Gilt bronze and Sèvres style porcelain Louis XVI style casket on stand
French, late 19th Century
Total height: 133cm
Casket: Height 48cm, width 82cm, depth 45cm
Stand: Height 85cm, width 91cm, depth 62cm
This magnificent Louis XVI style ormolu casket is supported by a mirror-topped table stand, which sits on four tapered, fluted legs connected by a curving X-form stretcher. In the centre of this stretcher is an ormolu urn decorated with rams heads, four hoof feet and birds on the top. The legs of the table are also ornately decorated with draped garlands and scrolled detailing. The apron is inset with Sevres style porcelain plaques depicting scenes of cherubs and children in landscapes as well as decorative floral detailing, and is surmounted with laurel leaf mounts.
The casket itself is of oval architectural form, and is set on fourteen small feet. It features further porcelain plaques depicting cherubs, musical instruments and a central oval portrait of Queen Marie Antoinette within a crowned gilt cartouche. Her portrait is flanked by two cherubs and is sat within a decorative royal blue border, matching the turquoise coloured borders of the other plaques. The reverse of the casket is similarly decorated and features a painted plaque of her husband King Louis XVI.
The plaques are separated by mounted ormolu columns decorated with crowns and draped laurel leaves, and each column is surmounted by floral crowns. Each curved side of the casket features an ormolu mask of a female figure, and the hinged lid is surmounted by two reclining female figures wearing draped dresses and holding a central crown. The casket opens at the lid to reveal a velvet interior.
There is an inscription below the portrait of Marie Antoinette which spuriously reads ‘This casket formerly property of Marie Antoinette, presented to my beloved wife as souvenir of our European tour / Sept 8th 1886 / Louis L. Smith’.