A box that hides a "miracle"

The inscription on the band: "Si en m’ouvrant, votre pensée/S’amuse jusqu’à moi/Je jure sur ma foi, /Je serai bien récompensée" [If, by opening me, your thoughts/Turn fondly to me,/I swear on my faith/I will be well rewarded], suggests that this is gift from a friend. Valuable and sophisticated, such objects are elegant symbols that reflect the social status of their owners.

A clock crowns the rectangular box made from gold and red agate. The hard stone is so fine that we can make out the fabric decorated with ornate patterns on the other side.

The openwork gold frame, in the form of a cage, is engraved with rococo-style motifs: foliage, crooks and garlands.  Tiny silhouettes of children and animal figures are hidden in the carvings.

Opening the box reveals a miracle of ingenuity. While the objects have a variety of uses, they all reflect a refined everyday life. They are used for a lady's toilette or the privileged occupations of the elite such as writing or the new gastronomic pleasures.

Intended to provide essential items, it contains 19 small instruments housed in individual compartments: flasks, ivory writing tablets with their pencil, a scraper and paper cutter, and various toiletries (combs, a brush, lace loops, a cuticle pusher and more).

L’ouverture de ce coffret révèle un miracle d’ingéniosité. Si les usages des objets varient, ils reflètent tous un usage quotidien raffiné. Ils servent à la toilette féminine ou à la pratique d’occupations privilégiées de l’élite comme l’écriture ou les nouveaux plaisirs de bouche.

Cox, James (1749 - 1792)

Vanity Case

Exposé en salle

Date : Entre 1760 et 1770
Support and technique : Or, Agate, Email (technique métal), Bois (matériau), Velours
Size : H. 13.8 cm x l. 10 cm x P. 8 cm x P. 410 g
Inventory number : J 641
Poinçon : Poinçon du XIXème siècle : (deux charançons)
Signature : Mouvement de la montre signé : "Granthom, London, 3456"
Inscription : Inscription sur la ceinture, en lettres d'or sur émail opaque blanc : "Si en m'ouvrant, votre pensée / S'amuse jusqu'à moi / Je jure sur ma foi, / Je serai bien récompensée."
Numéro de délivrance du legs : A l'encre rouge : "H. 347"