 1700s table snuff box was loose when it arrived from Paris, and so we were easily able to acid-test it and also to weigh it. The 2 trim bands are substantial and combined weight is approximately 12.6 grams of 18k solid gold with those two. There appears to be another gold band or trim under the one on the top of this box, so that would also add to the total gold weight. Of course an item like this is not sold for its melt value, but I just mention it as you consider the elegantly dressed c.1770s gentleman in the portrait miniature, and imagine perhaps our President Washington visiting with this man in his home in Paris. Yes, Washington and Jefferson both were in Paris often, long, and would have known some of the people wealthy enough to have such a stunning fine table snuff made, so it's not all that unlikely. Puts a timeframe to it, as well. You will remember from your American History, Lafayette and many French men joined forces with our Revolutionary soldiers and helped us to be free of Oligarchical tyranny and rule back in the 1700s. One can't be certain but that this might have been one. His dress and hair is consistent with the fashion of that era, c.1770s. If only we knew more about him. Alas, while these are exquisitely small paintings, and fine art in their own right, most have lost the related history and it's certain they would have great tales to tell us, if only we could access it.
The table snuff is not in excellent condition, owing to some very hungry bugs at some point in the past 250 + years, but it remains mostly intact and otherwise not chipped or broken, no cracks. The painting is a remarkable one, just 3" diameter, but it also seems to be unsigned. I have not opened this one to see if we have more information on the backside or perhaps signature on the outer rim covered by the gold band, but from the inside you can see it is backed with the old foil that helped reflect some light through the material upon which the painting was done. In a thicker water-soluble paint than watercolors, "gouache", the painting has no damage at all to note. Slight dust on the interior of the domed cover glass. Box is as you see it - bug bites but not cracks, and priced accordingly. With more than 13 grams of 18k gold, it's a bargain at our price. Superb painting! It is 3" diameter, 1 1/8" tall when closed.
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