Monday, August 12, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: The Leferre Sweetmeat Box, 1848

The Victoria & Albert Museum

The container of this lidded box is made entirely of rock crystal which has been expertly cut and polished by Alexandre Leferre—the most famous member of a celebrated family of goldsmiths and jewelers who were active in Paris from 1806 to circa 1860.

The lid, too, is largely made of carved rock crystal. This panel has set into an enameled gold bezel. Leferre cleverly enameled the bezel to look as if it is set with rubies, emeralds and diamonds.

This box was made to hold sweetmeats. In today’s language, sweetmeats are essentially—sweets, candy or confections. When this box was made, however, it probably held sugared or honeyed fruits and nuts. This was a popular way of preserving fruit.

This is the sort of beautiful object that I would instantly sniff upon seeing it—just to find out if it still smelled of long eaten sweeties.

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