It's as if the French took over the Renaissance manner of working ivory into wood, and elevated the art in doing so. Some would say this is an Italian box, but we've had several and they're French made in a manner of decoration that began, perhaps, in Italy. Look at the work, the exquisite artistry, crafted with such finesse, not only is it a masterpiece of Renaissance figural marquetry, ivory set into ebony or ebonized hardwood, they've begun with a tumbling block parquet just to complicate the job. I have truly never seen a finer example of this magnificent 19th century art, and we've owned some real museum pieces to be sure. But look at this one. Not only extra large at 13.5" x 10" and 5" tall, it is a fascination. I can almost hear that French artisan bragging, frankly, every time I look at this one. A personal favorite (ok, I've been a box collector for over 40 years, and a lot of favorites among them). I want, just once, to see a Master-engraved lock plate so we know exactly whom to laude for this finest work. I believe, while it harkens back to the Italian Renaissance, it would have been made mid-Victorian era, or Napoleon III era or a couple of decades earlier. While the work is painstaking and amazing, it is the hardware that tips us off to age of the large jewelry or table box. And the type of French lining, as well, tells us age. Isn't it just a true museum piece to end all! You truly could not pay someone enough to create this box today. Imagine it. Already tested by time, this one is magnificent!
Very good to excellent condition throughout, with not a single chipped corner, nor a bit of ivory inlay missing after these nearly 200, at minimum 150 years since it was made. No cracks, no lost parquet pieces. So near to perfect, I must come up with a couple of flaws: you can see that the silk satin interior is fabulous, but also note there are 2 spots on bottom half sides which have worn fabric. This is due to the manner in which first owner removed the tray. Tray? Yes, you can see the supports onto which one would have rested originally, though there is no longer a tray with it, either. It's likely it was originally a sewing box. Lastly, not really a flaw, but a wish: the box has a fine working lock but no key at listing time. We must scour our key stash to try to come up with or to alter one to fit it, so fine is this box. If we do, we'll annotate the listing, but as of now, there is not a working key.
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