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Cherubs on Jewelry Boxes

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Art Nouveau2732 of 3149 THOMAS WEBB DRAPES VASE1899 Eugène Baudin Drip Glazed Leaf Form Ceramic Vase
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Posted 6 years ago

(3 items)

Cherubs have appeared in works of art from the time of ancient Mesopotamia and remained a common theme in Greek, Byzantine and European paintings and sculpture. Late Christian-inspired art depicted cherubs as plump children with wings.

During the late 1800's and early 1900's when Americans, the English, and French were enjoying an artistic and philosophical Renaissance, cherubs were an important theme that reflected the virtuous ideals of the time, yet also an appreciation of mankind's place in the joys and glories of the world--a spiritual contrast to the "cold" Industrial Revolution. Cherubs could be found described in literature, portrayed on canvas and in sculpture, and as a design on many decorations in the home.

Jewelry boxes, frequently covered with cherubs, hearts and roses, were an expression of the Romantic Movement--conferring the message of love. This was an era when people not only spoke the words "I love you," but an article given as a gift, would confer that sentiment with every incident of use. A gentleman would give his lady fair not just a "present," but a physical manifestation of his affection spelled out clearly by a symbolic messenger such as Cupid or a Cherub. A jewel box was the perfect gift in the early 1900's for a gentleman to express his admiration for a lady.


  1. jewelboxbook jewelboxbook, 6 years ago
    My area of research was primarily American Art Metal jewel boxes/caskets 1900-1925. And you are correct, most of them were of cast metal, often called "pot metal," although some were also manufactured by the construction method by Kronheimer and Oldenbusch. These boxes ranged in style from Victorian, Nouveau, and other revival styles. Having said that, your box does appear to be nouveau in styling, which didn't really figure prominently in the U.S. until 1905+. Beyond that, I cannot be of much help. The cardboard bottom on your box is unlike any I've studied. I would guess later than Victorian. Because there doesn't appear to be any markings, I can't even identify it as American. The fact that it is plated, though, does also seem to indicate later than 1905, since that was really a new process, just developing.
  2. jewelboxbook jewelboxbook, 6 years ago
    Actually, some of these jewel boxes were as large as 6"x6" for handkerchiefs, and 4-5"x8-12" glove boxes! The smallest I have is 1x1x1". Look up "THE JEWEL BOX BOOK" and you will find various articles I have written.

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