Presumably Blois, 59 x 27 mm, 49 g, circa 1640/1740
An important, extremely rare French gold enamel "watch case" snuff box with gorgeous multicoloured scenes - attributed to the school of Blois: "Hector bidding farewell to his son and Andromache"
Case: circular form, all-over with very fine polychrome enamel miniature paintings in the manner of Robert Vauquer (1625-1670), finely moulded gold mountings (probably English, circa 1740). The lid, base and interior of the lid painted with touching scenes of Hector’s parting from Andromache and his son Astynax; the sides and the interior decorated with small figures in an autumnal landscape.
The School of Blois
In its time Blois was not only a stronghold of enamel painting but also an important centre of watchmaking. The reputation of Blois began during the reign of King Francis I (1515-1547). The unique beauty of the painted enamel cases created at the school of Blois rivalled those coming from the school of Geneva and the pieces were not only highly valued at the time but also cherished as masterpieces of art in the centuries that followed. Unlike other cases which were modernized later with specially designed watch movements, this case with its outstanding enamel continued to be in use as an exquisite snuff box.
Similar watch cases are illustrated and described in detail by Catherine Cardinal, "Les montres et horloges de table du musée du Louvre", collection Olivier, vol. 1, Paris 1984 and Charles Truman, "The Gilbert Collection of Gold Boxes", Los Angeles 1991, p 286.
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