A superb example of the little baubles of Marie-Antoinette's Paris, this charming desk set survives these 250+ years just short of perfection, but perfectly wonderful and rare. I an quite certain this was originally the souvenir or presentation box for magnificent chocolates, confections so dreamy, they came in such creative boxes which were meant to be the souvenir of the experience, once the confections were all gone. Remember, cocoa and even sugar were quite rare commodities in that time, and only for the very rich and elite. I've long collected or searched out the confectioner's boxes just for my own love of exquisitely crafted artisan chocolates of France. I have my favorites, but historically, Boissier in the 19th century was as big a name as Hermés is now. And as fine a luxury. So, this was a chocolates box, to be kept after and it is likely from a boutique in the old Palais Royal, or by special order only. Artists were hired to create often one of a kind boxes like this one. The box is paper covered card, with the lift-up lid and front cover of the 'writer's slope' styled box being glass which has been painted from the backside, set into the box, also with paper and foil. The weight of it is the glass, really, and those little metal paw feet elevating it. Yes, it did come with the inkwells as you see it, so it is a working writer's box. c.1750-80s, this one.
Very good to excellent for age and type. These are and always were fragile. They were not really meant to last 250 years or more, and most did not. This one has 2 flaws to note: 1. the front glass does have a break, but it is fully intact; and 2., the paper hinge for the lift-up top which covers the ink pots and pen holder, is very fragile, and repaired later by a panel of paper. But it is a very rare museum piece. Measurements are noted on the photos.