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Large circular box in tortoiseshell and gold. The removable lid is decorated with a miniature on ivory depicting a family set in front of a landscape. The family is composed of a two parents set on the sides of two young children. The mother is seated and wearing a light, sheer white dress with a light shawl covering her shoulders. She is wearing a feathered straw hat on her powdered hair, and a young boy wearing white is seated on her lap. An older boy wearing an orange outfit is standing to her right. The father, with powdered hair and wearing a decorated, blue uniform, is standing to the right. The quality of the miniature is excellent: the stripes of the uniform are painted in gold. It is signed Morel (on the left, behind the woman), who was active around 1791. The miniature is framed in a ring of gold and pearls. The interior of the box is entirely lined with gold. This box is representative of the social and artistic themes that were fashionable at the end of the 18th century. Children had gained consideration as independent beings and therefore became excellent subjects for painting. Numerous portraits from this period featured family portraits that captured maternal attachment. It was the “triumph of family attachment.”
Weight: 4.8 oz (136.6 g) Diameter: 3.5 in (8.8 cm) Height: 0.9 in (2.2 cm)
Gold marks: Vieillard 85 (Old man 85) for Paris 1785
Tête de loup (Wolf head)
Coq (Rooster) 1798-1809
Master goldsmith mark: illegible
Bibliography L'art et l'enfant: chefs d’œuvre de la peinture française. Musée de Marmottan. Hazan Edition. 2016. Lemoine-Bouchard, Nathalie. Les peintres en miniature actifs en France, 1650-1850. Editions de l’Amateur, Paris, 2008.