Chocolate or cocoa, as a substance and flavor was introduced to Europe in the 1500s, and by the 1700s, was raised to a fine art in France. So much so, in fact, that by mid-1700s, confectioners and chocolatiers were having special boxes made just for the presentation of their concoctions, bonbons, chocolate delicacies. The boxes, which always attract me, range from tiny round ones in card/glass and with recess of seed pearls, earlier 1700s, and got larger as time went on, fancier. We've had some in finest tortoise shell, others with the maker's labels or engraved lock plate still in place - such as Boissier. We've sold some to the Boissier museum in Paris. This one, offered in such fine condition, is just in from France and is quite a treasure. The vendor's chalk notes remain on the papered card bottom, otherwise not defined for us, but it is a very early 1800s one in the typical cardboard, paper and glass. Yes, those outer panels are all glass (blue, red) and the old original interior still has its undamaged mirror. The idea of these boxes was that it would be a lasting memento, reminder of the event of enjoyment of the chocolates and confections it held when initially sold. Whether as a jewelry box, or a desktop box, the memory of the gift and giver, as well as the expensive confections, it was a memory kept. Often a gift, such a presentation helps us understand how elevated was the experience of early candies, chocolates. Measurements noted on our photos. I've just bought several from an estate, so watch in weeks ahead for the others (sold separately)
Very good to excellent condition throughout for age and type. An exceptional example, incorporating curved glass side panels on that lid, a bit of Egyptian coffret form to the style. Entirely handmade, cottage industries around France, primarily Paris, designed and built these, layering with embossed foil borders and trim. Paper lining inside. Often including litho prints like the one on the top of this box. Even the thin yellow silk side ribbons remain - it displays so beautifully, open or closed. There are a few of the paper sticker trim parts which are not complete, but far more than most of these. no breaks or chips or cracks to any of the glass panels, which is quite amazing. With so much glass, this one is surprisingly heavy. A superb 200+ year old box for your collection.