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Saturday, November 12, 2011


Wouldn't it be delightful to own one of these? Just imagine the delight of pulling out each little item and using it. I don't know what's best -- the items themselves or the clever way they all fit with such tidy precision into the beautiful box.

From the Museum's Website: 

Travelling set of Empress Marie Louise of France (silver-gilt,
gold, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell and other materials; width of case 56 cm);
Martin Guillaume Biennais and workshop, Paris, 1812

The set was a present from Napoleon, "Emperor of the French", to his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria, the eldest daughter of Emperor Franz I of Austria. The precious case has a number of cleverly disguised secret compartments and bears the signature of Biennais, the most famous goldsmith of the day, under the key-plate. It contains more than 120 items, made from silver-gilt, gold, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, ivory and ebony, and including a dinner service for two, a toiletry set, writing and sewing implements, a measuring rod, a screwdriver and even dentist's instruments.

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