Extremely Rare Large French Imperial Napoleon I Cipher Enamel Table Snuff Box
EXTREMELY RARE LARGE FRENCH IMPERIAL NAPOLEON I CIPHER ENAMEL TABLE SNUFF BOX. This is an Extremely Rare Large and Heavy French Imperial Napoleon I Table Snuff Box, which carries Napoleon I Cipher, i believe this rare table Snuff Box dates to circa 1770 but has been reworked circa 1804, let me describe this stunning very rare snuff box first then i will explain a little of what i found out and have been told, this rare French Snuff Box is of large size and weighs an impressive 180 grams in weight, this wonderful French snuff box has the most stunning shape the body of the snuff box has concave curved sides with fine quality cast decoration of fleur de lys , foliage and flowers, to the bottom edge you will see the most superb banded cast floral decoration which curves gently inwards, to the base of this rare snuff box you will see the most beautiful and finely engraved chased design with a flower to the centre and sprays of foliage gently curving to all four sides, this is then framed with a dotted edging, its wonderful, i believe the base to be crafted in brass though im not sure, now on to the top, this is breath taking, the engraved chased decoration on silver is stunning again with curved plumes of foliage again reaching out gently to the four side only this time it is border by a lovely blue Enamel border, to the centre of this rare French Table Snuff Box is the most beautiful oval cartouche which is crafted in Blue Enamel and is then mounted with a gold gilt initial of Napoleon this has been inset with clear stones, above the initial you will see Napoleons Crown again mounted in gold gilt with again blue Enamel in between the top of the crown and mounted again with clear stones, this is then finished with the most ornate framed border i have ever seen, it is made again in gold gilt and inset with a border of clear stones and then finished with another border of gold gilt laurel wreath with ornate flowers to each side of the cartouche, i can see that the silver top was had a gold gilt finish as traces can be seen, the top is silver on copper as i can see a small spot to one side of bleeding, on opening this wonderful snuff box you will see it has a gold gilt interior, the quality of the craftsmanship is superb, there is a hallmark to the base which is a royal sceptre with fleur de lys, this would date the box to circa 1740 as this was the marked for items that can not bear the mark of solid silver, this has then later been reworked, but the theory which i believe it to be is this... This is just a fleur-de-lys mark, probably indicating origins at Verdun. Now, if this is a relic of Verdun, then re-working may have made strange sense. The loss of Verdun to the invading Prussian forces in 1792 left Paris wide open. With a reversal of fortunes in a major battle, a Republic was declared and the ultimate re-liberation of Verdun would have been a significant milestone for the new French. With the rise of Napoleon, completion of the fortifcations of Verdun was apparently resumed.
For the engraver to strike through a symbol of the old Bourbons while celebrating the new emperor (1804-), may have made this work emblematic of patriotic feelings during a short period of history. I personally don't see a problem with the work for an item that may have been made to celebrate the work going on in the city during that era. Whether it was commissioned by Napoleon's administration to be gifted i dont know. This will add something very special to any collection, my photos dont do it justice. This is an extremely rare French Imperial Napoleon I table snuff Box with Napoleons Ciper, you wont find another like this on the market.
For it's early age the box is overall in fine condition with no repairs, there are some stones missing from just the border of the cartouche and as stated a tiny spot on the top of bleeding, the lid has a slight spring so doesnt sit closed, that being said it doesnt detract at all from its rare beauty, just mentioned for accuracy. All Antique silver items will show some signs of wear, which only adds to the history of the object..... The item "EXTREMELY RARE LARGE FRENCH IMPERIAL NAPOLEON I CIPHER ENAMEL TABLE SNUFF BOX" is in sale since Saturday, June 9, 2018.
This item is in the category "Antiques\Silver\Solid Silver\Boxes". The seller is "silver_antiques_uk" and is located in United Kingdom. This item can be shipped worldwide.