There is a wonderful tiny boutique on a tiny street near St. Paul's in the Marais, Paris, where for decades I have visited every trip just to look at the shoe and boot snuffs (and their very elevated prices). One might think they're not as rare as they are - the gentleman who's kept the boutique for a lifetime is perhaps the single most prolific collector. Always fun to compare his with the ones I've found over my long lifetime of collecting them. Based on price, you can buy mine and probably sell them to him and make a little bit in the transaction. He knows his price! But I digress. I'm going to list 4 of these in coming weeks, each sold separately. In final photos, you can see how they group and compare - in case you must stop at just one. The extra high hat on the bone carved portrait plaque is charming. It seems that most we find have lost the carved portrait plaque. It is often said these were popular crafts among Napoleonic and earlier prisoners of war, though most date 18th century, last half. I know they were popular through to c.1850s, as Grand Tour travelers found them charming. I must give you a date range that spans nearly a century, to be accurate. This one has wonderful pique and stringing, which is part of the artistry and appeal. It also has the unusual rectangular carved bone portrait miniature set into the lid.
Very good to excellent condition, 5.75" in length and with lots of tiny brass 'pique' trimming out the shoe or boot (sabot) snuff to look like the stylish shoes of their era. Contrasting wood stains and elegant pique work capture the eye and heart. The lid is hinged well, no warp, opens and closes smoothly and well. No chips or cracks. One side seems darker to the wood, visible in photos. A little showpiece!
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