A fashion icon of her era, kept beautifully in her tortoise shell patch or snuff box with its 18k gold facing to the mount - the more I study the Incroyables et Marveilleuses, the more I realize this pose is typical of the women in that movement, and follow the neoclassical example of a leader in the fashion style, Thérésa Tallien. Hairstyle, confrontational pose and neoclassical gown all indicate this woman was part of the movement. While it seemed I hardly ever found the women of the movement, it occurs to me I've found many over time, and just didn't match the nude neoclassical pose as typical of the Merveilleuses. The Incroyables (incredible men) and their female counterparts, the Merveilleuses "marvelous women"), were members of a fashionable aristocratic subculture in Paris during the French Directory period (1795–1799). Whether as catharsis or in a need to reconnect with other survivors of the Reign of Terror (guillotines) 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.
Members of the ruling classes were also among the movement's leading figures, and the group heavily influenced the politics, clothing, and arts of the period. They emerged from the muscadin, a term for dandyish anti-Jacobin street gangs in Paris from 1793 who were important politically for some two years; the terms are often used interchangeably, though the muscadins were of a lower social background, being largely middle-class. VERY interesting period and fashion, indeed. Full measurements are noted on the photos.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, I will point out the old tortoise shell does show a few bug bites (see images of sides and slight roughness to edge of bottom of box), the interesting subject and her elegant 18k mat keep one from even noticing. No loss from breakage or having been dropped, and that slender inner lip of bottom half is without a nip nor chip. On the painting, captured more by our photo lights, it seems to have a small area above her head and to right which might indicate a little moisture seeped in at some point in the 225 or more years. In person, however, there is very little difference in the tone - it does not show up well to the naked eye. A beautiful painting, fabulous collection piece with the rare Merveilleuse.
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.