"Eglomise" is the term applied to the back-painted glass panels in these old French souvenirs. Most of them date 1800s, though they were made up through about 1910 in this manner, too. Later ones often have a photo set in instead. The early ones are our favorites, sometimes a screened ink-line like drawing that is then hand colored, or sometimes a full miniature painting original, all worked on the back side of a panel or convex plaque of glass. There are sometimes open spots left and a final step is application of thin mother of pearl panels so that the windows shimmer with pearlescent light, or architectural details are pearl - you can see how fun those are. I'm listing a whole collection from this genre, one at a time, so will just give the barest detail of each as we move through the collection. This one is superb - a view of the Military Camp de Bitche, France. It's in good condition and the painted architectural scene is backed with mother of pearl so it shimmers and looks like it is lighted, glowing. Souvenir of one of the important historied military camps of France. The box is c. 1880-1900. "The town of Bitche, which was formed from the villages of Rohr and Kaltenhausen in the 17th century, derives its name from the old stronghold (mentioned in 1172 as Bytis Castrum) standing on a rock some 250 feet (76 m) above the town. This had long given its name to the countship of Bitsch, which was originally in the possession of the dukes of Lorraine. In 1297 it passed by marriage to Eberhard I, whose line became extinct in 1569, when the countship reverted to Lorraine. It passed with that duchy to France in 1766. After 1766 the town rapidly increased in population. The citadel, which had been constructed by Vauban on the site of the old castle after the capture of Bitche by the French in 1624, had been destroyed when it was restored to Lorraine in 1698. This was restored and strengthened in 1740 into a fortress that proved impregnable up until the 20th century. The attack upon it by the Prussians in 1793 was repulsed. In 1815 during Napoleon's Hundred Days, Brigadier-General Creutzer was the commandant. Bitche was besieged by General Zollern's Fourth Infantry Division of the Austrian IV Corps, but Creutzer refused to surrender until the general armistice. Although Bitche was hotly contested by the Germans after a battle during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, it held out until the war's end. A large part of the fortification is built into the red sandstone rock, and was rendered bomb-proof; a supply of water was secured to the garrison by a deep well in the interior. Commander of the fortress of Bitche was Louis-Casimir Teyssier. After the war, it was given to German Empire as part of Alsace Lorraine. It was given back to France in 1918." (Wikipedia)
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. No chips or flaws to the 5 panels of glass. Only the top panels on this one is thick beveled glass, and the pressed brass has swag garlands - something rather unusual in these old ones. The pressed brass framework is in very good condition, as well, age and type considered and clasp is holding tight. Therein some light crackling to the painted sky, visible for your review in our images. Measurements are nice cube-form at 2.5" long, 2.5" deep front to back, and 2.5" tall when closed in display. It retains the original padded silk bottom padded lining inside, though it is deteriorated as you can see. The mirrored inside of the lid is still reflective and the hinge and clasp, both working fine. A charming box!
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