Fine antique French Louis Philippe era 8 3/4" sewing, work or jewelry box, jet black ebony or ebonized walnut veneers with carved edging, brass stringing and unique multi-color boulle inlay front & top! Great inlay, don't you think! Boulle has always had a popular following, the inlay style of usually reticulated brass and natural or faux tortoise shell was invented by Andre' Boulle (1642-1732) who first adapted the process of fine French marquetry to include the super hard surface of brass against and interplaying with the soft colorful surface of fine old shell or sometimes casein (a milk protein substance mimic of tortoise shell). The process was to lay out shell or casein and brass, and with a jeweler's saw (early on) or later a machine like a press to cut larger panels under pressure of a steel blade made especially to cut the artist's design into the 2 layers, one can almost always could on there being an exact mirror reverse item produced as well. On one, the brass area would be shell, and the other, vice-versa. Stunning work, it was immensely popular among Royal courts and the finest original works by Andre' Boulle can be found in The Museums at Versailles (many made for Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI) and I saw a massive bureau/ bonheur du jour in St. Petersburg, Russian last summer at the Hermitage that was to die for. The artistic process is the same here but the brass has been substituted (yes, it's original) with a unique colorful array of lavender, emerald green and other colors to create this stunning work! A wonderful decorative box, you'll love it!
Good-very good condition. As you can see in the images, there is some cracking or crazing to the colored and casein inlays but no losses that I can see. A thin brass strip that would have encircled the lid and, I think, inner boulle inlay, is mostly missing with just one strip remaining on the left side. No other missing brass inlay. The interior is also complete and original, with a tan moire silk lining. Missing the key. See pictures for measurements.
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