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Did on My Summer Vacation or
Boxes I Found When I Was in New York, July 2002.
For me there are few things more fun than hunting around through all sorts
of "stuff" looking for something I might want to own. I did
lots of that while I was in New York. I spent hours going through everything
that Chamart, Rochard and Artoria had and I found some wonderful things.
One of my best "finds" are the boxes you see below, Pure white
porcelain, blanc de chine, done in antique molds dating back to the 18th
and 19th centuries.These are done just as the original boxes were done
and although the topics aren't as intricate and sophisticated as some
that are done today, you must remember that every box was "new"
then because this was the very beginning of "snuff boxes" as
fashionable accessories so they were all exciting because nothing like
these had ever been made before. Yes, there were already many different
types of boxes but not figural boxes such as these. These appeared only
after hard paste porcelain was being made in France and that was at the
end of the 18th century.The boxes are all made with the same hinges and
clasps and they are quite simple using none of the more elaborately designed
hinges that we see today. The hinges were nothing more than a means of
keeping the snuff intact inside the box. They were not particularly decorative
nor were they meant to be and yet, their simplicity is exactly right for
the naiveté of the boxes that were made then. It is my hope that
you will enjoy owning these as much as I enjoyed finding them, These
boxes, by the way, are exclusive to us, The Perfect Gift, and no one else
will have them. (Also, if you must have a painted box, they are available
painted but to my mind what makes these so extraordinary is that they
are such exquisite porcelain and you will miss that if you purchase them
painted. One other thing, there will be a vast difference in the pricing.)
There is one more thing to
mention: you will notice that these boxes are all just a bit larger than
those we see today. The reason being that these were actually used to
hold snuff and there had to be enough stored in them to be able to offer
it around to all those with whom the box owner spent his time. Remember,
these were used by royalty, the court and the wealthiest mercantile families.
item is by Special Order only
A. The Revolutionary War Soldier
strange item to be made in France then? Not at all. The Revolution
was just over and France was heavily involved both in helping us
to fight it to sever ourselves from England and in financing
for our fledgling country which had no treasury at all to speak
of. Without France we never could have fought that war and
would not have won our independence. So the subject matter was
timely and implied knowledge of something about which commoners
The box is a Revolutionary Soldier dressed in his tri-corner hat,
the longer jacket that was part of the dress in that period
his flintlock lying close at hand, resting for a few moments, his
head supported by his hand. Closer examination and you see
his breeches and boots, his hair tied in what we now call a pony
tail and the tie that held it. From Chamart, just for The
The American Bison Box. The Bison, found only in the Central
and Western portions of the United States in what was almost
unexplored territory then owned by France. We didn't purchase it
from France until 1803 and it was the Louisiana Purchase
us everything from Louisiana north to Canada and almost, but not
quite, to the Pacific Ocean. (The rest came later when Lewis
Clark claimed it for us.) The animal was unknown in all other countries.
Again, this showed a certain sophistication on the part of
of the box to even have been aware of such an animal. It implied
knowledge of a country that was half way around the world
few had that knowledge since almost none of them had ever been
to the New World. Snuff boxes were used to impress people
and the makers
of them availed themselves of every conceivable device with which
to do that. Again, the details in the sculpting of the box
and numerous. From the tiny beard hanging from the animal's chin
to the small, closely held ears, the massive head and the
and full coat of fur that covered the animal's chest and shoulder
area, the short and curly tail and the smooth fur across
quarter of the massive beast. The hillock on which it stands is
covered with coarse grasses and rocks which are done in relief.
From Chamart, just for The Perfect Gift: $99.90.
The Monkey Box. A fairly recent import to France in the
early 19th century, not native to the country, and a toy
and the rich who loved to watch their antics. This tiny primate
is holding his head with one hand and his foot with the other,
common position for monkeys. Scattered around him on the base of
the box is a mirror, some bananas and a ball, all of which
played with or ate.Even then monkeys were enough like humans to
love peering at themselves in mirrors. From Chamart just
Perfect Gift: $99.90.
The Horse Box. The horse was the only means of transportation
then either for riding or for pulling the carriage of his owner.
Very few other than royalty and the rich had horses, for the most
part donkeys were used by farmers and for commoners their feet provided
This creature is beautifully sculpted and a handsome animal. He
is at rest, lying down with clumps of grass around him and small
stones nearby. This was not a working animal but one that was carefully
groomed and given good care. His head is noble and beautifully
Close inspection shows his mane, the bone structure of his head
and face, the muscles in his hind quarters and a full and flowing
tail. From Chamart just for The Perfect Gift: $99.90.
nobility and the wealthy had Chateaux and Estates which in addition
to housing them also were farmed. Chateaux provided housing, food
and pleasure. The residents hunted on their own estates and regularly
went on shooting parties that supplied fowl for the table. The Loire
Valley was and is famous for the magnificent Chateaux that dot the
countryside hence the interest of the nobility in boxes that portrayed
animals, birds and peasants.
The Sow and Her Brood Box. This is the box that I have
always called "The Filling Station".It is a box
with which I have been familiar for a great many years, long
before I ever was
involved even privately with Limoges boxes. I remember seeing such
a box but I cannot recall whether it was in my Mother's collection
of Limoges porcelain or if I saw it in museum or if I saw it elsewhere
although I cannot imagine where else I would have seen it.
know that I have seen it, perhaps 70 years ago. I have always loved
it and was delighted to find it in this collection. The sow
on her side and five tiny piglets are feeding. The detail is wonderful
even to the facial expression of the sow. From Chamart just
The Perfect Gift: $99.90.
The Dove Box. Every farm had a dovecôte and dove's provided
small fowl and eggs for the table hence the Dove box. Running your
hand over this box you can feel each individual layer of feathers
and on close inspection you can easily see the difference in tail
feathers from body feathers. Twigs and grasses form the base of
the box. From Chamart just for The Perfect Gift: $99.90.
The Kingfisher Box. Native to river areas in France was
the Kingfisher, a bird with a very long pointed beak used
fish! Because all the great estates were on or adjacent to rivers
Kingfishers were common to them. The bird lives burrowed
banks of creeks and rivers. And I hear someone asking, "Were
all chateaux on rivers?" Well, it was either that or lots
of carrying and not lots of water. They needed water and rivers
where most of it came from. These lavish estates may have been
magnificent but they all lacked indoor plumbing of any sort.
From Chamart just
for The Perfect Gift: $99.90.
following item is by Special Order only.
The Farmer's Wife Box. Lying on the river bank with a bowl and
scoop close by, she has been working in the fields and is resting
for a moment after getting a cool drink of fresh water. If you examine
the box closely you will see rocks along the river bank, a jug for
carrying water and a flower growing along the water's edge. The
figure is very specifically detailed and her clothing is simple
and typical of the period for a peasant. A loose kercheif covers
her head. From Chamart just for The Perfect Gift: $99.90.
(A slightly different version of this box was the Nun Box and we
are going to be having that as well.)
To find out
more about ordering, Click Here
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