In the past, this type of large toilet service would have been an essential luxury for an elite woman. They were used to store makeup, perfume, pins, ribbons and anything else a lady needed to dress for high society. Placed in a prominent position in a lady’s bedroom, the service would have signified its owner’s wealth and high status.
This nine-piece service is of Austro-Hungarian origin, being created in Vienna in the late 19th Century. The service includes a double-sided table mirror, a pair of candlesticks, a pin tray, a pair of perfume bottles, two small boxes and one long container. The items have been crafted from rock crystal which is engraved with stylised foliage, flowers, birds and scrollwork. They are mounted with silver frames which are finely enamelled with colourful scrollwork, foliate motifs and raised jewel-like ornaments.
The table mirror features a rectangular body with canted edges, which is mounted with pointed corner and top panels. The mirror is topped by a sculptural pair of female figures, who are shown preening themselves. Modelled sculptures of male courtiers decorate the sides of the mirror, and its bulbous stem is flanked by male guards. These figures wear armour and helmets, and they carry spears. The mirror is set on a rectangular base which is raised up on four monopodia supports. These take the form of Austro-Hungarian Imperial crowned eagles, each of which stands on single paw foot. The base is placed on a rectangular black marble plinth with curved corners.
Accompanying the mirror are a pair of candlesticks. These feature cup-shaped capitals on knopped stems with flared bases. Like the mirror, they stand on monopodia supports.
The perfume bottles, ointment boxes and long container are designed in a similar style. While the bodies of the perfume bottles are cuboid, the container and boxes take the form of rectangular prisms. The perfume bottles are topped by pointed lids with crown-like tops. Each item is set on four monopodia supports.
The pin tray features an octagonal centre which is encircled by eight shaped side panels. The piece is finely decorated, and its edge is mounted with sculptural scrollwork, classical masks and crowned eagles.
This toilet service is stored in a series of drawers within a specially-made wooden case. The drawers and sides of the case are mounted with sunken brass handles. It is set on four bun feet.
Wooden case- Height 45cm, width 53cm, depth 43cm
Mirror- Height 36cm, width 27.5cm, depth 15cm
Candlesticks- Height 21cm, width 10cm, depth 10cm