A remarkable find! Offering here a spectacular and early snuff box, a pocket snuff, 2.75" in diameter, still in the protective presentation and travel etui. I have been told, and it does seem very likely that the portrait is a "sitting" miniature (one of a kind) of French King Louis XV in his later years. It's likely, as a nose will thicken and the mouth certainly looks right, eyes in age. Louis XV, known as Louis the Beloved, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He was 64 at the time of his death, so for his time quite an old gentleman who would show some aging as we see here in this personal item he's had done as a personal gift, perhaps to his mistress, Madame De Pompadour. We can't know the exact history of this box, however. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. He is the father of ill-fated King Louis XVI, husband of French Queen Marie-Antoinette. The small box is mounted in 14k gold pique and frame, (acid tested), which surprised me since I would have expected the standard 18k for a French case. An exceptional piece, nonetheless, and important! I've had access to the disbursal of a very important collection of antique snuff boxes out of Paris, and this is one from that exquisite collection. While it must remain anonymous, the history is as charming as is the box.
The snuff box is in very good to excellent condition for age and type. The painting is perfectly preserved beneath the slightly convex and highly polished original cover glass. It appears the gold frame has been removed and re-inserted to the box top, leaving it slightly raised from a flush fit. The box has 2 tiny rim nips, I've marked with "x" on a photo to allow you ease in finding them. They're tiny. The outer etui, very unusual to find a snuff box still in one of these, by the way, is in remarkably good form also. The case is leather and has a shrinkage crack in the bottom that is not much of a flaw for a case of this age. The leather is quite solid, stiff, has held up very well. I'm unsure what type of leather it is. It has a look of shagreen, but I don't think it is. Hinge and clasps all intact. It's been a museum-quality private collection treasure! Measurements are noted on the photos.
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