Exceptional Rare Antique Hand Painted Enamel Portrait Bonbonniere or Snuff Box


Rare and exceptional Enamel Bonbonniere or Snuff Box, with an extremely high quality hand painted and enamelled design of a beautiful young woman on the top. The royal courts of Europe were the ultimate arbiters of taste and little decorative boxes were all the rage. There were boxes for face powder, patches, for snuff and for little bonbons or sweets meant to freshen one’s breath.

These kissing comfits which perfumed the breath were carried in small boxes such as this one. The 18th century beauty is lounging on the grass in a beautiful garden, with an open book close by, she is dressed in fashion consistent with the 1700’s. What makes this particular box stunning and rare to find is that her gown is a bright blue, with a reflective guilloche inlaid as part of the enamel. Stunning colors, expertly painted and the work of an accomplished artist, original gilt mounts all combine to make this the star of your decorative box collection.  

This is a remarkably fine example of the art of enamelling, boxes like this are highly sought after today, a class apart and with their own following of collectors. The quality of this box is consistent with fine quality ones like it that are on display in the Collections at the V&A Museum, London, as well as other museum collections. The enamel process was a hundred times more difficult to master than painting in oil, which is why these rare pieces are so collectible and beloved. A fantastic addition to your Battersea bonbonnieres, patch or snuff box collection, or your ojects du virtu, a once in a lifetime find.

There are little tiny spots of wear here and there, but nothing major and what you would expect to find in a piece of this age. Beyond gorgeous, I only hope that the photographs do this piece justice. Lovely domed shape, kept and treasured by a collector, an amazing piece. I have really “upped” the contrast to try to show the sparkling luminescence of the blue gown, the darker areas on the top are enamelled painted   details over the blue on the top layers. Measures 2~7/8″ x 1~3/4″ x 1~1/4″h.

{Patches were the 18th century equivalent of beauty marks and were traditionally little pieces of gummed silk taffeta or velvet used to draw attention to a particular facial feature, and flatter the complexion. They were originally used to cover up smallpox scars in the 17th century, many shapes including round, square, heart, starand crescent moon were used, they could be covert romantic signals to a lover, as well.}



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