Attributed to Van Blarenberghe, 82 x 60 x 40 mm, circa 1770
An extremely rare, oval gold snuff box with gouache miniature paintings "Fêtes Galantes"
Case: chased gold mountings with green gold foliage scrolls on sablé ground; sides with pilaster strips and lavishly decorated with flower and leaf garlands. All sides with glazed gouache miniature paintings, characteristic scenes from the "fêtes galantes" in great detail: the parks of a baroque palace, pageantries, boats cruising on a river, people amusing themselves with games, a group of people with a birdcage, a couple on a swing, a pastoral scene.
"The accuracy and completeness of the details (...), are a distinguishing feature of van Blarenberghe’ work. His densely populated festive and pastoral scenes on the boxes of the 1770s are arranged in exactly that way. Van Blarenberghe often signed his paintings but he only ever used his last name; this makes it difficult to distinguish his works from those of his son Henri-Joseph (1741-1826), who painted in a similar style. "
Source: Clare le Corbellier, "Alte Tabakdosen aus Europa und Amerika", Munich 1966, p. 44
Van Blarenberghe was the name of a dynasty of painters, originally from French Flanders (Lille) but some of the most famous descendants also lived in Paris, France.
Louis-Nicolas had a son who was also a painter and with whom he often collaborated: Henri-Joseph van Blarenberghe (24 November 1750 – 1 December 1826). Together with his father, they stayed at the Palace of Versailles, where they worked as miniaturists for the high society of their day. They were especially famous for their paintings on snuff boxes. Louis-Nicolas also worked as official campaign painter of the French court, following the French army as a war reporter. Two of his daughters, Catherine-Henriette and Isabelle, were chamber maids to the children of the French kings. The works of Louis-Nicolas and Henri-Joseph were collected in profusion in the 19th century by the Rothschild family. There is a collection of their work on public display at Waddesdon Manor. An enormous collection of Blarenberghe art was sold in the Mentmore Towers sale of 1977.
Henri-Joseph painted, besides the miniatures, mainly panoramic paintings, often in gouache. The subjects were, as with his father, often military, and also included the French revolution. He was the drawing teacher of the French princes, and founder and first conservator of the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blarenberghe, as of 09/27/2013
Fête galante is a French term referring to some of the celebrated pursuits of the idle, rich aristocrats in the 18th century—from 1715 until the 1770s. After the death of Louis XIV in 1715, the aristocrats of the French court abandoned the grandeur of Versailles for the more intimate townhouses of Paris where, elegantly attired, they could play and flirt and put on scenes from the Italian commedia dell'arte. The term translates from French literally as "gallant party".
Fête galante paintings are an important part of the rococo period of art, which saw the focus of European arts move away from the hierarchical, standardized grandeur of the church and royal court and toward an appreciation for intimacy and personal pleasures.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%AAte_galante, as of 09/28/2013.
From the architectural details of the paintings it can be assumed that they show the parks of the baroque palace of Het Loo. Het Loo is a former royal palais in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.
Case: very good