The frame has gone through assay in France, which is required with all auctioned goods, and so you will find the tiny eagle's head profile punch marks here and there to guarantee it is solid 18k gold. The mark was used from 1838 onward, but this portrait pre-dates that by 70 years, give or take a little. The gentleman in his elegant attire and hair style is a figure of the era c.1750-80, and the painting is signed by artist "Tessier". Larger than most of these locket-type frames which hinge at top and have 2 rings at bottom, which would have originally been held closed by a tiny heart-shaped lock, a tiny working key attached to it with a gold chain. This one is missing the heart - a popular item sold off or lost through time. The locket frame does hold tightly closed there, however. I didn't open it at all, worrying I'd dislodge the original hair art worked on the backside. While I have given it an additional clean and polish after seeing these greatly enlarged photos showing a little hinge which cannot be seen with naked eye (or my glasses, in fact), and I apologize it was not done before the photos were taken. My longtime collections, being disbursed. He is a superb favorite. Look at the fine detail in his face, which is only 7/8" from chin (1) to his hairline). He would have been a contemporary to our own writers of the US Constitution and perhaps knew Thomas Jefferson, who spent much time in and loved France. Surely this gentleman, dignified and Noble, perhaps Royal, read of the news of that era, and lived through to up until the French Revolution, as well. RARE image, rare 18k gold locket-style frame.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. The 18k gold is substantial, acid tested and also assayed at some point post 1838 as it went through French auction, as there are tiny French eagle's head profile punch marks here and there, guaranteeing 18k solid gold. The piece is much older, and rare to find as well preserved. Painting is superb. Signed lower right, "Tessier" (quite sure), so will require more research to dig into French art history. I'll annotate if/when I find out more. The 2 beveled original glass panels are magnificent, with the front one completely without flaw. The one on back side has a tiny minuscule tip of a corner chip which I can only see with a loupe, doesn't even show on enlarged photo. A couple of hair strands loose - those are not cracks. Blond and darker hair in the hair art, and the monogram is GB. RARE magnificent museum piece!
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