Large antique French Napoleon III to Belle Epoque era gilt ormolu & thick beveled glass miniature vitrine or jewel casket, a Grand Tour style souvenir with eglomise or reverse painted lid panel showing "La Madeleine"! This one rather unique in that the actual architectural view, complete with Grand Tour era travelers, appears to be an early photograph with the pinks and blue sky hand painted around it on the reverse side of the glass. L'Eglise de la Madeleine is a Roman Catholic church occupying a commanding position in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, and has long been a favorite architectural marvel for tourists. This was the case in the early to mid-1800s, as Grand Tour travelers visited Paris, and the early tourists came home with an embarrassment of riches in mementos of the visits. Most popular among those from Paris were these back-painted glass or eglomise paintings set in fine French art glass and encased in shrouds of elaborate and opulently engraved brass fittings. Some were sewing boxes, others were perfume bottles and this one is a powder jar. I'm quite certain that was how it was originally sold, and probably had a fluffy white ostrich down powder puff with it. The item was also likely initially purchased from one of the elegant boutiques of the old Palais Royal, former Palace of Cardinal Richelieu. You know the story. We love these remains of nearly 200 years ago, and the stories they tell in surviving. I have a personal collection of these that includes views of all my favorite Paris architectural marvels. You should definitely create your own. Nice large size and wonderful condition with age considered. One of a handful that we just got in from France, we'll be listing them over the next few weeks so watch and build your Grand Tour souvenir grouping!
Very good condition. I see only a few signs of lifting or loss to the eglomise scene, a few small marks in the blue sky area and a small patch at the left side near the rear (mostly covered by the tiny brass tabs that had the glass in place though). Possibly a small corner nip to the glass inserts but no larger chips that I can see. The interior base tufted fabric lining is intact, original but quite tattered from age. See pictures for measurements.
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