Posted 4 years ago
Finding this compact or trinket box was one of my collectors dreams. After some years I finely found this powder box in the U.S. Fortunately I acquired it to make a set with matching lipstick holder that has been in my possession for three years now and already shown on CW see link: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/141440-vintage-800-silver-gilded-italian-enamel.
This match is a particular and rare find. The unusual email of Italy on this compact or dresser box of Dante and Beatrice a painting dated 1883 by the artist Henry Holiday that is on display in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, England. It is considered to be Holiday's most important painting. It is based on Dante's autobiographical work La Vita Nuova which describes his love for Beatrice Portinari. Dante concealed his love by pretending to be attracted to other women. The painting depicts an incident when Beatrice, having heard gossip relating to this, refuses to speak to him. The event is shown as Beatrice and two other women walk past the Santa Trinita Bridge in Florence. Beatrice wears a white dress and walks beside her friend Monna Vanna, with Beatrice's maidservant slightly behind. Holiday was anxious that the painting should be historically accurate and in 1881 travelled to Florence to carry out research. He discovered that in the 13th century the Lungarno, the street on the north side of the River Arno between the Ponte Vecchio (seen in the background) and the Ponte Santa Trinita, was paved with bricks and that there were shops in the area; these are shown in the painting. He also learnt that the Ponte Vecchio had been destroyed in a flood in 1235. It was being rebuilt between 1285 and 1290 and in the painting it is shown covered in scaffolding.
This tested 800 silver with beautiful gold wash on the interior has no other marks. The lipstick holder has two marks; 800 Silver and probably makers mark. These flat boxes are sometimes compacts, but this one does not have any mirror or powder, so it can be used as a trinket box. Actually the size is big enough for small calling cards.
Size is 3 by 4 inches (7.6 by 10 cm). Depth 3/8 inches.
The form is quite unusual. Enamel quality is gorgeous Certainly that of the Lapis Lazuli. Great details. Border enamels are made to resemble stones, turquoise and lapis lazuli. This enamel is in perfect condition, with no scratches, well kept. The engraved silver is skillfully executed front, back, and sides. Closes tightly. For a box or compact collector this is a beautiful example, made 1920's to 1940's in Italy, Firenze. There are so many enamel compacts with amorous couples in scenery, but this urban scene is very unusual.