Perhaps the case or 'etui' here is more valuable than the slightly damaged portrait which resides within. These old early cased images like this did not have cover glass and this one has suffered from someone's touch of a damp finger. A child. Perhaps one lost, and that dampness might well have been a parent's tear. The case and image date from French Revolutionary era to perhaps as late as 1810, during which time a lot of upheaval in the lives of the French. We see images like this, a red sash worn around the neck or shoulders, as political statements, Royalists among the changes, the red sash in memory of their King or perhaps family members lost to The Terror, the guillotine. Often living in exile, those families long waited for the return of Royalty, so the period of time is broad. A portrait of a child is also rather rare. If only we had the story of this curly haired young girl (center parted hair, cut in a 'guillotine' cut of the era). Definitely a treasure of history. The case is exquisite! Entirely handmade, shagreen and silver pique work.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. You can see from inside the tips of all of those sized silver pins, pounded through the shagreen covered brass case and bent over like horse shoe nails to hold from the interior. I am sure there was once a liner for the interior left side of case, likely a silk panel. The pique extends the perimeter of the case, top and bottom both. Silver hinge and working clasp. Remarkably well preserved - all but that single tear. Portrait wafer is flat, no warp, and is held within by a removable rim of brass which I did not remove for photos. Measurements, as always, appear on our photos.
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