Two communities in 19th century France amassed quite a body of kiln-fired enamel works, and they're mostly identifiable though they did a bit of cross-pollination work. Bresse, France, enamelists used a lot of foil backing, raised dot and half-ball cabochon decorative motifs to create beautiful objects. We have some listed. The more intricately crafted enamel decorators who did figural works like you see on both sides of the stunning barrels on this large set of opera glasses are more a signature work of the community of Sevres enamelists. No, not the porcelain works of Royal Manufactory du Sevres, but the work is similar and perhaps more challenging, and did attract the same talented decorative arts Masters. Staring with formed plaques, or in this case barrels of copper (sometimes silver), the artist has to know exactly which pot of mauve, muddy blues, grays enamel powers suspended in liquid would achieve which colors once the kiln melted them to the glassine surface you see here. Additionally, they had to remember exactly where it all went as they worked, because, truly, it all looks a bit like mud. I have tried this art. It stays with me as perhaps the most difficult and arduously painstaking of all creative arts. So that is what makes these special, and more rare to find them without damage to the enamels. Some think it's porcelain, but it is, essentially, hard-fired porcelain enamel powders melted to the copper. If dropped, it can crack, chip, get hairlines. This set has none of those. Also hand painted in raised gold enamel, the rich navy blue or cobalt blue is a stunning offset to the work.
Very good to excellent condition, the enamel barrels being the primary focus, always. This pair is extra large, the optics are clear though one of the large end piece lenses has an inner flashing chip. It disappears in use, doesn't show at all that way, but you can see it with light shining into the lens, looking straight on. Visually clear, I find I'm not easily able to turn the center wheel to extend the barrels. It might be that they just need a little WD-40. To me, they're a decorative item. Note also, a push dent to the brass at one spot around the large lens (I've marked with an x), and also the natural eyepieces have shrunk a bit, as is typical, and have developed shrinkage cracks. Measurements noted on the photos.