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Made by: Unknown (Jeweler)

On view in: French Drawing Room

About this object

The painted glass plaque on the cover of this box portrays Catherine the Great in the guise of Minerva, an allusion to her strength as a bellicose ruler as well as to her image as an enlightened monarch invested with the classical virtues of reason and wisdom. The box is inscribed in the flange "Du Petit Dunkerkque," the name of one of the most fashionable shops in Paris selling objets d'art to those who wanted to possess the latest fashions.

The box is round and has a detachable lid. The lid is covered with a painted glass plaque with an oval medallion. This contains the profile head facing right of Catherine II in the guise of Minerva, in gold and green. The medallion is surrounded by bands of varied motifs: a snake biting its tail (symbol of infinity), a wreath made of half oak leaves, half laurel leaves (symbols of strength and victory respectively.) This is all in gold on a green ground scattered with small gold squares. The outermost border is scalloped in silver on black. At the edges, the gold frame is braided. An engine turned pattern of concentric circles and carved-out dots covers the sides and bottom of the box.

Object name:
Made from:
Gold -- verre églomisé -- silver
Made in:
Paris, France
Date made:
7.2 cm (2 13/16 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
MARK; INSCRIPTION Crowned S (warden's mark for Paris 1781); Interlaced L's (the charge mark for the Fermier General Henri Clavel 1781-89); Woman's head facing left (discharge mark for Henri Clavel, for small works, 1781-89); Fleurette (unidentified); Engraved on inner rim: Du Petit Dunkerke (the name of a shop)
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973