These wonderful old early 1800s French caskets are fascinating, and becoming more and more rare. This one is rather large for the style. The French did not just use tortoise shell as veneers, or in boulle worked boxes, but also in this form, thin panels worked by themselves into the brass framework so the light could fully play through the colorful old shell. Relatively thin, it is a fragile style and most have some aging and shrinkage hairlines or outright breaks in the shell. Still, they are gorgeous, popular, and more and more impossible to find. Listing several just now from our old inventory. Only available from our Utah location*.
This is a mid-sized perfume casket. These were sold through boutiques in the Opera section of Paris, purchased at the boutiques of the famed Palais Royal with the idea that the casket would be a Grand Tour souvenir. Two period scent bottles fit perfectly into the recessed compartments made for them, though one is a period replacement. One has .800/1000 silver hinged cap and one has brass. No stoppers, as noted, but also no breaks or chips at all. The earliest references in museums I've found dated as c.1810-50. This one is 2.25" x 1.25" wide and 2" tall plus ball feet and hinged handle, and is quite well intact for this type of shell casket. It has a working hinged clasp. The hinged top handle lifts up, as shown.
Very good to excellent for age and type, and we've shown it from all angles so you can evaluate any small imperfections in the steam-formed natural shell. Look how nice the old original cream silk velvet lining is, and bottom also is nicely preserved. All original piping in nice form throughout, as well, and there would have been 2 tiny scent bottles inside (rare!), though they're missing from this one. A project for you. The size of missing bottles is 1.5" tall with cap, and base is .75" x .5" with a small widening at the shoulder. I have 1 in another etui that fits, but it belongs elsewhere. All other measurements noted on the images.
*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
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