RARE for a number of reasons, and one of my all-time favorites, this 18th century ivory snuff box with portrait miniature of a young boy is also easy to date by the extremely stylish clothing, thick cravat, striped fancy vest, short overcoat with tall lapels. I've never found a child from that c.1795-99 era of the very rich, very spoiled, and very political French youth movement referred to as the "The Incroyables (French: "incredibles") and their female counterparts, the Merveilleuses (French: "marvelous women"), were members of a fashionable aristocratic subculture in Paris during the French Directory (1795–1799). Whether as catharsis or in a need to reconnect with other survivors of the Reign of Terror, they greeted the new regime with an outbreak of luxury, decadence, and even silliness. They held hundreds of balls and started fashion trends in clothing and mannerisms that today seem exaggerated, affected, or even effete. They were also mockingly called "incoyable" or "meveilleuse", without the letter R, reflecting their upper class accent in which that letter was lightly pronounced, almost inaudibly. When this period ended, society took a more sober and modest turn." (quote Wikipedia). A most interesting era and one of the very most unique fashion statements in French history, which says much. I almost never see a child portrait on a snuff box, unless with a mother. And have never even seen another petit Incroyable. Measurements noted on the photos.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. An ivorysnuff box, no cracks but a few extremely fine beginnings of hairlines from the very old material aging and drying/shrinking as it does. This box and portrait would be 230 years old. A boy captured in a moment in time, identifiable by the fashion. I have not tested the mount. It would most likely have a facing of 18k gold, and does look like it. Most of the Incroyables portraits we've had through the decades are mounted in gold frame or mount with gold facing (not gold plated, an actual facing of 18k). I have never removed this beautiful boy from the snuff box, so photos have a typical glare due to the slightly convex cover glass, which is original. Quite a treasure, this! I'm certain I will regret selling him.
IMPORTANT NOTE regarding antique tortoise shell or ivory: We are great supporters of protection for endangered species in our modern world. We never buy or sell anything 100 years or newer; we donate to anti-poaching organizations; we don't hunt; we conserve in ways that impact global warming (we're totally solar at home), knowing those measures also protect the animals in the wild today. We also recognize the vast cultural history we preserve with our care and reverence for these antique objects, and agree with CITES that objects over 100 years of age have nothing whatsoever to do with species depletion in our current world.
Our offering exceeds the age limitation of "more than 100 years of age", and is well within the exemption for CITES regulation. If imported, met the CITES regulation. This item will be handled and shipped from our Utah business, and is not available for shipment internationally, nor within the USA to California, NY, Nevada, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington if it contains ivory, sorry. Please see our small print for more details.
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