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Antique French Gilt Bronze Jewellery Casket with Cameos c.1860

Antique French Gilt Bronze Jewellery Casket with Cameos c.1860 | Ref. no. 08123 Sold

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This is a wonderful example of an antique gilt bronze jewellery casket dating from around 1860 in the French Napoleon III style.

The front, sides, top and back of this lovely gilt bronze jewellery casket are cast and tooled with superb foliate decoration as well as being additional decorated with three beautiful cameos. Each cameo is a carved bust of a classical lady set on violet opaline glass raised on a decorative ormolu border on red ground.

We are pleased to point out that the interior is lined with the original button backed silk.

This is a lovely decorative antique which is also highly functional and can be used for storing your precious items.


This lovely gilt bronze jewellery casket is in excellent condition. The interior fabric shows minor signs of wear and tear commensurate with its age and use. Please check the condition of the piece in the photos to satisfy yourself of the condition of this gilt bronze jewellery casket.

More About Ormolu

Ormolu is the 18th Century English term given to the process of gilding a bronze piece with high-carat gold using a mercury amalgam. The item would be coated in the mercury amalgam which contained the finely powdered gold, and then fired in a kiln. The mercury would be driven off leaving a fine gold-coloured veneer known as ‘gilt bronze’.

The process using mercury was outlawed in France in the 1830s due to the toxic nature of mercury and was replaced in later decades with the use of electroplating to produce the gilded surface.

More About Carved Cameo Shell

Shell became popular for cameo carving during the Renaissance, before that time they had been carved from hardstone. Renaissance cameos are usually white on a grey background and carved from the shell of a mussel or cowry.

In the 18th century the exploration of new lands revealed new shell varieties. Helmet shells and queen conch shells arrived from the West Indies, sparking a big increase in shell cameos being carved. The demand for cameos grew after the 1850s and they became popular souvenirs from Grand Tours.

Subjects for cameos are traditionally taken from classical Greek or Roman myths or dignitaries.

More Information and To View

Fine gilt bronze items of this quality are always best viewed them in person if that is possible. However we know that this is not always possible so you are welcome to contact us using the contact details shown above with any questions you might have about this lovely antique gilt bronze jewellery casket. We would also be pleased to arrange a viewing of this and our many other gilt bronze items at our North London warehouse and showroom. Please email us or call for an appointment to view, quoting our reference as shown above so we know which item you are referring to.

Our showroom is open from 10am to 5pm every weekday and also on occasional Saturdays - please call first before making a journey on a Saturday to make certain that we are open on your chosen day.

Shipping, Delivery and Return

This antique gilt bronze jewellery casket is a valuable item that requires specialised packing and shipping to its final destination - your home or other premises. We can pack and ship it to almost any destination worldwide, but we request that you please call or email for a shipping quotation before making your purchase so that we can fully discuss your requirements.

We ship to any mainland UK address free of charge. If you are not satisfied with this item we offer a 14-day money back guarantee in accordance with the Distance Selling Regulations. You will be responsible for the return shipping fees for this antique gilt bronze jewellery casket unless we have erroneously described it in some material way and you do not receive what you were expecting. You must return it in its original packaging and condition. You are also responsible for any customs duties or local taxes that fall due outside the European Union.

Dimensions in cm:

Height 8.5 x Width 12 x Depth 7

Dimensions in inches:

Height 3 inches x Width 5 inches x Depth 3 inches

Angelica Kauffman, RA (1741 - 1807)

was a Swiss-born Austrian Neoclassical painter who had a successful career in London and Rome. Though born as "Kauffmann", Kauffman is the preferred spelling of her name in English; it is the form she herself used most in signing her correspondence, documents and paintings.

While Kauffman produced many types of art, she identified herself primarily as a history painter, an unusual designation for a woman artist in the 18th century. History painting, was considered the most elite and lucrative category in academic painting during this time period. Under the direction of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Royal Academy made a strong effort to promote history painting to a native audience who were more interested in commissioning and buying portraits and landscapes.

Despite the popularity that Kauffman enjoyed in British society and her success as an artist, she was disappointed by the relative apathy that the British had towards history painting. Ultimately she left Britain for the continent, where history painting was better established, held in higher esteem and patronized.

The works of Angelica Kauffman have retained their reputation. By 1911, rooms decorated with her work were still to be seen in various quarters. At Hampton Court was a portrait of the duchess of Brunswick; in the National Portrait Gallery, a self-portrait. There were other pictures by her at Paris, at Dresden, in the Hermitage at St Petersburg, in the Alte Pinakothek atMunich, in Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn (Estonia).


is a hard and durable wood with a satinlike sheen, much used in cabinetmaking, especially in marquetry. It comes from two tropical trees of the family Rutaceae (rue family). East Indian or Ceylon satinwood is the yellowish or dark-brown heartwood of Chloroxylon swietenia.

The lustrous, fine-grained, usually figured wood is used for furniture, cabinetwork, veneers, and backs of brushes. West Indian satinwood, sometimes called yellow wood, is considered superior. It is the golden yellow, lustrous, even-grained wood found in the Florida Keys and the West Indies.

It has long been valued for furniture. It is also used for musical instruments, veneers, and other purposes. Satinwood is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales, family Rutaceae.

Our reference: 08123