French, Napoleon III, 19th century, circa 1850, papier mâché, French for chewed paper, nécessaire de couture or sewing kit a rare colored green with hand painted Chinese scene and is signed on the backside for Dreyfous, the company selling the case. The inside top lid is lined with silk and has the sellers name of Dreyfous located in Paris, London and New York. The highly decorative swag and floral gold gilt repousee tools are nestled into their velvet-lined recesses, which include needle case, scissors, thimble, ribbon threader, crochet hook and stiletto. The needle case has three indistinguishable maker marks, the tools are all original and sound.
The English perfected the art of papier mâché in the mid-1700s. A piece was crafted, sent to the Orient for decoration then returned to England for sale. This explains the Oriental influence of decoration; i.e., "Chinoiserie" - all the rage at that time.
The bottom has age cracks that do not go all the way through and a couple of chips. Small wear chips near the push button and the top is slightly warped but still closes with no problems. The silk hinge inside is starting to shred.
|5 ½ in