Tuesday, February 3, 2015

After a Fashion: A Silk Pocketbook with Painted Panels, 1750

French, 1750
This and all related images courtesy of
The Victoria & Albert Museum

I just love this rare, French pocketbook which was made circa 1750. The sumptuously decorated pocket and letter case was made of red, weave-ribbed silk, flat-quilted overall, and embroidered in a chain stitch with colored silks and silver-gilt thread. 

The oval panel of this pocketbook is painted in watercolors, and features similar panels inside. The images, it is suggested by the V&A, likely refer to a Royal marriage.

The outer cover of the pocket book is adorned on one side with an oval panel of cream silk which has been painted in watercolors, depicting two shields. One shield bears a dolphin, while the other depicts a crowned eagle; behind is an altar, and to the left a cupid. 

On the other side, a bouquet of flowers is embroidered with an outer border of trailing flowers and leaves.

The inside boasts one pocket with a similar painted panel. However, on the interior scene, the cupid is replaced by lilies and palm fronds. This pocket has red silk gussets allowing it to fall half open. The other pocket does not have gussets, but has an internal divider. 

The inside is lined with cream silk twill. The book closes with a gilt metal lock with tooled and pierced decoration, backed with green foil. A steel key with it is probably not original.

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