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Etui

1750-1800 Unidentified enamel and gilded metal height: 3 7/8 in. (9.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of John Gellatly 1929.8.245.68 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 52A


Luce Center Quote

“Enameling is a curious art, and not much labour but that of laying and painting colours, plain or in figures, on metal.” A General Description of all Trades, 1747, quoted in Susan Benjamin, English Enamel Boxes, 1978

Luce Center Label

The art of painting on enamel flourished in England during the second half of the eighteenth century. A French jeweler, Jean Toutin, had developed a new technique for painting on enamel, in which a gold base was covered first with white enamel, then painted with a design. This craft soon spread to England, where it was adopted by jewelers and goldsmiths. Their intricately painted boxes and curios were fashionable with the wealthy, who often bought them as souvenirs from their travels. Popular items included small boxes, which were used to carry snuff or “patches” (beauty spots); bonbonnieres, which contained sweets; and etuis, which might carry a lady’s scissors, tweezers, or pencil. More functional items were also popular, including watches, candlesticks, and tea caddies.

Keywords

Figure male - full length

Occupation - art - sculptor

Performing arts - music - flute

decorative arts