Monday, August 19, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Owl and Monkey Bonbonniere/Patch-box, c. 1749

The British Museum






Perhaps this was a patch-box (a container meant to held the black paper "beauty marks" which ladies and fops alike glued to their faces to cover blemishes and...syphilis) or perhaps it was made as a bonbonniére (a candy container).   In any event, this lovely work of soft-paste porcelain is molded in the form of an owl's head with yellow and brown enamel for the feathers, and pink, gray and orange for the beak.  The black enamel eyes are set with diamonds.  

Meanwhile, the rim is painted with green leaves and the interior of the box is painted with two pink flower sprays, a leaf and two cherries.  The interior of the cover is mounted in gold and tortoise-shell and the reverse us set with a gold plaque chased with a relief scene of a plum-eating monkey in a landscape.

This was produced at the "Girl-in-a-Swing Factory" between 1749 and 1754.  It was donated to The British Museum by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks.


The British Museum

1 comment:

Madame Gilflurt said...

That is utterly beautiful.