Louis XV Gold and Enamel Étui
Louis XV Gold and Enamel Étui
Louis XV Gold and Enamel Étui
Louis XV Gold and Enamel Étui
Louis XV Gold and Enamel Étui

JEAN ROMILLY (1714-1796)

Louis XV Gold and Enamel Étui

c. 1750 to c. 1756 France

Offered by M. S. Rau Antiques


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This extraordinary rare Louis XV-period gold and enamel étui are almost certainly the only of its kind ever created. Once considered the most luxurious item one could own, the étui was a very versatile item. Though many were used for more clandestine reasons, the étui also served the more practical purpose of holding small items such as scissors, thimbles, and needles. The present example, however, is much more than merely a beautiful case and incorporates a myriad of other useful tools that are rarely found in this form.

A watch by the celebrated Swiss clockmaker Jean Romilly adorns one end of the cylinder, while the other features a rare date indicator. Even more remarkable, the reverse of the clock face holds a compass, ensuring one can always find their way. While some rare étuis from the period were fitted with watches, to find one containing all three of these mechanically-complex tools is truly extraordinary.

Aside from its remarkable accouterments, the form itself is exquisite. Crafted from 22k gold, the étui is adorned by enamel cartouches intricately hand-painted with bouquets of summer flowers and crimson camaieux landscapes. Its flawlessness reflects the 18th-century taste for dynamic forms, flowing outlines, and delicate, intricate ornamentation. Objects from the period became increasingly diverse, with a dazzling new variety of types, forms, techniques, and combinations of materials. This example represents the artistic heights of the extravagant era.

Paris, circa 1750-56

Height 4.75 inch (12.06 cm)
Width 1.00 inch (2.54 cm)
Stock Code
22k gold, enamel
Watch signed Romilly a Paris; rim struck with Paris discharge mark
M. S. Rau Antiques

M. S. Rau Antiques
630 Royal Street
New Orleans
United States

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