This extraordinary bottle is one of the most charming pieces in the museum's extensive collection of objets de vertu, both for its elegant shape and its ingenuity. The bud at the end of the barrel opens up to reveal the heart of a flower, which is made from gold and has tiny holes for spraying the perfume. The small hinged medallion is decorated with a mask and opens to reveal a compartment, which, in other models, contains a watch.
The technique of adding translucent enamel to gold ornamented with guilloche and the quality of the chasing both demonstrate the expertise of the craftsmen who made such items towards the end of the Ancien Régime, as well as the refined taste of their clients.
This gold pistol, coated with blue and red enamel and decorated with natural pearls, is in fact a small perfume atomiser. In the late 18th century, artists vied with one another to come up with all kinds of new and unusual ways of hiding kits, watches and bottles. Cases such as this one contained perfumes or salts that were used widely by upper class women.